What happens after the world has changed? Where do we go? How should we live? What do we do now?
The Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of the narrative of the Gospel of Luke, but it is also something radically different. Instead of presenting the Life of Jesus, within the Book of Acts, we have an account of the aftermath of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins in the following way:
Theophilus, the first scroll I wrote concerned everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning, right up to the day when he was taken up into heaven. Before he was taken up, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus instructed the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed them that he was alive with many convincing proofs. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, speaking to them about God’s kingdom. - Acts 1:1-2
Jesus then tells the disciples to stay put in Jerusalem because something amazing is about to happen. Pretty soon, we have the first bureaucratic step in the history of the church, which is to find a replacement for Judas. Then they gather in Jerusalem for the Festival of Booths, and all heaven breaks loose.
Acts is full of these wonderfully vivid narratives like Pentecost, the martyrdom of Stephen, Philip and the Ethiopian, but more than anything else, Acts if filled with the life of Paul the Apostle. We read of his early persecution of the Christians and of his later conversion and the missionary journeys which he undertook to share the good news which had changed his life.
Most of the New Testament is made up of the letters of the letters of Paul, but here in Acts we have a way to both add to them context, and see the life of faith from a different perspective.
The same Holy Spirit which rushed over the crowds at Pentecost is present for us today. That is beautiful and daunting. But we are not alone. When we search the Scriptures of the Book of Acts, we find a God who is present for those who follow God’s son. We find a world turned upside down.