When you think of the Book of Acts, what comes to mind? Do you imagine the Holy Spirit, descending as visible tongues of fire, empowering Jesus’ disciples to speak in the many languages of the earth? Do you think of Peter and John defying the Sanhedrin, obeying God and not man? Do you think of Stephen’s scourging indictment of the apostasy of God’s people and his subsequent martyrdom? Do you think of the blinding light that apprehended Saul on the road to Damascus? Or Peter’s vision that led him to count the gentile God-fearer, Cornelius, as a brother in Christ? Does the folly and death of King Agrippa grip you, or do the great missionaries journeys of Paul, Barnabus, and others capture your imagination? Could it be that the nobility of the Bereans or Paul’s last word to the Ephesians elders or the prophetic pleadings of Agabus fill your mind’s eye? Maybe the roiling seas and shipwreck on Malta captivate you. Do you imagine Paul in Rome, preaching the Gospel under house arrest?
The Book of Acts is often called the Acts of the Apostles, but that is something of a misnomer. When Luke writes in Acts 1:1 that his earlier account of Jesus’ birth, life, miracles, death, and resurrection—which we know as the Gospel of Luke—represents “all that Jesus began to do and teach,” he helps us rightly to interpret that which follows. All that Jesus began to do and teach in person before His ascension into heaven, He also continues to do and teach—by the power of His Holy Spirit—through the ministry of the apostles. The Book of Acts, when properly understood, is comprised of Jesus’ continuing activities. Jesus saves. Jesus converts. Jesus grows His church. Jesus tears down spiritual strongholds. Jesus empowers ministry. And Jesus’ disciples—which includes you and me—are privileged to participate. Jesus chooses to use “jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
All the praise for the miraculous acts of the apostles goes to the Lord and Savior of the apostles alone.