To Be Continued
When I was growing up, I watched television programs in the comforting assurance that they would reach a timely and logical conclusion. Whether it was Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show, or Perry Mason, I could be sure that there would be a resolution to the plot. It was a bad show when the plot didn’t resolve and the dreaded phrase appeared at the bottom of the screen: “To be continued…” In a similar way, the plot in Acts is left unresolved, and we are left with the realization that the full story is yet to be completed.
In writing the book we know as Acts, its author, Luke, wasn’t composing a biography of the apostle Paul. Rather, he was demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit to spread God’s word in the world through a variety of individuals in the unfolding story of human history. He wasn’t encouraging readers to create their own endings but inviting them to be a part of the continuing story.
The final word in the Greek text of the book of Acts is akolytos, which means “unhindered.” This is in step with what Paul wrote during his second imprisonment: “I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9). In other words, Acts concludes but the action continues. Acts is the beginning of the story, a story of the work of God’s Spirit, through His church, that sweeps into our world and up to our time.
In fact, the unfolding story of redemption, in which we find ourselves, actually begins much earlier than Acts 1. We catch one of our first glimpses when God promised Adam and Eve that one of their family would crush Satan and undo the effects of their sin (Genesis 3:15); we see another when the Lord told Abraham, “In your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (22:18). The Father’s plan was always that He would give to His Son the nations as an inheritance (Psalm 2:8). This is an all-encompassing promise worthy of our life, and even our death.
Your life is wrapped up in this amazing story. The same Spirit that powerfully worked in the book of Acts is still at work today. The extension of the gospel message—that Jesus is the long-promised King and the much-needed Savior—did not conclude with Paul in Rome, nor when it arrived at your doorstep. God is still telling it, and His people are still called to share it, unhindered. Whether you give your life to doing that as a missionary overseas or you seek each day to make Christ known among your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors, God wants you to be involved in the greatest story of the ages, which will be told throughout eternity. What would you rather spend your life doing than writing a line in this great, unfinished story?
The Reign of the Lord's Anointed
1Why do the nations rage1
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
4He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
7I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9You shall break2 them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
10Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
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