The book of Acts or also known as the Acts of the Apostles is a wonderful story of the beginning of the Christian community. A surprise to some is that the author is unknown to us. We do know that Theophilus was the first reader of the Acts of the Apostle. Not much is known about him. Maybe he was a wealthy man who was new to the Christian community and was helping fund the spread of the gospel. Acts was written for instruction, formation and for the future of the Jesus movement. We must remember, this movement was both a continuation and a new message for the world.
Imagine being part of the first gathering after Jesus had been crucified. Rumors were abounding. Some people had seen Jesus while others were only privileged to hear from those whom they trusted. This time was unbelievable, confusing and exciting. What if…? What impresses me in the first couple of chapters is how the disciples gained courage in speaking what they had first questioned. No longer were they questioning the resurrection; they were preaching it. Peter had found his voice and was telling his truth with conviction. Peter showed his understanding of scripture by tying together the writings of the prophets with his recollection of Jesus’ teachings. What was previously anticipated came to be.
Also in the first couple of chapters, we see how the community was not convinced as the disciples were. The disciples were challenged for their beliefs.
What stood out to you when reading the first four chapters of Acts? Have you ever experienced being moved from doubt to assurance? What were the circumstances? How did the shift in your mind take place and what were the circumstances in your heart?
The Rt. Rev. Morris K. Thompson, Jr.
Bishop of Louisiana