October 29 I Monday
2 Timothy 3
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…” —Acts 1:1
The book of Acts, written by Luke, a physician and historian, covers a period of approximately 33 years, but the book is by no means a comprehensive history of the early church. Luke has carefully selected which details and events of those early years he wants to highlight. For instance, the first 12 chapters focus mainly on Peter, while the remaining 16 chapters focus on Paul. Luke records the beginning of the church in Jerusalem, then follows its spread north to Antioch and west towards Rome. The events that Luke describes, he describes in detail, but he pays minimal attention to the other apostles or where else the Gospel was spreading during this time.
Acts is something of a sequel to Luke’s Gospel. His Gospel recounts Jesus’s conception, birth, life, miracles, parables, death, resurrection and ascension. The whole story seems complete—Jesus came, was and went—but Luke opens Acts by saying his Gospel was about “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” The implication is clear: this second volume is a record of what Jesus continued to do and teach.
Some translations title this book “The Acts of the Apostles,” but this title does not completely reflect how we ought to understand the acts taking place. For example, when Peter and John visited the temple and a man who was born lame was healed, Peter denied this was an act of an apostle. “Fellow Israelites,” he said, “why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?... It is Jesus’s name and the faith that comes through Him that has completely healed him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:12, 16). Though Peter was the one who spoke with the man, he was a vessel for the act Christ did through him.
If Luke records the beginning of what Jesus began to do and teach through His own physical body, Acts records a taste of what Jesus continued to do and teach through His new collective body, the church. When the Holy Spirit came to indwell the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, they were baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ to become His body. Their lives became an expression of Christ, because the life that inhabits the body determines the behaviour of that body. His body has only grown with each new believer, and He longs to continue doing and teaching through each of us. The selective history of Acts may be Scripture’s main record of Christ’s continuing work, but that story is still unfolding in His body today.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that Acts is not just a record of what You did in the past but showcases how You continue to do and teach today through us, Your body.