THE PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE BOOK OF ACTS.

By @Ruddy Carrera.

Foundations for the Church and its mission (1: 1-2: 41). Luke begins by making it clear that the foundation of the Church and its mission lies in the deeds and words of Jesus. The risen Jesus is the one who prepares the apostles for the arrival of the Spirit (1: 4-5), and he also gives them the mission to go to the whole world (1: 8). Therefore, Luke’s second account of the ascension of Jesus (1: 9-11; cf., also Lk.24: 50-51), which is the point of union between the Gospel and Acts, puts an end to it to the ministry of Jesus on earth. Next, Luke describes the election of Matthias to replace Judas (1: 12-26), the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (2: 1-13), and the first missionary sermon (2: 14-41).

The foundation of the Church and its mission lies in the deeds and words of Jesus.

The church in Jerusalem (2: 42-6: 7). Luke begins this section with a summary of the characteristics of the Early Church in Jerusalem (2: 42-47). Next, pick up the episode in which Peter heals a lame at the door of the temple (3: 1-10). His other missionary sermon (3: 13-26). The Sanhedrin opposes this message, but they preach (4: 1-22). The church follows his example of preaching (4: 23-3). But even in these glorious moments, not everything is perfect. The lie of Ananias and Sapphira (4: 32-37; 5: 1-11). The popular ministry of preaching and healing of the apostles (5: 12-16) again wins the opposition of the Jewish leaders. But Gamaliel, an important rabbi, advises that they be released (5: 17-42). In order to give themselves fully to the preaching of the Word, the apostles choose seven men to organize the distribution of food in the community (6: 1-6).

Broader horizons for the church: Stephen, Samaria and Saul (6: 8-9: 31). Up to this moment, the first believers of whom Luke speaks to us are Jews. The stories in this new section show us that the boundaries of the Church are going to extend beyond traditional Judaism. Esteban is a key character. This charismatic figure, who attracted many, was accused of speaking falsely against the temple and against the law (6: 8-15). When he was brought before the Sanhedrin, Stephen goes through the history of Israel to suggest that the revelation of God is not confined to one place, and to accuse the Sanhedrin of resisting the Holy Spirit (7: 1-53), to pronounce such defiant words have a consequence: Stephen is condemned to death by stoning (7: 54-60).

Stoning of Stephen, by Rembrandt, 1625.

Conclude with the story of the miraculous escape of Peter of Prison (12: 1-19). And the death of Herod Agrippa I (12: 20-24). Peter and the first Gentile convert (9: 32-12: 24). This section focuses on Peter, and especially on Peter’s role in opening the way for the Gentiles. Peter performs miracles in Lydia and Joppa, village towns northwest of Jerusalem (9: 32-43). Next, God uses it so that Cornelius, a Roman centurion, becomes part of the Church. Through visions and the direct command of the Holy Spirit, God causes Cornelius and Peter to meet (10: 1-48). It is significant that Luke speaks here of the Church of Antioquia, where the mixture of Jews and Gentiles makes it necessary to look for another name for the followers of Jesus: Christians (11: 19-30).

And they gathered there a whole year with the church, and they taught many people; and the disciples were called Christians for the first time in Antioch (Acts 11:26, KJV).

Paul turns to the Gentiles (12: 25-16: 5). Now Luke stops focusing on Peter, and from now on Paul will be the main character. For Luke, Paul is very important because he is the one chosen by God to take the gospel to the Gentiles, take the gospel to the ends of the earth, and show that the gospel is not a direct threat to the Roman government. The Antioquia church sends Paul, Bernabas, and Jhon Marck on their first missionary trip (12: 25-13: 3). First they go to the native land of Barnabas. Cyprus, where he becomes a Roman proconsul (13: 4-12). Then to  Prisidian Anthioch, where Paul preaches in the Synagogue (13: 13-4a3). The Jews persecute them and they are forced to go elsewhere. (13: 44-52).

Hugh Jackman starred Paul the Apostle in the Warner Bros. studios

Paul will be the main character. For Luke, Paul is very important because he is the one chosen by God to bring the gospel to the Gentiles

They travel to Iconium (14: 1-7), to Lystra (4: -20) and to Derbe and establish new churches (14: 21-28). They return to Antioch, and then travel to Jerusalem and participate in the first council (15: 1-29). Paul and Bernabas return to Anthioch, and plan a second missionary trip (15: 3041; 16: 1-4).

Entering the Gentile world (16: 6-19: 20). The Spirit of God guided Paul step by step to bring the gospel to Macedonia (16: 6-10), we will realize that the account of Acts reaches a decisive moment. (This is also the beginning of the first passage with the subject in the plural (v.10) .The first stop is Philippi, a Roman colony in Macedonia, where they are imprisoned.God does a miracle so they can get out of prison. Silas go to Thessalonica, but the persecution forces them to escape at night to the small city of Berea (17: 1-9), but the persecution also reached that place, so Paul was taken to Athens (17: 10-15). ).

To Rome (19: 21-28: 31). Luke makes this point about Paul and his determination to go to Rome (19: 21-22). From this moment, although Paul still has to go through various adventures, that is the destiny that Luke has in mind. The apostle does not march from Ephesus until there are serious disturbances that force him to leave (19: 23-41). He revisits the church in Macedonia and Greece and decides to return to Judeas along the same road (20: 1-6). He stops at Troas to preach, and at Miletus to meet the cornflowers of the Church of Ephesus (20: 7-38). He then arrives in Jerusalem where he is arrested (21: 1-6; 22). He defends himself before the Sanhedrin (22: 30-23: 10) He is threatened with death and defends himself before Felix 23: 11-16; 24:27) and then to appeal to Caesar 25: 1-13; 26:32 and is sent to Rome 27: 1-28: 10; 28: 11-31).

And so ends Luke the story about the spread of the gospel.