In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. (Acts 1:1-2 ESV)
Prior to His ascension, Jesus gave to His disciples clear commands for what they were supposed to do until He returned. They were to be His witnesses to all the earth (Acts 1:8), to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ to all nations (Luke 24:47), and to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Though these texts are well-known (for good reason), these first verses of Acts are often overlooked.
Acts is written by Luke as the sequel to his Gospel, and he begins it by explicitly saying that the Gospel of Luke was about “all that Jesus began to do and teach”. The word ‘began’ is interesting because Luke’s Gospel covers Jesus’ birth to His ascension, so it would appear to be the most complete account of Jesus’ ministry, not the beginning of it. However, Luke is expressing a deeply important thought for us to understand: as the body of Christ, His church, we are the continuation of Jesus’ ministry on earth.
We saw last week that Jesus’ ministry was about expanding the kingdom of heaven on earth. By making disciples and proclaiming repentance and forgiveness in Christ, we are growing the kingdom of God. Just as Jesus kept His focus upon proclaiming the good news of the kingdom (Luke 4:42-44), so must we understand that our purpose is to preach the gospel and make disciples.
Knowing that Jesus has called each of us to make disciples until He returns, does your life reflect this command? If not, what are some specific reasons that keep you from obeying Jesus?