Today's Reading: Acts 1-3
The book of Acts has often been called The Acts of the Apostles. In it, we see the work of the church spreading the good news of the gospel, first in Jerusalem, then to Judea and all Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth.
The book is the sequel to the gospel of Luke. With the same care and attention to detail, Luke writes to Theophilus, perhaps a Greek official whom Luke is mentoring into discipleship.
I love the name Theophilus. It is the combination of two Greek words, theos, which means God and philus, meaning lover or friend. This book is written to the "Friend of God" or, in other words, "The One who loves God."
Right from the start, the friends, the disciples of Jesus, are asking about Jesus' return to them. It must be frightening to imagine life without Jesus' presence after spending the last three years having him right with them. This farewell is hard on them.
"Lord, at this time, are you going to restore the kingdom?" Will we be a part of the culmination of your ministry? Will we see your way ushered into our community? Are you going to set up your kingdom here, in Jerusalem? Will you continue your work of teaching us, reaching the outcasts, healing the sick and speaking truth to our leaders?
Jesus says to them, "Dear, dear friends, your focus is off once again. The time and date are not for you to know. But this is what you will know. You will be my witnesses. The kingdom will be ushered in by you and the acting of my Holy Spirit within you."
"You will receive power; power to be my witnesses."
The call of every Theophilus is to be open to the receiving of the Holy Spirit's power, to be drenched and filled with the Spirit! When this happens, the Theophilus people witness to Jesus. They witness in their own towns. They witness beyond their homes. They even witness to the ends of the earth.
Though this witness might appear to be the Acts of the Apostles, the Acts of the Disciples, the Acts of the Theophilus People, it is in fact the Acts of the Holy Spirit working through the redeemed.
So, dear Theophilus, how will the Holy Spirit act through you today? What will be written about what God is doing through you? Chapter 29 of Acts has not yet been written.
You are writing it today, dear Theophilus people!