by Barry Newton
God’s unrelenting story continues today. But among his first dramatic, but somewhat shrouded, rumblings were those heard by Abraham more than a millennia before Christ. “Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” (Genesis 22:18; Acts 3:25).
God’s plan would impact the world. Then the drum beat grew stronger and clearer as prophet after prophet heralded God’s coming Messiah.
The crescendo is realized in Jesus, the Son of Man who came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) Faithful to the universal blessing announced to Abraham, this Son of Man revealed that God was not merely concerned with the well-being of respectable Jews, but also with that of outcasts, the poor and the Gentile nations.
As the Gospel of Luke drew to a close, Jesus described how the Scriptures foretold that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations (Luke 24:46). God had been at work and would be at work.
Like a constant theme embedded in a musical score, Acts repeatedly beats out how God’s Holy Spirit was at work ensuring that the message of salvation would penetrate into the world. Through Jesus, the offspring of Abraham, God’s blessings flowed into the world’s nations.
While the last chapter of Acts has been written, God’s love for all people and His desire to bless the world through Jesus has not diminished. God continues to work through his servants taking the message of a slain and risen Savior to call people to Himself.
And so it was many years ago, that as a young person, I learned about the Creator God who loved me and sent the Son of Man to die that I might live. Like those who were baptized so many years ago in Acts that they might believe in the Lord, I too responded to Jesus.
And suddenly my story and the stories of each of us who have responded to Jesus became intertwined with God’s ongoing story to redeem people.
Today as I read Acts, I am reminded that the Lord’s church is not a man-made organization, but has the dignity of being the work of God. I am also repeatedly impressed with how God desires to work through His people to carry the message.
The last chapter of Acts may have been written, but Acts causes me to reflect upon whether my story contributes to the purposes of God’s ongoing story in this world.
by Barry Newton