Have you ever gotten a new piece of technology and felt frustrated or overwhelmed because you now had to take up the arduous task of learning how this thing operates? When I got my computer a few years back Windows 8 had just been released, and I remember sitting in front of my monitor in near despair because I realized I had a whole new operating system to learn. I knew what it was supposed to do, but I also knew it would take a lot of hours of confused, trial and error before it was doing what I needed it to.
I can imagine the apostles were feeling that sort of pain in the hours and days immediately following Jesus’ ascension. He had told them to wait in Jerusalem for an empowering…but failed to mention what it would look like or how to recognize it when it came, much less what they should be doing in the meantime. They must’ve felt very unsure of themselves during the “in-between” – the time between the promise and it’s fulfillment. We often-times go through the same things in our journey with Christ. How often have you felt God urge you in a direction which you followed, only to find yourself hanging in limbo – between the urging and the goal realized?
This Sunday we’re going to be reading Acts 1:12-26 in our continuing study of the Book of Acts, and we’ll be looking at the example of how this early church handled the in-between.
Read the account all in one chunk. What is the most obvious thing that jumps out at you about what these people did while they waited for the promise to manifest? How does that compare to your normal waiting procedure?
Pete and the gang have been criticized by some commentators who feel they jumped the gun by trying to find a successor to Judas. After all, they say, Jesus told them to wait, not elect another apostle. However, do you get any indication from the text that this was some sort of misstep? Why do you think finding a replacement would be important to them?
Notice their procedure for choosing a successor – they prayed, looked at the Word, made the best choice they could, and then what? Casting lots is an odd thing to us, but not to them. Instead of focusing on the method, think about what they were seeking. After we’ve prayed, synced up with Scripture and made the best choice we can…what is the final thing this account encourages us to do in the in-between?
In what ways can we be more flexible and sensitive to God’s guidance in our decisions?
It should prove to be a thought provoking study – hope to see you Sunday!