“In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 1:1-2.
The book of Acts has one theme—the continuing ministry of the risen Lord Jesus. The Gospel of Luke tells the story of what Jesus began to do and teach. In Acts, Luke tells the story of what Jesus continued to do and teach through his disciples (1:1-2). Jesus’ followers, empowered by the Spirit proclaimed His word and the result is an expanding movement of new disciples and churches.
Before Jesus was taken up into heaven, He gave orders to His apostles. It focuses on the final command, the Great Commission, to take the good news to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem (Luke 24:47). As you read through the Book of Acts, it becomes obvious that the apostles and early church were not doing their own thing, formulating their own plans, and building their own empires. Rather, they were instruments through whom the Lord was working His purpose and plan. They were containing what Jesus started.
While the Book of Acts emphasizes the ministry of Peter and Paul, it shows clearly that these men were not one-man shows. They worked together with many others to do the Lord’s work. Luke lists many people in Acts. He shows that God has an interest in individuals and that He works through bringing these individuals together into His church.
Our task is to continue the mission of Jesus Christ. When we love others, we are continuing His mission. When we develop and use the particular gifts He has given to each of us, we are continuing His mission. When we respond to the grace to do something for someone else, we are continuing His mission. When we make time to be kind to those whom our society hates, the downtrodden, the socially unacceptable, the butt of jokes at school, at work, in the community, we are continuing His mission.
There is only one mission, the mission of the Risen Lord. He invites us to follow Him and participate in the fulfillment of His mission. As His word advances, new disciples are made and new churches are formed. The obstacles are immense, yet Jesus’ presence and power ensure the gospel’s advance throughout the world.
Jesus still calls his disciples to follow Him in obedience and continue what He started by taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. Rather than dwelling on what we have become, each one of us needs to do our part in continuing what Jesus started.
- What does continuing what Jesus started mean to you?
- What can we do this week to use your gifts to contribute to the Jesus movement?