Let’s launch into a trek through Acts as we move between Passover and Pentecost in our calendars.
Acts 1:1-2 A quick review
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.”
Dr. Luke, in his inimitable style summarizes 24 chapters of the Gospel of Luke in just one sentence. He’s really saying to this young Christian – ‘So where were we?’ as he teaches him gospel truths.
He is writing to Theophilus, perhaps the man who underwrote the costs for the book, an interested 2nd generation Christian who longed for the certainty, Luke promised, under the direction of the Holy Spirit in Luke 1:1-4
The former book focuses upon the ‘doings‘ and ‘teachings‘ of Jesus. Beginning with the birth narratives surrounding the arrival of John the Baptist and Jesus, Luke pens a biographical sketch of Jesus Christ, concluding with the ascension back into heaven.
Jesus ‘began’ to do and to teach. He did this directly, in person, in the flesh as the incarnate God-Man. Now, Luke writes, He continues to do and to teach, but this time indirectly, through His followers by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was taken up to heaven. It’s important to give complete instruction about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. His pre-existence, His birth, His life, His baptism, His teachings, His miracles, His death, burial and resurrection, His ascension, His present work, His personal return. Christology or the doctrine of Christ is no small topic to write, teach or preach upon. It is a dividing doctrine, as I John 4 indicates those with an improper view of Jesus Christ, have not come from God.
Jesus gave instructions. His instructions were not given for information but for transformation. We are to obey, not just know what He taught as the Great Commission imperative insists in Matthew 28:18-20.
He gave these instructions through the Holy Spirit. The teaching and preaching of Jesus rested on the power of the Spirit of God. It is easy to simply talk, to teach or preach in our own strength. If Jesus rested in the power of the Spirit of God, how much more do we need His strength. Peter (I Peter 4:10,11) reminds us that speaking or serving ministries rest upon grace which God supplies to His children.
He instructed His apostles whom He had chosen. In the Gospel accounts we see Jesus selecting from His disciples an apostolic band, a group of 12 men who would bear the responsibility as foundation layers. Ephesians 2:20 reminds us that we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. The apostles wrote, taught, preached and testified to their first-hand encounter with Jesus Christ. Consider I John 1:1ff “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes and touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.”
Some possible applications
- Write down what you are learning about Jesus Christ.
- Make sure your teaching and ministry is centred upon Jesus Christ.
- Learn to depend upon the Holy Spirit for your preparation and presentation of truth.
May God, by His Spirit, bless this study of the book of Acts!