“Are we there yet?” is a classic line from the backseat. Less often do you hear the words, “It’s coming. Are you ready? It’s almost here…time to get excited!” It sounds like a motivational gym coach. Or a friend who may or may not be able to keep a surprise until your birthday. Or a salesperson. And after what I read today, it sounds like what God was telling Israel as Jesus began His ministry on earth: get ready, the kingdom of heaven is almost here!! There were even miracles to verify His credentials(Matthew 10:7-12).
Wait, Israel said, after all these years of waiting, God is finally going to save us? Call up the cavalry and kick out the Romans! They did not understand…they were staring at present-day problems. And Jesus had bigger politics in mind: a whole world to save (Matthew 8:11)!
So Jesus trained people who could carry on the message…and the start was both thrilling and lurching like a toddler learning to run. Hell’s gates would not prevail, but the disciples did not understand the servant-leadership Jesus was asking for (Matthew 16). Jesus kept praying and directing them. He died, was buried, and rose on the third day. Then He came back…are you ready yet? It’s almost time! The Holy Spirit is coming (Acts 1)! Go out and tell everyone that they can be part of God’s Kingdom (Matthew 28)! They did not know how long they would wait for the Holy Spirit…1 day? 3 days? More? They gathered in a upper room, discussing, wondering, planning. And then the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost when thousands of fervent Jews came to Jerusalem from around the world. Peter preached, and 3,000 people joined the church that day (Acts 2). Wow!
They had a lot to learn – how to live together, despite differences in culture. What roles would people play? How do you respond to being persecuted? How do we send people out? We have all the same questions today, and the Holy Spirit is still at work to help the Body of Christ pursue unity. All the glory goes to Him!
Don’t try to out-guess God or help Him hurry up the process. Look at the church today, a huge factor all over the world. And look at where it began – in a little room in Jerusalem where people were pacing, fidgeting, waiting. And God worked. Jesus is coming back…soon! Are you ready?
God, I’m so impatient. We have set ideas of how church is supposed to work, but I know that I often do not listen and wait. Thank You for Your promises that You continue to keep, and please help me to wait for Your timing on how and when they happen in my life. And direct me how to help the church become more united in the midst of many struggles over our differences. It’s all because of Your love that we are here, and You’ll carry us to the end. To You be the glory. Amen.