Acts 1–2: The Ascension of Jesus & the Coming of the Holy Spirit

Read the Bible in 2011Week 39: Saturday

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
Acts 1:1–3

Saturday’s Bible reading is Acts 1–2. Luke continues his careful account to Theophilus that he began in his Gospel. F. F. Bruce writes:

“…Luke and Acts are not really two works, but two parts of one work; and the brief preface to the Gospel (Lk. 1:1–4) is intended to apply to both parts.”1

“Luke was not himself a personal companion of Jesus before the cross. He was, according to a tradition going back to the Anti-Marcionite Gospel Prologues at the end of the 2nd century, and even earlier to the formation of the ‘western’ text (see on 11:27), a native of Syrian Antioch, and in that case his acquaintance with Christianity may have dated from the early days of Christian witness in that city, when the gospel was first preached on a large scale to the Gentiles and the first Gentile church was established. For Luke appears to have been a Gentile.”2

As you read this book, I want to note something else Bruce writes:

Indeed, the whole book might well be called as A. T. Pierson called it in the title of his exposition, ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit’. The Holy Spirit controls the work…He is the primary Witness to the truth of the gospel (5:32).

In short, for Luke, as for Paul, the present age is the age of the Spirit, during which the work of accomplished by Christ for His people is made effective in them by the Spirit…3

In these first two chapters of Acts the Holy Spirit comes with power and the Church explodes into being.

__________
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1, 2, 3F. F. Bruce, “The Acts of the Apostles,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., pp. 968, 967, 972.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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