The Christian church, according to Acts, is a missionary church that responds obediently to Jesus’ commission, acts on Jesus’ behalf in the extension of his ministry, focuses its proclamation of the kingdom of God in its witness to Jesus, is guided and empowered by the self-same Spirit that directed and supported Jesus’ ministry, and follows a program whose guidelines for outreach have been set by Jesus himself.” Richard Longenecker, Acts

What I love about the way Longenecker summarizes Luke’s portrait of the early church is his ability to truly capture a number of Luke’s larger concerns in Acts: ie how the ascended Jesus carries on his Kingdom labors by His Spirit sending out his people, particularly his apostles, with the deeds and words of the good news.

One of the non-negotiable’s of the early follower’s of Christ as a community was their missional identity as a community on the go. One who’s direction and content is formed out of obedience to Jesus’ commission. Their ministry and their proclamation being about Jesus was guided by the Spirit he sent. You leave Luke’s first two chapters with a sense of awe and wonder at the way Jesus as God’s Messiah carries on the work of Messiah to restore all things to His Father. You leave with the assurity that just as he left, so he will return and the ‘great day of salvation’ pictures in Daniel and other places in the prophets of a day of final judgment and setting to wrights will occur.

Juxtaposed to the humble beginnings and composition of these early follower’s is the majestic character of their mission, their Spirit-filled power, and their Lord. You could say that the great commission began in the humble praises of a few hundred gathered together in an upper room, but will end with the whole world joining in praise and affirmation that Jesus alone is the King of all Kings.

(Photographic art by Optick, piece entitled “go, stop“)