The Gospel — Part 2

Movie sequels often fail to live up to the original movie. Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke, but the impact, if anything, increases in Part 2. Acts 1:1–5 introduces Luke’s second volume, calling you to listen to what Jesus continues to do and teach, to learn about the kingdom, and to live as one who has been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Understand Jesus’ instructions about his kingdom. Acts is the continuation of the words and deeds of Jesus. Luke, who authored the Gospel that bears his name, has told you what Jesus began to do and teach (Luke 1:1–4). The clear implication is that this second volume is the continuation of that story. The continuing work of Christ in Acts is the work of the Spirit, more specifically, the Spirit working in and through the church. Very early church history identifies Luke as the author. He was Paul’s companion and was a physician. He was a careful researcher and historian. He not only knew his Old Testament well (was he a “God-fearer”?) but the Old Testament Scriptures influenced how he wrote this book (notice how the account of the conversion of Saul is told and re-told). The book contains theology, but it’s there tucked into the history that Luke records. And it is reliable history because the Holy Spirit is the ultimate author.

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Extraordinary Things through Ordinary Means

How is a nation established? What makes it great? In Matthew 28:16–20 Jesus gives his disciples — and you — the instructions and formula for building a lasting kingdom.

Jesus fulfills the good news. The Great Commission is the conclusion of the Gospel. Notice the repeated geographic emphasis on Galilee. Here Jesus had begun his public ministry, Matthew 4:12. Here he had

preached the Sermon on the Mount and performed many miracles. Then in Matthew 16:21 he begins his journey towards Jerusalem to suffer, be betrayed, and die. He not only promises his disciples that following his suffering he will meet them in Galilee, that’s emphasized in the resurrection account. Now he is returning to Galilee, triumphant over even the power of Satan and death itself. The focus on the nations and the promise to be with his disciples brings to mind the covenant relationship established with Abraham. Matthew 1:1 references Abraham prominently. Now the promise to Abraham that all the nations will be blessed is being fulfilled.

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