The author of Acts introduces the narrative by pointing back to his first volume: ‘In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach’ (Acts 1:1). Acts, in contrast, tells us some of what Jesus continued to do and teach through His disciples. This present participle is vital, because the tacit assumption is that the ministry of the disciples, in the power of the Spirit, is a continuation of the ministry of Jesus. And His ministry continues today through us, as we are work in collaboration with the Spirit.
Jesus’ ongoing ministry plays out with a different modus operandi: no longer will Jesus physically do the doing and teaching directly – now He calls His followers to step up and take on the responsibility themselves. It is they – it is us – that now have to carry on doing and teaching. This is one reason why the metaphor of the church as the Body of Christ is so very apt. Theresa of Avila expressed it this way:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
This is such a simple, but also deeply profound, point. It is worth emphasising again: it is all about Jesus.
Our work for world evangelisation – all the doing and teaching we are called to do – is and can never be ours. To be truly valid it must be His. Whatever we teach and do has to have Christ at the centre: anything that detracts from this ‘Christological imperative,’ from Jesus, is a form of idolatry (consider how strongly idolatry is condemned in the Old and New Testaments!) Jesus is mentioned or referred to 25 times in just the first chapter of Acts. He is the focus of every sermon. He is centre, the beginning and the end.
It is all about Jesus.
The views expressed in this blog post are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the GC network.