Starting off in alphabetical order is the book of Acts. I’ll be using the Message translation for now. Yes, not always the most accurate version, but since I’m human then neither am I.
After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. —Acts 1:3
I bash on the apostles and their seemingly constant lack of faith often, but really if roles were reversed I would be in the exact same place. You watch a man die, three days later he’s up and fine and then spends the next month just randomly popping up and hanging out with you. When you look at it that way, it’s a little weird. I’m sure I would’ve been right there with Thomas in needing proof there weren’t any shenanigans going on.
When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”
He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. —Acts 1:6-7
Raise your hand if you hate the answer of “I’ll give you what you want when I see fit, not the exact moment you want it.” If you’re hand isn’t raised, I’m calling you a liar. It’s a common idea that there are three answers to prayers that ask God for something: yes, no, and be still and know that I am God (aka—be patient). But as Virginia, a character from the TV show Raising Hope, said on a recent episode, “I asked the Magic 8 ball, but it said ‘Ask me later’ and I don’t have time for that.”
The only answer we ever want to hear is “yes”, and thank God there are other options available as much as we may hate it. If the only answer we received was “yes” what a bunch of spoiled brats we would be. (Think about the movie Bruce Almighty.)
I don’t know about your family, but mine kind of sucks at patience. I don’t even want to think about the number of speeding tickets we’ve collectively accumulated. As for me, I’m currently in my fourth school year as a substitute teacher trying to find a full-time teaching position. If I had a nickel for each time someone has said to me, “Oh, God must just want you to learn patience right now” I could possibly put a dent in my massive student loans. Every time I hear that I have to immediately plaster a fake grin on my face because what I really want to do is throw an elbow at their head. Which is quite possibly a very strong argument for the whole I-need-to-learn-patience thing.
I think the outright “no” is so much easier to deal with than the “be still and know that I am God”.
These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left. —Acts 1:9-11
Again, another passage where I want to mock the apostles, but I would’ve done the same thing. It would take angels, soldiers of God, to shake me out of my trance of staring up at the sky with my mouth hanging open trying to process what I just witnessed.
Judas was one of us and had his assigned place in this ministry.
”As you know, he took the evil bribe money and bought a small farm. There he came to a bad end, rupturing his belly and spilling his guts. Everybody in Jerusalem knows this by now; they call the place Murder Meadow. It’s exactly what we find written in the Psalms:
Let his farm become haunted
So no one can ever live there. “And also what was written later:
Let someone else take over his post. —Acts 1:17-20
Fair warning: my brain is screwed up. Here is your first taste of that. What do I think of when I read this? I wonder if the apostles had the idea to run (possibly) one of the first haunted houses (don’t know exactly when they originated) using Judas’ land. Yes, this is kind of blasphemous since Judas for picking money over Jesus, so it wouldn’t have been the most logically sound idea to then make money off of his death, but how alluring is the name Murder Meadow for you scary movie fans? I personally would never visit it; not for moral reasons, I just don’t like haunted houses or scary movies.
Just because I have ideas doesn’t mean they’re all good ones.