Imagine that you are the very first person to hear incredible, life-changing, world-shaking good news. Who would you tell? Would you make a call, text a friend, or post to social media? Certainly, you wouldn’t be able to keep this news to yourself. You’d want to share it with as many people as possible. The word gospel is derived from a term meaning “good story” or “good news.” Today, we begin a study of the book of Acts, going back to the beginning of the church and the early spread of this good news.
The book of Acts is a close companion to the Gospel of Luke, which he calls “my former book” in Acts 1:1. Biblical scholars say the Gospel of Luke and Acts were probably one work made up of two scrolls. Luke’s second volume, the book of Acts, begins with Jesus’ final instructions to the disciples before His ascension. Jesus spent the forty days between His resurrection and ascension teaching about the kingdom of God. Before He departed, Jesus hits pause on the disciples’ mission. He tells them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them. The Holy Spirit is considered so essential to the mission of the church that the first disciples needed to wait until they had been “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
During this waiting period, the apostles appointed a replacement for Judas, who had betrayed Christ and then committed suicide. Two candidates were nominated, and Matthias was chosen after prayer and casting lots (v. 24). This method was similar to the one used by the Jewish priests to discern God’s will. However, there is no mention of the apostles employing this method again after Pentecost.
>> As we begin our study of Acts, ask God to grant you insight through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit also empowers us to serve God well and to share the good news of the gospel. Give thanks today for the gospel!