The notes this week have been provided by Dave.
We’re moving on into Acts today and although this is a new book, in Luke’s eyes this is really a continuation of the same story and that is a very important concept. As we learnt yesterday Jesus’ work did not end with his ascension to heaven and over the next few months we’ll see that in action. Let’s read Acts 1:1-3 here.
It is clearly very important to Luke that he was able to prove to his readers that everything he says is true. At the start of Luke’s gospel he says;
“With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
And here, at the start of Acts he tells us that
“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God”.
In computing we have a concept called “the chain of trust”, that is to say, if you’re going to the website of your bank, how do you know it’s really them? Well, someone created a certificate that they show you to prove it’s them. But who’s to say that the person who created the certificate didn’t make another one and give it to some nefarious character? Honestly…no-one. You just have to trust them. At some point you just have to trust something. As Christians, we are in the amazing position where we have God’s word written for us – what better place to put your trust? Luke is going an extra step here though – he’s done all of the research, double checking and investigation and now tells us categorically that what Theophilus has been taught is true! Jesus did die, he did rise and he did ascend to heaven!
In a sense, those 40 days were the counterpoint to his time of tempting and isolation in the desert – this is his victory parade before his coronation. He’s assuaging the fears and worries of his disciples one by one and teaching them more of the kingdom of God to prepare them for the work ahead – but equally he’s demonstrating his victory over temptation, Satan and death.
Thank you Lord for your word, thank you that you have given us these verses to turn back to when we struggle. Lord God, we ask for your forgiveness for the times when we doubt you and ask that you turn us back to the bible when we find it hard to see you at work.