It’s taken us a little while to work through Acts, hasn’t it? We began ten months ago and have paused for Christmas, Easter, topical series’, but all in all this is the 133rd post in Acts: Day by Day. When we hit publish for the ebook and paperback there will be hundreds of pages to it. It’s been a great journey.
The book of Acts as we know it has a pretty abrupt ending, doesn’t it? We don’t find out what happened to Paul, we don’t know how so many things conclude. Why is that?
Patrick Shreiner writes that
This abrupt but victorious ending compels readers to ask about their own role in this narrative. Acts offers a word of encouragement. Yet, encouragement for what? The last two sentences indicate it is an encouragement to press on in the mission. The triune God is doing a work in the world that the powers of darkness marvel at, and the world will both oppose and be astonished at it. Though there will be setbacks, though all might seem dark, though it might seem as if God’s people are always in the valley, a light shines through the gloom. God’s purposes will not be stopped. They will not be stopped because God has pledged himself to this work. He has put his name behind it.
I also love what David Guzik wrote:
There is no end to the story, because the history of the church continues this story on and on through the centuries. Trusting in Jesus, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of the Father, the word of God will continue to spread without hindrance and continue to change lives for the glory of God. The Book of Acts really is a never-ending story.
Rather than focus on the abrupt ending to Acts and spend our time wondering how or why things ended like this we would be better, as Shreiner and Guzik both write, to focus on the truth that whilst Acts served a particular purpose in a particular place at a particular time (many think it was written as a defence brief for Paul before Caesar) it also sets out a pattern for the modern-day believer.
As frustrating as it might be for you and for me to not know how everything ended in a neat and tidy conclusion, it’s worth it. The narrative draws us in, as Shreiner writes, and forces us to question if we are still working within the same patterns and principles we see in Acts. It forces us to see that no matter how much information we have to hand at any given time, God’s plan for His people and His church always prevail. It forces us, at the same time, to both live our lives day by day but also trust that, ultimately, it is the Lord that directs our steps for His glory and for our story.
I hope you have enjoyed working through Acts: Day by Day with us!
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