Luke is the author of Luke’s Gospel and the book of Acts. Today’s verses provide the bridge between the two volumes.
In Luke 24:46–47, Jesus summarizes the purpose of God. Notice that verse 46 is a good summary of the Gospel of Luke—the suffering, the death and resurrection of the Christ. Verse 47 is a good summary of Acts—that same gospel being preached to the ends of the earth. Notice that verse 47 is as much the purpose of God as verse 46; the broadcast of the gospel, mission and evangelism is at the very heart of God’s ongoing purpose until His Son returns.
Acts 1:8 is a similar verse to Luke 24:47. It sets the pattern for the unfolding narrative of Acts. The Holy Spirit will come on the church to empower it for witness in ever-widening circles until the gospel reaches the ends of the earth.
This tells us that Luke’s purpose, under God, in writing Acts is to show the triumphant progress of the gospel, through Judea, into Samaria, throughout Asia, into Europe and finally to Rome. However, this is not triumphalism, for the gospel messenger will be opposed, tortured, imprisoned, and martyred. There will be opposition from the outside religious and commercial interests and even dissension within the church, yet the gospel will progress and people will come to Christ. God buries His messengers but not His message.
Luke, in the original Greek, concludes his account in Acts 28:31 with the word “unhinderedly.” The march of the gospel is ongoing; it has not yet ceased.
The book of Acts provides the church of the twenty-first century with its mandate— and your mandate for today. You have the Holy Spirit. He will empower you today for witness to Christ in a lost world.
“All hope in ministry lies in the Spirit of God operating on the spirit of men.” C.H. Spurgeon.*
Think of the people you contact and of your witness to them. How can it be more effective? Do you think we make Luke 24:47 of lesser importance than Luke 24:46? What effect does this have on the church?
* C.H. Spurgeon, quoted in Reformation & Revival Journal, vol. 9, no. 1 (Winter 2000).