Hi friends! Today we come into the final chapters of the Book of Acts. Like a TV show getting cancelled these final words fit in so much action into 2 short chapters that it almost feels rushed or the moments are less amazing than they really are because of how much is happening. But that's just my opinion, of course. The gospel of Luke begins with the bold claim that Jesus ancestry reports back behind David all the way to Adam (the source of ALL people, not just jews) and even includes gentiles in that list. The final words of the Book of Acts prove Luke's point and brings it all home. What did you enjoy about the book of acts? What story stays with you?
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What was the central "theme" of Acts? How does it relate to Luke?
All the other gospel accounts ended at Jesus' resurrection and did not write of the apostles 'acts'. Why do you think they omitted this?
- Commentary -
The book of acts ends on an inclusive note where God's kingdom is for all, including the gentiles, which is good news! But, the way its worded can also make it appear that God's kingdom is for the gentiles because the jews won't accept it. This has led to many years of undeserved antisemitic notions from Christians. It would be wise of us, dear readers, to remind ourselves that Paul frequently refers to himself as a Pharisee or a jew. He frequently preaches in synagogues about the desire for "glory to Israel." Paul is not saying that Jesus' message is only for the jews, it's just that his message is for them as well. So, what NT Wright, renowned New Testament scholar has challenged readers of Acts to consider is to read it as God's kingdom is not for a specific group (read: theology) but rather God's kingdom is for those who are willing to repent. We live in a polarized climate politically and even theologically more and more these days. What if, instead of us getting caught up in the differences that we perceive as right and wrong we instead can rejoice in the times that we repent. Repent of our certainty, repent of our anger, repent of the times we divided, and repent of the times we trusted our own experiences over God's expertise. Perhaps that can be our prayer this next year. I believe Paul and the original church would get behind that.
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by hymn 292 in our hymnal - What Wonderous Love Is This. Rejoice in song as we give glory and praise to God who has been so so good to us!
1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul, what wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
2 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul, what wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of life to lay aside his crown for my soul, for my soul, to lay aside his crown for my soul.
3 To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing, to God and to the Lamb, I will sing; to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM, while millions join the theme I will sing, I will sing; while millions join the theme I will sing.
4 And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on; and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on.