In a Nutshell
The first twelve chapters of the Book of Acts describes the way
in which the message of Jesus started from Jerusalem until, due to changing
circumstances, there were two major centres of Christian activity, concerned
with the work of broadcasting the good news.
Let's pause and review the actions and decisions of the
apostles which Luke has documented thus far in The Acts of the Apostles.
1. They obeyed Jesus'
command, reinforced by the two messengers, to wait prayerfully in Jerusalem for
the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
2. While waiting they appointed Matthias as replacement for Judas.
3. They announced Divine amnesty to all Jews involved in the death
of Jesus who repented, believed and accepted Divine mercy.
4. They claimed that Jesus had been the One foretold by the promise
to Abraham, by Moses and by David.
5. They decided not to keep quiet about what God had done for them.
6. They led a community of believers, were superintendents of a
Jerusalem synagogue that accepted Jesus as Messiah.
7. They uncovered duplicity.
8. They kept teaching in the face of Sanhedrin guile.
9. They decided that the congregation of believers should appoint 7
deacons to manage the food distribution.
10 They remained in Jerusalem - in a somewhat protected position -
when persecution following Stephen's execution broke out.
11 They sent Peter to give apostolic authorisation to Philip's work.
12 They united believers in Galilee, Samaria and Judea by visiting
Samaritan towns, preaching the gospels and encouraging those who believed.
13 They acknowledged Saul's conversion
14 They sent Peter to Lydda and Joppa and he went to Caesarea as
well where he was directed by God's Spirit to assure Gentile believers that
they were accepted by God and the brethren without reservation.
15 They accepted that the gospel had been received by Gentiles; they
accepted Peter's actions as endorsed by the Almighty. They supported the work
at Antioch and the mission work of Saul and Barnabas.
16 They received famine relief from the vigorous Gentile church in
In this account, Luke is silent about most of the apostles.
That does not mean that these servants of Jesus were inactive. Their task was
to pray and teach. Luke's account assumes they did this. The view that it is important
people to get one's name in print is at odds with what Jesus taught and it actually
misrepresents the way human communities run. From this time another disciple
named James, Jesus' brother, of whom we have not heard much at all, began to
take his place among believers in Jerusalem. Also we have heard of another,
Saul, who would become a famous apostle. And he had not been one of the