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. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:1-3
If you have followed this devotional for a while OR our preaching schedule at South Fellowship, you will know that we recently finished a series in the book of Luke. Acts is a sort of sequel to Luke’s gospel account of Jesus. Luke references his first book in the opening lines of this account. In the connection between these books, we find a helpful lens through which to read Acts. Jesus was the focus of Luke’s first book, and Jesus remains the focus of this book. That may seem counterintuitive because Jesus is only physically present in the text in this first chapter.
There is an inherent tension throughout Acts. Jesus is gone; how can this movement continue without him? How can Jesus still be the focus? The resounding answer to that question is the Holy Spirit. Jesus even tells them this here in the first chapter when he says they will be “baptized with the spirit” and later, “receive power when the spirit has come (Verse 5 & 8).”
The full title has traditionally been “The Acts Of The Apostles,” but some have argued that it could just have easily been “The Acts of The Spirit.”
Over the next several months, we will be living in Acts for our Daily readings. We will not have time to look at every detail along the way, so instead, our readings will focus on the themes in Acts through a specific set of lenses. We will look for the work of the Spirit, motivated by the finished work of Jesus, through the lives of Jesus’ young Church. We will ask ourselves, how is the Church supposed to continue a Jesus movement when Jesus isn’t around?
Take a moment to pray and ask the Spirit to illuminate your eyes to see Jesus in this book over the next few months.
By Aaron Bjorklund