The Advent Part 3
Acts 1:1-3, “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do an teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He trough the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
The majority of the books that make up the New Testament are addressed to someone. Either they are addressed to a believer, such as Timothy, Titus, Philemon, or the well beloved Gaius, or to a body of believers such as the church at Rome, the church at Corinth, the Church at Ephesus, the church at Galatia, or the church at Philippi. The book of Acts is no different, as its writer, Luke, addresses it to a man by the name of Theophilus.
As to whom this Theophilus was, I fear it will remain a mystery at least in so long as we are tethered to these mortal coils. Some brazen theologians have said that Luke was not referring to a person, but rather Theophilus is a fictitious name which encompasses all believers who truly love God, since Theophilus in the Greek means ‘lover of God.’ Although it sounds good, and even plausible, there really is no foundation for this hypothesis, and as such I am of the firm belief that Luke was writing to a man, to an individual, the selfsame individual who funded his exploration of the person known as Jesus Christ, to discover whether or not He was authentic, or another pretender and huckster.
In his first book, the gospel according to Luke, at the very beginning, in fact within the third verse of the first chapter, Luke makes reference to this selfsame individual, this Theophilus, calling him ‘most excellent.’
Luke 1:1-4, “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which are most surely believed among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”
Whoever this Theophilus was, we know that he was a man of power and authority, since the title of ‘most excellent’ was reserved for the ruling class of the time, such as the most excellent governor Felix, to whom Claudius Lysias wrote a letter concerning Paul the Apostle. This was no average citizen, this was no peasant; he was a man of considerable influence, wealthy enough to finance Luke’s investigation of Christ for as long as it took.
From what we can ascertain from the writings of Luke, Theophilus was also a believer. He had come to believe in Jesus, and he had hired Luke to go and investigate and see if he had been duped, if somehow he’d been conned or taken by a well-orchestrated scheme, or if Jesus was everything it was said that He was. Luke’s conclusions concerning the Christ, are self-evident, in both his gospel, as well as in the book of Acts, confirming to Theophilus that not only was Jesus everything they had heard that He was, but much, much more. Indeed He was the Messiah that they had been waiting for, indeed He was the Son of God come to redeem mankind, indeed the grave could not hold Him, nor could death claim Him. It was all true, there was no shadow of doubt, there was no inconsistency, and the witnesses as well as Luke’s firsthand account of what he saw had proven these truths out.
As a continuation to his first letter to Theophilus, Luke reminds the man that in his previous letter he had written concerning Jesus, and in the current letter he was about to pen he would likewise continue in the same vein, namely Jesus. Theophilus had already been informed of all that Jesus began to do and teach, and by now his faith had been solidified, and he knew the certainty of those things in which he was instructed.
Now it was time to write another chapter, to pen another letter, and inform Theophilus what the followers of Christ were doing now that He had ascended to heaven, encouraging the man that although Christ had gone, He had not left them orphans, He had not left them to wander in the darkness, but after presenting Himself alive, He had been seen by them for forty days, then told to wait with the expectation of receiving something more.
The life and work of Jesus does not end with the cross and with the grave. This was just the first chapter, and it continued after His resurrection and especially after His ascension.
Now the Word tells us something remarkable that most people have a tendency to overlook or dismiss. Luke tells us that Jesus did and taught until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen.
In the gospel according to Matthew however, it tells us that it was Jesus who spoke to His disciples and instructed them.
Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen”
So which was it? Was Jesus speaking through the Holy Spirit, or did he speak to His disciples? Actually it was both, because just as Christ and the Father are one, Christ and the Holy Spirit are likewise one. There is no inconsistency here as some would try to claim, and the only reason they would claim such a thing is due to their ignorance concerning the triune God, and the relationship between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.