“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen…”
Luke begins his second book to the unknown Theophilus by recounting his own priorities through those of Jesus, who presented Himself alive to [the apostles] after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking about the Kingdom of God.
These themes are consistent with those that were evident in Luke’s Gospel: the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of God, the reality of the resurrection, as well as the fulfillment of Scripture and inevitable expansion of the Gospel. He uses Jesus’ own words to make his closing statement: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
But the Acts prologue goes even further, for as they were speaking with Jesus on Mount Olivet, asking about the kingdom of Israel, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. The apostles keep gazing into heaven until two men stood beside them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”
In all great stories, you can assume that the prologue matters. Think of the possible themes here: the apostles gazing upward in wonder… the Lord’s messengers asking “What are you looking for?”… the assurance of Jesus’ return… the promise that the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses…
Allow Luke, the master storyteller, to guide us through the days following Jesus’ ascension. We’ll witness the interaction between Apostle and Spirit as a replacement for Judas is chosen. Later, when the Apostles are assembled for Pentecost, a promise is fulfilled for them that even causes the crowd to marvel. And Peter – who’s been silent since the crucifixion – finds his voice.
Our verse for this week is Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.
Acts 1 and 2. Now let’s read it!
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,