I’ve always loved spy movies.
From James Bond to Mission Impossible, anything related to clandestine forces fascinate me. Judging from how many spy movies come out every year, I don’t think I’m alone. We just seem to flock to these impossible missions that somehow our heroes are able to accomplish through near super-human skills, strength or just plain old dumb luck.
Did you know as Christians, we’re on a type of impossible mission? At least it can feel that way. Unless you’re living under a rock, it’s tough being a Christian nowadays and the reality is this: it won’t get any easier.
That can feel impossible. It can make us curl up in the fetal position in the corner and just wait for Jesus to take us home. But that’s not what He called us to do. He didn’t call us to escape, but to advance.
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This is a passionate command to a passionate group of men. And passion is a curious thing. It can make us step out and try things we never would have otherwise imagined. The apostles had passion—no doubt. They had their moments of fear and pulling back but these guys were passionate—they could be intense!
Before the crucifixion and resurrection, their passion very often centered on the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. This seemed to come up often with the apostles and Jesus. Many of the conversations they had about the end times started with the kinds of question we find here in Acts 1:6.
And even after the death, burial, and glorious resurrection of Christ, the apostles were still obsessed with Jesus restoring the political kingdom of Israel. In their defense, they probably grew up with the same expectation of the Messiah everyone else did and part of that expectation included the Messiah setting Israel free.
It made sense from their point of view. The triumphal entry to Jerusalem on the donkey’s colt with the shouts of “Hosanna! Hosanna!” seemed like a good time for Jesus to take over. But now—after He was resurrected—now would be a PERFECT time for Him to take over and set up the promised Kingdom of God.
They were excited—and with good reason. Their passion was found in Jesus Christ and completing the mission He came to fulfill. But His Kingdom wasn’t of this world (John 18:36) and His passion wasn’t for a political restoration.
But it would certainly be a political upheaval! The Gospel of Jesus changes everything. It radically alters our perception of justice, mercy, grace, politics, relationships, work—everything! And our impossible mission is predicated by the passion of Jesus Himself flowing through us.
Yes, dear one, the mission is possible when we find the right passion.
I hope your passion is set on Him and His Kingdom. Pray daily for this kind of focus. Pray Jesus centers your will and heart on things that drive Him.
Over the next eight weeks, we’re going to unpack this passage and see the incredible places we’ll go on our “impossible mission”.