When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?…
I. THE FAITH OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES, IN A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR THE WORLD. That faith was founded on the predictions of the Old Testament and of our Lord. Patriotism and philanthropy inspired them to hope for great things for their countrymen; but piety lifted them into the faith that a new kingdom would be set up and Jesus be all in all. The Christian Church has never lost faith in the dawn of a better day for the world, and has laboured and prayed for it. We show ourselves unworthy of the apostles — in whose steps we profess to tread — if we do not "attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God." Christ has promised a golden age, and though earth and heaven pass away, His words shall not pass away; "The kingdom of this world shall become the kingdom of our God," etc.
II. THE ERROR OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES, IN ALLOWING THEIR FAITH IN A BRIGHTER FUTURE TO LEAD THEM INTO PRESUMPTUOUS CURIOSITY. The disciples sought to be endowed with the faculty of pre-vision, but such an endowment was denied them. The old prophets were inspired to make known coming events, but the day and hour were hidden; and the apostles, no more than the prophets, could know when the events predicted concerning Israel and the world would occur. The error of the apostles has been repeated down to the present day. But age after age "would-be prophets" have had to revise their dates, and shift their scenes, and own, with shame that they had ventured out of their depth. The "second coming of Christ" and the "end of the world," they are events about which even the angels in heaven do not know; the Father has them in His own hands, and they are safe there, and sure to be brought about in His own good time and way.
III. THE DUTY OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES IN RELATION TO THEIR FAITH IN A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR THE WORLD AS SHOWN BY THE REPLY OF THEIR MASTER TO THE QUESTIONING OF THEIR PRESUMPTUOUS CURIOSITY. Their duty was to be "witnesses," to speak of what they had seen and heard, and not of what was hidden from them. It must have been a great joy to them to know that the future was in the hands of the Father, who is too wise to err and too good to be unkind. And it ought to calm and cheer us that the times and seasons are not in the hands of a demon or an angel; and not in the clumsy and capricious hands of men, but in the hands of Him who can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and cause all things to work together for good.
(F. W. Brown.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?