Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How the Book of Acts Begins and Ends


Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The other week I came to realization about the book of Acts, particularly about how it begins and how it ends. Now, I already knew how it begins and I also knew how it ends. But what occurred to me is that it begins and ends with the same theme. See if you can spot it:
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3)

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him. (Acts 28:30-31)
Do you see it? Can you identify the common theme? Acts begins with Jesus during the forty days between His resurrection from the dead and His ascension to His throne in heaven at the right hand of the Father. And what does He do during those forty days? He speaks to the disciples about things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

The book of Acts closes decades later with Paul under house arrest in Rome for preaching the gospel. He was there for two whole years. And what does he do during all that time? What is the theme of His preaching and teaching? The kingdom of God, and everything that concerns King Jesus the Messiah.

What do you think is the significance of that? And what do you suppose that says about all that is recorded in the middle, between the beginning and the ending?