The finishing of the book of Acts and also Writing Volume 3
Prof Paul Trebilco
Guest preacher Prof Paul Trebilco, head that the Dept the Theology at Otago University, gave this really scholarly translate of what was in Luke"s mental in composing the "Acts that the Apostles." If Luke"s Gospel is Vol 1, and the action is Vol 2, who is left to create Vol 3? read the sermon to uncover out.
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Readings: action 1:1-11; 28:23-31.
Endings matter! whether it is of a Rugby game, a novel, or a movie.
Have you ever wondered why the book of action ends together it does? The publication has been following the Apostle Paul’s life with all species of dangers and also challenges. He end up in Rome under home arrest – he preaches in Rome and has some success, although part Jews space not convinced. And also then we read:
Acts 28:30-1 He lived there two entirety years at his own expense and also welcomed all who pertained to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching around the mr Jesus Christ with all boldness and also without hindrance. THE END
And … What occurred next??? was Paul released? to be he lugged to trial prior to the emperor, convicted and also martyred??? We room not told!! What a strange way to end.
Why on planet does Luke end this way? maybe he finished creating Acts while Paul was still in prison – that would certainly be about 62 CE - and also so this was as far as the story had got? This is unlikely – since Luke nearly certainly wrote after 70 due to the fact that he used Mark, and also Mark was written around 70. … for this reason Luke, composing in the 80s, intended to finish here.
Why? Well, what is acts about? The life the Paul? No. What is it about? many agree that Acts 1:8 is the layout – it’s a programmatic statement, a vital verse: The indigenous of the climbed Jesus:
“But you will get power once the divine Spirit has actually come ~ above you; and also you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in every Judea and Samaria, and also to the end of the earth.”
Acts is not a general history of the early on Church – it’s not everything Luke knows around the background of beforehand Christianity; that is too restricted for that, there’s too lot left out. Rather it is the development, the functioning out of plot 1:8.
So it’s about the holy Spirit comes upon castle – Acts has actually been called the plot of the holy Spirit – we have Pentecost, and Peter complete of the soul addressing the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:8), and also the soul falling on the brand-new believers in Samaria; the heart forbidding Paul to walk to some places, and then guiding him come others. The soul is discussed 59 time in Acts
And the publication of action is around being witnesses - witnesses come Jesus (you will be my witnesses) – think that Stephen, and also Peter, and also Paul. Evil is a forbidding word, isn’t it. However in Acts that is just telling a story – the story that Jesus, the story of how Jesus has changed someone’s life, adjusted a totality community.
And the is around being witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria .. Come the ends of the earth.
So Luke speak this story – Jerusalem first, climate they go to Samaria and then the Gospel expands. Walk it reach the end of the earth? Where space the ends of the earth?
Rome? No! native a Greco-Roman perspective, Rome to be the center of the earth. In Luke 2:1-2 we review of a decree going the end from the Emperor Augustus in Rome – to “the whole inhabited world”. Rome was the centre.
But because that either Jews or Romans or Greeks, the world extends far past Rome! to the rest of Europe, come Spain and onwards come Britannia.
The earth is viewed as a level disc – v sides. The end of the planet is the ends of the earth!! In plot 2:9-11 in connection with Pentecost us have mention of Ethiopia and also Cyrenaica and Parthia – they know these far-away places and also the Gospel hasn’t reached these locations yet! The end of the planet is the whole of the inhabited people – the ultimate borders of civilisation!
So why walk it end in Rome? Endings problem - why finish in Rome?
The story is no complete! acts 1:8 is no fulfilled v Paul’s come in Rome. Angry is to it is in to the end of the earth – this is a target past Rome, which is not got to in Acts.
So where space the end of the earth?? for Luke – probably Spain and also Britain in the West – where the Celts were, Scythia in the North, India in the East, and also Ethiopia in the south (Scott, p527) and of food from our view – and also we may suggest from God’s perspective – the us!!
But the critical point is that the ending of plot is a non-Ending. That is no an ending at all!! Why not? due to the fact that Luke to plan a Volume 3. No one that he would certainly write – but one the the holy Spirit would certainly write in the life that the church.
Like a movie wherein the movie writer ends v a sequel in mind. mr of the Rings! harry Potter!! or Pirates the the Carribean
BUT in this case, Luke is no going to write Volume 3 – rather the holy Spirit will through future Christians as actors!
