Big Idea: The Church of Jesus takes the whole Word to the whole world.
Dr. Luke ended Acts with the original cliff-hanger. Paul is imprisoned and awaiting trial, but Luke does not tell us about the outcome. Was he freed? Executed? If we did not have the rest of the New Testament, we would not know. It is a strange way to end the account of the early Christians. On the other hand, maybe not. Several weeks ago, when we first started digging into the book of Acts, we noticed that Luke is the book of what Jesus began to do and to teach, while Acts is the book of what Jesus continued to do and to teach through His people. In that light, maybe it is not so strange after all that Luke would end his story this way. Perhaps the Holy Spirit was guiding Him into demonstrating that the story had not yet ended. The gospel was still being taken to the ends of the earth and Jesus is still with His Church.
Luke had to provide a cliff-hanger because the story He was telling of Jesus working through His body would not end in his lifetime or in many lifetimes since. As you read the ending of Acts and wonder why there is no nice conclusion, I pray that it stirs your heart to remember that you are living out a chapter of the story now. As your church makes disciples, you are filling in the story. When you share the gospel, you are a character in the same plot. Our lives look a lot different than the lives of these Christians in the first century. Frankly, our lives look a lot different than in 2019! But it is the same Jesus working in us and through us. His truth is marching on.
Discussion Idea: Do you think of the events of Acts as ongoing, or some distant “pre-history”? Why?
Prayer Focus: Lord, thank You for providing this record in Your Word of what people can do when they are faithful to You. Help me to remember that through You, I have the same resources they had. Drive me to change my world for Your glory like they did theirs.