This week we are finishing up the book of John (closing out our Gospel experience) and moving into the book of Acts, learning about the spread of the Gospel and the early Christian church.
No reflection on the Gospel of John would be complete without time and attention spent on these final words: "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But THESE are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31). It is in these words that John finally explains the rationale behind what is included and not included within his Gospel.
Acts or Acts of the Apostles, is the second of Luke's major writings, showing how the disciples spread the goods news of the Gospel after Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension back to heaven. The key verse for this book is Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is to come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." These verses set the tone for all of the action in the book. The first major segment is chapters 1-7 where the action centers around the Jews in Jerusalem and Peter is the main figure. The timeline here is about 2 years from Pentecost through the stoning of Stephen. The second major segment is chapters 8-12 and they show the spread of the Gospel out from Jerusalem into the regions of Judea and Samaria. Here the central figure is Philip and his main audience the Samaritans. The timeline here is 13 years from Stephen's stoning to Paul's missionary journeys.
Here is the schedule:
19, Sunday: John 5-8
20, Monday: John 9-12
21, Tuesday: John 13-16
22, Wednesday: John 17-20
23, Thursday: John 21 - Acts 3
24, Friday: Acts 4-7
25, Saturday: Acts 8-11
May God add his richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of His Holy Word. Amen.