by Christopher Harbin

Heavenly Political Focus
Christopher B. Harbin
Acts 1:1-11

Politics is alive and well in the US. As I write, we are in full swing of looking toward the coming elections, even if they are still a year and a half away. We are looking at candidates, waiting for new ones to declare themselves in the race, and beginning to listen to their platform promises, seeking to find one who will be the champion of our special causes. Some are looking for an extreme left or right candidate, others a centrist candidate, and still others a candidate to address a very specific issue in accord with their personal preferences. What we all seem to have in common is a belief that politics and policies have the possibility of addressing the various issues plaguing our nation and the world. If only ''my'' candidate were elected, everything would be resolved. In the meantime, God calls us to place our hope and attention elsewhere, becoming emissaries of the gospel, rather than of a political bent.

The disciples were clueless. Well, that is the way the gospel writers so often describe them. Peter seems to have had the worst case of foot in mouth disease, mainly because he was the spokesman for the others. Luke seems to continue the traditional portrayal here in Acts 1 as they are getting their final instructions from Jesus. Whenever they speak with Jesus, they come off as incompetent fools. After the coming of the Spirit, they will finally become disciples worthy of the title, demonstrating that Jesus had indeed had a lasting, positive effect on their lives. The problem is that all too often, we are much too like the disciples prior to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.

There they were, gathered with Jesus. He was giving them important instructions about living the gospel as emissaries of God's principles and priorities. It is the same scene recorded by Matthew in what we call ''The Great Commission.'' They were listening, but their minds were on other things. They were caught ...

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