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Jesus Continues His Work

Acts 1:1-3
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (NIVUK)

Luke, the physician-historian, wrote Luke's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to tell the truth about Jesus. Both documents were addressed to Theophilus who was probably a high ranking Roman official (indicated by his title 'Most Excellent' in Luke 1:3). He already believed in Jesus but wanted more evidence so that he could be certain and confidently share with others (Luke 1:4). Luke's accounts come from eye witnesses who had been with Jesus (Luke 1:2) and from his travels with the Apostle Paul (Acts 16:10). He knew that Jesus changed people's lives.

Luke’s gospel described what Jesus did and taught before His ascension. After His resurrection, Jesus continued to instruct and guide the apostles whenever He met them. But that was only the start. He also commanded them to welcome the Holy Spirit (John 20:22), who would continue teaching them how to follow Jesus. Those men were Christ's special messengers, who were entrusted to define 'sound doctrine', spread the gospel message and help build His church – all under the Holy Spirit's guidance. That is what the Acts of the Apostles is all about.

The resurrection is the key to the gospel. Jesus, who had been crucified for our sins, is alive. It shows His divinity (John 20:28) and His power to be King of kings (Revelation 17:14). It is a message which intrigues seekers and frightens religious leaders (Acts 4:1-2): sceptics ridicule Jesus but the evidence of His resurrection is impossible to avoid (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). So many people have met the risen Jesus, talked and even ate with Him. There was no doubt that He is alive. Acts describes how, despite increasing persecution, the church grew because Jesus was at work.

Jesus continues to be at work within us too, shaping our characters and giving us new, godly desires … and the power to fulfil them. He continues to be our Advocate in heaven, interceding on our behalf with Father God and preparing our place in His Kingdom. Meanwhile He is in command of everything and is the Master of everybody. He seeks out sinners and makes them His special saints. He loves people who hate Him and when they repent, He uses them to show the world what a wonderful Saviour He is. What happened in the Book of Acts will excite and encourage you to keep on trusting Jesus, because He is now at work in your life too.

Living Lord. Thank You for Luke whose writing should give me great confidence as I follow Jesus. But I repent of trying to live my own version of a godly life, with my own ideas and in my own strength … only to keep failing. Please help me to place my confidence in Jesus who knows everything and has authority to command me and all power to enable me to serve Him. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams