Once again I owe another post to a brief conversation with a (former) student. As he was meditating on Acts 1.6-9 he was wondering about my thoughts. Here is my reply to him and a bit more:
Acts 1.6-9 addresses the intentional choice of being “exiled” by the Spirit to the nations from “Zion” which is the opposite direction that Israel believed things were to go. The OT again and again points to the drawing to Zion/Jerusalem as the hope of Israel (and ultimately of the nations).
The movement out from Zion/Jerusalem would prove to include people from every tongue, tribe, and nation into that great city come down from heaven, the New Jerusalem.
When Jesus instructs his disciples to remain in Jerusalem it is a call to remain gathered in the city they had placed their hopes (as the witness of their Scriptures had always indicated). However, the promise of the Father would be given not to remain forever gathered to that city, but to be sent from that city to the ends of the earth with the message of this soon returning king and kingdom. It was a willful “exile” from that city on the way to another (better) city. That other city made not with human hands that is testified to upon that great and high mountain lifted high … where the nations would enter the gates of gladness into the presence of the eternal king.
We miss this movement of the Spirit (as the movement of Father and Son) when we (1) make it about the idea of “finding your own Jerusalem”, or (2) a movement “Back to Jerusalem”. The first utterly misses the redemptive movements of God to redeem the nations and replaces it with a very individualistic self-centered notion. The latter imagines only an earthly promise falsely located in a specific geographic location, thus, replacing the City of God with a city of man, replacing the true with what was always only a sign.
May we find ourselves caught up in the Spirit’s movement from Jerusalem to that Zion come down, and find many to join in that divine procession as the adopted en-Spirited daughters and sons of God!