Introduction to Acts
In my former book, The options, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
With this prologue, the action begins in this historical work that chronicles the early church for roughly its first 30 years of existence. This then is the story of how 11 young and dazed men became 12 Apostles who challenged the existing order both in Judea and throughout the known world of their time and overthrew the whole order of things, based on the teachings of a relatively obscure Jewish carpenter/teacher, a work that still has a massive impact on the world of today. Oh yes, this is nothing if not an unlikely story, in fact in human terms it is essentially an impossible story, yet these young men had something within them that was the quintessential game-changer, for they quickly became the very embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The author of this account did not identify himself in his writings, but we know who he was because of another New Testament book that he wrote, one that bears his name. Actually the prologue to that book provides us an interesting parallel to the one found in Acts:
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.