Monday, Sept. 15

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In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,  until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  - Acts 1:1-5

I am glad that God puts it in the heart of some doctors to do more than medicine. Every doctor I know in this church has dreams bigger than mending bodies and making bucks. I thank God for that. But the doctor I am most thankful for in all the world is the doctor called Luke. In Colossians 4:14 Paul calls him "the beloved physician." We meet him for the first time in Troas where he joins Paul and Silas and Timothy on the second missionary journey, he may have been converted there and joined the missionary team as a kind of staff doctor.

But O how much more than a doctor he became! He traveled with Paul for years and went with him finally to Rome where Paul died. I find one of Paul's most moving sentences in his last letter 2 Timothy 4:11, during his final imprisonment in Rome. He says simply, "Luke alone is with me."

All these years in all these travels, including two years in Palestine, Luke is taking notes about the works and words of Jesus and the progress of the church. Finally God moves him to write a two-volume work that makes up more of the New Testament than what any other New Testament writer wrote, including the apostle Paul.

Now we should never minimize the finality—the once-for-allness—of the saving work of Jesus on the cross and in his resurrection. Hebrews 10:12 says, "When Christ had offered FOR ALL TIME a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God." When Jesus cried "It is finished," the debt was paid, the sins were covered, the wrath was removed and Satan was mortally wounded. 

But we do need to understand that while Christ accomplished our salvation completely on the cross, that does not mean He is done working in the world!  Notice what Luke says here—that what Jesus did on the earth in his tough, compassionate, loving, healing deeds and what he said on the earth in his truthful, authoritative, convicting, comforting teaching was only the beginning of his doing and his teaching. This is absolutely crucial for understanding the purpose of the book of Acts and who we are as a church and what this age is all about. Because the clear implication is that NOW—now that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father—he is NOT finished. He is not done with his work and with his teaching. He is not dead and he is not absent. He is alive and he is present and He is active in the hearts and lives of His followers!
Jeff Frazier

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