Jesus’ first disciples lived in unsettled times. Just before he ascended, his disciples asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
These men were Jews, raised on the stories of David and Solomon and the greatness of Israel as a free and independent nation, unlike their current situation (under the oppressive rule of a pagan empire). They believed that Messiah would restore Israel as a nation. They wondered, “Isn’t it time for Israel to be great again, like it used to be?” So they asked, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (It was a way of asking, “Are you now going to make Israel great again?”)
Jesus didn’t give a yes or no answer. What he did say helped redirect their focus – “Israel’s greatness as a nation is in the Father’s hands, but it is not your priority. Being my witnesses is your priority.”
We also live in unsettled times. Ultimately, America’s greatness is in the Father’s sovereign hands. Yet there is much for Jesus’ followers to do until he comes again. Followers of Jesus can best serve Him, and serve America, by being his witnesses, to live and choose and speak as people who have been touched by him, indwelt by his Spirit, and alive to his presence every day.