Summary: There is a meanness stalking about, an evil; the devil himself who is devouring souls. And these are the souls of people who live next door to us, work with us, shop beside us, go to school with us or our children. The world is filled with tears, and the
“Keep Crying Kids You’re Almost There”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
If you have ever driven on Interstate 95 between South Carolina and North Carolina you are most likely familiar with a strange and funny kind of place named, “South of the Border.”
And about 80 or 90 miles before you get there, billboard signs begin popping up—many of them quite entertaining to read—letting you know that you are getting somewhat close.
One such billboard that has always stuck with me appears about 10 miles out.
It reads, “Keep on crying kids, you’re almost there!!!”
And we all know what that sign is getting at!
“Are we almost there yet?”
Any parent who has been on a trip in a car with small children knows this question well—and the tone of voice kids use when they ask it, over and over again.
Or if you are not a parent you have probably, at the very least, done this yourself.
Sometimes the child is so eager or so bored that the question gets asked before you have even gotten onto the interstate.
And, of course, the answer depends on what you mean by “almost.”
If I drive home from my parent’s house in Covington, Kentucky, I could reasonably say that I was “almost there” when I’ve gotten within an hour or 45 minutes of Chattanooga.
But if I’m driving home from Hixson, I would only say I was “almost there” when I was a minute or two away.
It’s all relative.
Jesus may have had similar feelings when faced with the question the apostles were eager to ask Him: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?”
Its like, “Are we nearly there yet?”
“Is this the time?”
“Is it going to happen at last?”
As far as they were concerned, when Jesus called them three years earlier, they thought they were signing on for some kind of Jewish renewal movement.
Jesus’ motley crew band of followers thought God had appointed Jesus to be the true King of Israel, in some kind of earthly and ordinary sense.
They had hoped for top jobs in His government.
Jesus, with His healing power and revolutionary teaching would rule in Jerusalem, and restore Israel.
And when that happened, the whole world would be turned around at last.
Israel would be the top nation, the reigning Superpower—ruling over the rest of the world!
All this can be summed up in the phrase, “restore the kingdom to Israel.”
That’s what they were hoping for, and so the question was natural—“Are we almost there yet?”
And in many ways, this question has been asked by Christians down through the centuries over and over again.
Nearly every time there is some horrible disaster, people exclaim, “It’s almost time…we are almost there!”
And we are, in a sense, “almost there”; but, of course, this is a relative term.
In terms of the children in the car scenario, Jesus responds by basically telling them that they simply aren’t ever going to have a complete sense of where they are on the interstate.
They aren’t supposed to.
But what He does go on to say is,
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
“What does that mean?”
In the world of the first century, when someone was enthroned as king, that new kingdom would take effect when everyone knew about it.
So, there were witnesses or heralds who would go off throughout the territory with the news, “We have a king!”…
…whether that king was Claudius, or Nero, or whoever.
And that is what Jesus was telling His disciples they must do once they receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
“You’re asking about the kingdom?
You’re asking when it will come about?
Well, in one sense it has already happened,” Jesus is saying, “because in my own death and Resurrection I have already been exalted as King…but not just as the King of Israel, in the Way you think of it... the King of heaven and all of earth.”
“You are to go out and tell the world about this!!!”
“In the meantime, the final culmination of all things; when the whole world is visibly and clearly living under God’s rule--when I return and set up a new heaven and a new earth-- has not yet happened.
We are now living in the in-between time.”
That is what the two angels meant when they said, “Men of Galilee why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”