Just one more post on Luke before we move on to tracking the amazing advance of the world Christian movement – beyond Acts chapter 28!
I really do love this guy – I very much appreciate the fact that Luke wrote the Book of Acts. Luke, it seems, saw something of the wider, global scope of Jesus’ ministry and was determined to help us all to understand, precisely, just what that was!
The Book of Acts could just as easily have been entitled ‘Second Luke: This second book that Luke wrote, the sequel to the Gospel that bears his name, was written to demonstrate the seamless continuity of what Jesus began to ‘do’ and ‘teach’ in the Gospels with what Jesus continued to ‘do’ and ‘teach’ following his resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:2).
Now, no longer restricted to one physical body, Jesus was able to replicate through his Church what he did in the Gospels – many hundreds, thousands even millions of times over, on all continents, in all countries, among all peoples, throughout the big wide world, Fantastic!
The early Church caught this vision and the Book of Acts, or second Luke, reads like the Gospels – multiplied!
John 14:12 “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do..’
Do your own research and you will discover that about two-thirds of the Book of Acts is taken up with a record of ‘the church scattered’ – moving beyond its borders and boundaries, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, taking the Gospel to where Christ was not yet named. One-third is a record of ‘the church gathered’. Is there a message for us here?
Too many Christians separate the Gospels from Acts. The Church began, they say, with the Book of Acts. Well, perhaps, but the ‘world Christian movement’ began with Jesus – it began in the Gospels! Mark shared with Luke this same understanding – Mark’s Gospel opens with “The beginning of the gospel (good news) about Jesus Christ, the Son of God:’ (Mk 1:1)
Jesus is the head of the Church, is he not? Jesus is the Lord of the harvest is he not? Go back to the Gospels, we will find there the ‘DNA’ or the ‘seeds’ of a ‘world-wide Christian movement’ that would, one day, fill the whole earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord (Hab 2:14).
Christianity was intended to be nothing less than a ‘movement’ that would take the knowledge of salvation to all ‘peoples’ and to all people throughout the earth, spanning many generations. Eventually ALL nations, peoples, tribes and tongues would hear and respond (Rev 7:9). The Book of Acts concludes with these words “..God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen! (Acts 28:28), The Message Bible says it this way, ”…And believe me, they’re going to receive it with open arms!”
This was what Doctor Luke saw! He saw it in the ministry of Jesus. He saw it being outworked by the early Church. This captured his imagination and he set about documenting the progress of this world Christian movement. The Holy Spirit seemed also to like what Luke was writing, Luke’s writings take up more of the New Testament than any other single writer! He was a major voice with a major message!