When you come right down to it, aren’t we all in an in-between place? We know that we are foreigners in a strange land, and our real home lies elsewhere. But in each of our Lower Stories, we frequently find ourselves saying, “In the meantime…at least for now…” Some of us are in an in-between time professionally; some are recovering from wounds, professional, emotional or spiritual, and need an in-between place to heal, to re-equip ourselves for the journey ahead. Some of us are in an adjustment time that requires we rearrange our priorities, because we suddenly find ourselves with children, or maybe without children, or maybe without a job.
If you think you might currently be an in-between person in an in-between time, then Acts is just the book for you. In this book, Luke chronicles the passage from one era to another, and all the things that change in this revolution called Christianity.
In this book, we have deserters turning into outspoken, single-minded preachers. We have a brief time of waiting followed by a stunning moment of empowerment and conviction. We have a New Community that shared everything, sacrificed for each other and had favor with outsiders.
We see these previously frightened disciples now performing some of the same miracles Jesus did, and then being thankful that they had the privilege of suffering for Jesus’ name. We have a man named Stephen selected because he was “full of the Holy Spirit” and wise, who tragically became the first martyr for this new movement. We see his death as a catalyst to persecution that drove the gospel message out of Jerusalem and into Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. We see a dyed-in-the-wool, foam-at-the-mouth legalist like Saul have a literal come-to-Jesus moment, and then be commissioned to be the uttermost parts of the earth mouthpiece. We see eyes opened and paradigms destroyed as Peter and Cornelius form the first Odd Couple and thereby open salvation to the Gentiles, which paved the way for Paul to then go to those uttermost places and preach the Gospel.
Acts is a book of transitions…
- Ministry of Jesus to ministry of apostles
- Hiding to boldness
- Presence of Jesus to presence of Holy Spirit
- Old covenant to New
- Israel as God’s chief witness to the Church
- The place of worship from synagogues to churches in homes
- Jews to Gentiles
- Circumcision to baptism (Acts 10)
- Jerusalem to rest of world
- Law to grace