The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,…
Concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach. This opening sentence of the Acts, full of significance, as pointing at once to the past years of Christ's earthly ministry and to the future work of his people, in his Name and by his power, and connecting them together. He himself is the Alpha of the kingdom, and he is the Omega. His doing and his teaching really one; in matter and in manner, Divine; the standard for apostles and all others; the Acts of the Apostles a continuation of the acts of their Master. He only began to do and to teach in his ministry; he went on to manifest himself by the Spirit, according to his promise, "He [the Father] shall give you another Comforter [Helper], that he may be with you for ever" (John 14:16). Consider, then -
I. THE PRE-EMINENCE OF JESUS. A spiritual pre-eminence. The short period of his life and ministry; yet containing deeds and words which have created the world afresh. Not the bare history of miracles, or record of religious discourses, but the manifestation to the world of the Divine Spirit through a human history, character, and speech.
II. A PRE-EMINENCE ACKNOWLEDGED IN HEAVEN. "The day when he was received be the consummation of the gospel story; the "doing and up" is distinctly declared to teaching" were not only before men, but before God, on behalf of men. Hence the distinction between Christ's ministry and that of all merely human doers an teachers; God accepts the pre-eminence, is well-pleased in his testimony - a testimony which was wrought out both in active efforts and patient suffering. His pre-eminence is prophetic, priestly, kingly. The necessity, especially in our times, of following Christ is thought to the right hand of God. He is not merely the highest of the philanthropists and the wisest of the sages. He is the Heir of all things, "received up" to heaven, pre-eminence that "in all things he might have the pre-eminence."
III. THE PRE-EMIENCE OF JESUS IS GRACIOUS. His own ministry is followed by the ministry of his apostles. The Acts only the first volume of an endless record of gracious ministration, of which Jesus is the Source and his people the instruments. Hence the value of the Acts. It helps us to see what a Christ-like ministry is; how it overcomes the world, how it reveals the Spirit. Yet compare the Acts and the Gospels, and we are taught how much the servants fall below their Lord. Instances of infirmity and sin in apostles. Encouragement in the great lesson, our life linked on to Christ's. "Acts a continuation. Keep close to the doing and teaching of Jesus, in its essential features and ruling spirit. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,