So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NLT)
We can easily get bogged down with issues of second and third importance and so neglect what might be of first importance. Here, the disciples were anxious to know when or if Jesus was going to restore Israel to what they believed was its promised glory. They still reckoned Jesus’ messiahship had something to do with national prestige.
Jesus doesn’t get involved in this debate. He ‘passes the buck’ on to God the Father who will determine when and how things will turn out. His followers have no need to explore the details of what is to come. Instead they have another priority.
Jesus changes the subject. Quit speculating about what may or may not happen to Israel or even to the world in general. There is a job to do and they are the ones to do the job. Their job is not to debate end-time details but to tell as many as possible about how friendship with God is possible. This makes sense, as when God does inaugurate the new heavens and the new earth, our eternal destinies will be decided. Best, then, to tell others about how they can have eternal life with God rather than scratch our heads about details beyond our grasp.
There is a more general lesson for us in all this. Focus on the main game and don’t become distracted into academic speculation or fanciful theories. There is a God who loves them and has proven it through Jesus. This can be known and shared. This is the main game.