Acts – What will your chapter say?
“In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach…” Acts 1:1
The physician Luke wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, addressing both to a person named Theophilus. Theophilus, which means “one who loves God” was most likely an actual person, especially as Luke adds, “most excellent” which might suggest that Theophilus was possibly a ranking official or officer. But in a general sense Theophilus could be all of us who love God and yearn to know the stories of Jesus and the early church.
Interestingly, Luke opens Acts by telling Theophilus that his first book, the Gospel of Luke, contained “everything Jesus began to do and teach.” The inference, then, is that Acts contains the things Jesus continues to do and teach.
Historically, Tiberius was the Roman leader when Jesus was crucified. He was succeeded by Caligula, so the events described in Acts occurred generally during the time of Caligula, Claudius, and Nero who killed himself just a couple years before Jerusalem was leveled by Titus in 70 AD.
The fact that Christianity spread and flourished under the oft-times brutal persecution of Rome is a testimony both to the fact that God’s will for the Church is supernatural and cannot be quenched by evil men. And, testimony to the personal grit and sense of mission of the Christians. Christ and His Kingdom wasn’t just something they believed in, it was something they staked their lives on – they knew Jesus was Lord. He met them, changed them, gave them purpose.
Satan thinks about Christians the same way he thought about Job, “just put a little pressure on and they’ll fold like a bath towel’. But he couldn’t be more wrong.
Jesus said, “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.” Acts 1:8
The power of the Holy Spirit at work in the Body of Christ is an unstoppable, unbeatable, force that the very gates of hell cannot prevail against.
In the book of Acts just as today, persecution against Christians will most often backfire as the persecutors are met with love and forgiveness and the masses see the difference between the people of God and the senseless meanness of their persecutors.
The Book of Acts didn’t end with the last period in chapter 28. We are left there with the Apostle Paul under house arrest in Rome waiting for an audience with Caesar. Jesus work didn’t stop there, nor has it stopped today.
Jesus is still God Incarnate, but now, sitting at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us, He is incarnate through His Body, the Church.
We are Christ’s hands and feet, sharing the Good News of the Gospel to the people of our generation. Through good times and bad, come what may, Christ is still on the throne and our mission is to share His redeeming love with a broken and hurting world.
His love will prevail today, through your life, as it did through Paul, Barnabas, Peter, Steven and the other saints and hero’s of the early church.
What will your chapter say? I have a feeling it will be good!