BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “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.” Acts 1:1,2 ESV
The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts are “two volumes” that go together. They are unique in that both are written to a Greek by the name of Theophilus. Not much is known about this individual, other than what we read in scripture.
The opening of Luke’s gospel gives the reason for his writing. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us…it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:1-4 ESV)
Luke more than any other gospel writer clearly lays out why he was writing, to whom, and for what intent. As we read the gospels and especially the gospel of Luke, it is so that we, “…may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” The story of Jesus is more than myth or legend. It is grounded in historic fact, verified by those who were eye witnesses.
As Luke writes the Book of Acts, he wants Theophilus to know that the “story” did not end with the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. It continued in the lives of the Apostles. Jesus gives His disciples the “great commission” before His ascension, which leads into the “sequel.” At the end of Luke the natural questions in the mind of the reader would be, What will happen with the disciples? Luke shares that in the Book of Acts.
Luke bridges the gap between his gospel and the Book of Acts by sharing more details about the ascension. He begins in Acts, where he left off in the gospel. He points to Jesus’ command, “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4,5 ESV
Luke records John the Baptist’s words in his gospel, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16 ESV)
Now after three years, the prophecy of John the Baptist was going to be fulfilled. The empowering of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, resulted in the Apostles boldly proclaiming the resurrection of Christ. They witnessed miracles of deliverance, divine courage and boldness. The lame man at the Temple was healed, people sought to be in the shadow of Peter in hopes to be healed. They face challenges trusting in the wisdom of revelation of the Holy Spirit and the result was the “word of the Lord growing.”
Jesus told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLT) Now these “greater works” were coming to pass. The Word of the Lord was being fulfilled in the lives of the disciples and it is being fulfilled in the lives of Christ-followers today.
Prayer for today…. Lord, thank You for the “full story” of the impact of Your life. We see what You promise is fulfilled. Allow us to have faith in Your word and power to work in and through our lives today.