Just to provide you another indication the Luke intended to provide an open-ended ending – note the following:
Acts 28:30-31 Paul lived there two whole years at his own expense and also welcomed all who pertained to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and also teaching around the mr Jesus Christ v all boldness and without hindrance.
This is a progress report – a kind of summary. There are a whole variety of other summaries in Acts. Note: acts 9:31: meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and also Samaria had actually peace and also was constructed up. Living in the fear of the Lord and also in the lull of the holy Spirit, it increased in numbers
This is a summary – and leads into the account that Peter in Lydda and Joppa and of Cornelius and also the gospel going come Gentiles.
Or take it Acts 16:5 for this reason the churches to be strengthened in the faith and also increased in number daily. This again is a review – and leads straight right into Paul’s vision of the male from Macedonia, and into his to adjust in Philippi.
(OR action 6:7; 12:24; 19:20)
So all the recaps in Acts, mark a transition from one duration of witness come the next. Summaries are complied with by brand-new phases that mission. Similarly, in ~ the end. Luke writes a summary at the finish of action so the it have the right to be followed by an account the the spread out of the Gospel in a brand-new phase, or right into a brand-new region. However in this case, Luke doesn’t give the account – he expects the leader to have actually a component in writing the brand-new story – to compose Volume 3! back the publication has ended, the story has actually not! Luke finishes v the subliminal blog post – “to be continued”! The open-ended ending tells united state that. We as readers room to finish the story! We continue the writing! that is to incorporate the readers in the continuing task of dispersing the word. It obstacles us to push on through the unfinished task! The way Luke ends provides that crystal clear.
A triptych! A trilogy
But what are the components of Volume 3?
Acts 1:8 friend will receive power as soon as the divine Spirit has come upon you; and also you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in every Judea and also Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The power of the heart at occupational in the Church and also the world. And being witnesses.
But there is also another way to look in ~ the components of volume 3. A 3 volume occupational will have actually connections between the quantities – themes the recur, echoes, parallels native one come the other. Think the the mr of the Rings. Its crucial to watch the parallels in between Volume 1 – Luke’s Gospel, and also Volume 2 – Acts. Because that these really same parallels space to be continued in Volume 3.
So what space the parallels between volume 1 and 2? between Luke and also Acts? Connections, themes, the recur, echoes and parallels.
Here space some thoughts about recurring themes:
- the work of the holy Spirit in Jesus, Peter and Paul - parallel miracles – Jesus – Peter – Paul. - the on-going preaching of the Word, and the on-going progression of the word (4:31; 8:14, 25; 11:1; 13:5, 7, 44, 46, 48; 16:32; 17:13; 18:4) - the layout of the Kingdom that God (Acts 1:3, 6; 8:12; 14:22; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31) - journeys, no settling down! - the importance of community, and of being together as disciples. - the Christian life is just one of suffering. It requires trials, imprisonment – and even death. In this the Christian is complying with Christ. The life of the Christian and of the Church is one imitation the Christ. - in spite of the worst that have the right to happen, the dangers of Jews and also Greeks, ordinary people and also rulers - God’s word renders progress, spreads and triumphs.
Conclusions: I favor the big picture … the complete story – the over-arching narrative that Luke portrays! below is a cool movie succession – where we are actors in the sequel!!! A substantial story in i beg your pardon we have a part, a summary vision. We come to be authors of the story the the progression of God’s word.
Luke wrote a 2-Volume job-related The story of Jesus is not complete – the story of Jesus calls for, requirements a volume 2 – i m sorry Luke as necessary writes! “Luke recognised the the story of Jesus was incomplete – the pointed forward to and also demanded the church”. The story of Jesus does no stand alone – the demands, calls for the recurring story the those that will follow Jesus. The life that the church – the recurring life – necessarily creates out of the Jesus story! and also just together the story the Jesus called for a Volume 2 – so that calls because that a volume 3 – and a really long Volume 3! The means Luke ends Acts renders this clear.
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Volume 3 is a story that echoes the story that Jesus, a story similarly empowered through the Spirit, to be witnesses come Jesus come the ends of the earth. A story wherein we live out the reality that regardless of the worst that deserve to happen, God’s word progresses, God’s power sets people free, God’s love transforms communities.