Experience - Day 1

Acts 1:1-3 NLT

1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

Though the above verses are technically the introduction to Luke’s second book, we have to go back to his first book to catch the full purpose of why he writes both. There, we find these words…

1 Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. 3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.“ Luke 1:1-4 NLT

So Luke writes these two volumes to add yet another definitive account of the accuracy of all the events that took place. One scholar said that the purpose of Luke’s books is not so much to convert unbelievers, but to encourage and strengthen those that do believe.

Most scholars date Luke’s writings to somewhere between 80-100 AD. By this time, the temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed, the Jews scattered, persecution is on the rise, and slowly, the Gentile converts are outpacing the growth of the Jewish believers in Jesus as the Messiah. In the midst of so much change, so much struggle, so much pressure, it would be easy for followers to doubt, become discouraged, and give up.

Luke is trying to avoid that from happening, so he adds his voice, his research, and his own experience as one who spent a lot of time with the church’s first real missionary and theologian, the apostle Paul.

And Paul writes both books to someone named Theophilus, a name that comes from the Greek for “Loved by God.” So in one sense, Theophilus could be any and all of us, in another sense, scholars believe it was a specific person, likely a Roman convert to the faith. Either way, I like to lean into the idea that Theophilus represents us all; for we all go through challenges seasons in life, we all have our questions, and Luke records and share these stories to help us
believe that Jesus actually did live, die, and was resurrected. This same Jesus, as we learn in Acts of the Apostles, continues to live and work in us, through his Holy Spirit, so that all people everywhere may know the one true God, and His love for us.

1. Have you ever gone through a season of doubt in your faith journey? If so, what was that like and are you still there, or has God led you through that valley? If you feel you’re on the other side of that doubt, what helped you come back to a trust in God?
2. What about your life and/or your faith needs a strengthen and encouraging today? If Jesus were sitting across from you now, what do you think he’d have to say?
3. Are there things about your faith that you are certain of? Things you have no doubt about?

By Pastor Paddy McCoy

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