When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
When Christ came to earth the first time, the Pharisees were hoping that this man who claimed to be Messiah would be the Savior who would rescue them from Rome. They were sorely disappointed. He was there to be a Savior all right, but a Savior from sin. The Pharisees did not think they needed such a Savior and when it became apparent that Christ would not be made king on their terms, they rejected Him and sought to have Him killed (if at all possible). (Matthew 26:4; John 9:39-41)
People who became Christ’s disciples knew only too well their sinful condition and by God’s grace recognized Jesus Christ as Savior in the way God intended (Matthew 16:13-18) . As a result, they believed on Him and became His followers. But like the Pharisees, they too had their hopes that Jesus – after having conquered no less than death itself – would now become the Savior Who would free them from Roman bondage and re-establish the kingdom. Perhaps they were hoping for the glory days of King David. Hence their question:
“…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
Christ had only moments left on earth to be with His disciples and He had to avert a potential crisis here. So, He answered them very clearly:
“…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7)
It isn’t that Christ will not one day establish an earthly kingdom, but it would not be in the disciples’ day and it is not in the purview of any Christian to know when that day is. The disciples were hoping for a political kingdom. But…
As believers we must never substitute political activism for biblical evangelism. Electing the “right” political leaders and passing the “right” laws is all well and good, but political leaders and just laws can only exert an external force on the hearts of people. What people need – what we all need – is a change of heart, and not just any change, but the change that can only come from a right relationship with Jesus Christ.
Christ makes crystal clear the mission he has for all of His disciples:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
It is not political change that Christ wants us to pursue. It’s not even a morality movement (if I can be so bold). It is going out into the world and leading others into a relationship with Christ. Why? Because Christ is the agent of change, not me, not the opinions I espouse. Just Christ.
What does that have to do with my study on prayer in Acts? Everything. If I do not have the right perspective as to my mission in life as a disciple of Christ, I’ll be praying for the wrong things!
If I’m going to have a right prayer life, I have to make sure I am on the same page as my Savior! (See 1 John 5:14-15)