by Andrew Hillard
What started with waiting ends with a witness. As Acts begins, the apostles await the promised Holy Spirit, the one who would bring them the power they needed to be witnesses to the end of the earth. As Acts concludes, Paul is in Rome, welcoming all who come to him and teaching them about Jesus. What started with Saul persecuting the believers ends with Paul in prison for proclaiming the kingdom. As Acts begins, Saul is a leader of the Jewish opposition to Christianity. As Acts concludes, Paul (formerly known as Saul) is the main target of that opposition. A lot has changed in the world from Acts 1 to Acts 28, but some things remain constant throughout and to this today–the gospel is the power of God to save, and the Spirit is on the move.
Acts doesn’t show us that following Jesus is safe. The stoning of Stephen and the frequent imprisonment of the apostles make that much clear, but at every point where the apostles are pressed, the gospel goes out–from Peter and John before the council in Acts 4 all the way to Paul in Rome in Acts 28. The Spirit provides the boldness to proclaim Jesus without hindrance, in good times and bad, one on one and before a crowd, before a friendly crowd and before an angry mob. A lot of things changed from Acts 1 to Acts 28, and even more has changed in the centuries since. It’s hard even to list all the changes that have happened in our world in the last two months, but what hasn’t changed is what is most important. Jesus is alive, the gospel is the power of God to save, and in those of us who know Jesus, the Spirit is on the move. So let’s do what Spirit-filled people do and tell anyone who can hear about how Jesus changes everything.