ACTS 1:7 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Apr 22-29)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority’” (Acts 1:7).
The Bible is full of Believers who lived lives like us - filled with conscious and subconscious expectations about the way things are, or the way they should be. And so often we read that in those lives, their expectations were turned upside down. Think of David and how awful and hard his life was when he had been anointed to be king as a boy - it did not come to fruition until he was thirty years old! For that matter, think of Abraham and how God's promise was not fulfilled as he expected and he saw no proof of its potential until he was a very old man. Or consider Elijah whom God raised up to turn Israel back to Him, only for Jezebel to grow in strength at every turn until the prophet felt utterly pointless and defeated. Yet all of these things were according to God's will, which we cannot entirely fathom and which rarely meets our expectations of how we think things should go.
When we consider the Apostles, we see that they had a fishing-net full of expectations. From the moment they first met Jesus, they expected him to fulfill the Word of God as they interpreted it. Jesus would raise an army and be the conquering king they had read about in Isaiah. He would subdue the gentiles—break the powerful and demeaning Roman Empire. The timing was perfect and it was obvious. But Jesus did not fulfill this expectation because it was built on a faulty interpretation of God’s Word. It completely ignored every passage about the suffering Messiah, for example.
It can be very hard for us humans to have our expectations not be met. We have expectations about what will or should happen in our lives. And we have expectations of how God will act in our lives. These expectations can be built on all sorts of things—personal experiences, emotions, or even teaching we’ve been taught. Even Believers steeped in the Word of God have had their expectations dashed by the reality of the will of God as it moved in their lives. We can struggle with maturing past our expectations - just as the Disciples did.
We see an incredible maturity come over the disciples throughout their lives. All the while during Jesus’ ministry, they were so confident in their understanding of what the Messiah’s purpose was that they had equally strong expectations—so much so that they argued with each other repeatedly “as to which of them might be the greatest” (Luke 9:46b), “and there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest” (Luke 22:24) — greatest in Jesus’ Kingdom once He conquered Israel back from the Gentiles and subdued all the nations.
Those expectations were dashed when He died on the cross and they were literally at a loss to understand what had happened. And to complicate matters, He rose from the dead but still did not fulfill the destiny they expected Him to fulfill at the most perfect time possible - Jesus couldn't die and was literally glorified God in the flesh - not even the mighty Caesar and his massive armies could stand in His way now! The disciples struggled with the change in their expectations as Jesus did not fulfill them - and that struggle continued until the Spirit came upon them. The change was remarkable. We see in the book of Acts that they let go their expectations and followed Jesus completely regardless of what that reality meant. There were times that their flesh still got the better of them, but it is doubtful that the Peter we meet before Jesus' death would have welcomed "filthy" Romans into the company of Believers as he did later in life. Peter became a true servant of Christ, following Jesus without questioning where that led him and what it meant for him. And that was a reflection of Christ's complete submission to His Father's will, not even knowing Himself the hour or the day upon which he will return to the Earth.
May we look to Peter's example as we struggle in our own lives with expectations, reality, and acceptance of where our lives meander in this life. May our actions and our lives be an answer to the call, "Follow me!" without hesitating with how that following might affect our expectations, plans, hopes, and dreams. Even so, Amen.
Other verses to consider:
“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).
“Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there” (John 19:1).
“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will also come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing” (John 21:3).
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs’” (John 21:15).
“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.’ Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’” (John 21:18-19)
“So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’” (Acts 1:6)
EXPECTATION VERSUS REALITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
“Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.’ He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:1-8).
“Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’ So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ Then he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him’” (1 Kings 19:9-18).
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons’….So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah” (1 Samuel 16:1; 12-13).
“Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Go up.’ So David said, ‘Where shall I go up?’ And He said, ‘To Hebron.’ So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. And David brought up his men who were with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hebron. Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah” (2 Samuel 2:1-4).
“Now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew steadily stronger, but the house of Saul grew weaker continually” (2 Samuel 3:1).
“David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years” (2 Samuel 5:4).
“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing’” (Genesis 12:1-2).
“Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.’ And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age’” (Genesis 12:1-7).