Dear Theophilus, on the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day He said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to Heaven.
Acts 1.1 THE MESSAGE
Theophilus was friend of God. That could be his real name (not an uncommon name in those days) or it could be a generic name to designate “disciple” or follower, a friend of Jesus.
Either way, this is the second volume of correspondence this fried of Jesus gets from Luke, himself a disciple, follower and friend of Jesus. We know from other places in Scripture that Luke was neither Jew not a fisherman like several other disciples. Luke was a physician.
He starts this amazing second volume of his report of Jesus’life by recapturing in a nutshell what was the “core” of the first volume, also known as the “message” of Luke or the “gospel” of Luke – “everything that Jesus began to do and teach”. Now there are two important ideas in this little phrase. The first is that He considered his full and very detailed report on the life of Jesus, from his birth to his death, resurrection and ascention – amazing as that was – as just the “beginning” – Jesus never intended that what He was doing and teaching would stop when He was taken away from them. Actually this second volume, called the Acts of the Apostles, was but a continuation of the “things Jesus did and the things Jesus taught”. The second thing, just as important, is that Jesus not only DID things, He also TAUGHT. We tend to fight as friends of Jesus and unfriend everybody else concerning our experience of Jesus over our understanding of Him. That tension is not seen in the life of Jesus. He did things and He took every opportunity to explain why He did them. His deeds were a manifest-ation of His being and His teaching an explanation of His unique relationship with His Father. A friend of God enjoys what He does and sits under His teaching.
Father, thank you that I am also called to be a “theophilus”, a friend of God, a disciple, a follower. Thank you that other friends and disciples who came before me, took the time to preserve a record of Jesus – what He did, what He taught. I am blessed by these reports. Amen.