The Continued Work of The Christ
“All that Jesus began to do and teach” He continues to do and teach today.
In Acts 1:1 the words “all that Jesus began to do and teach” are in the linear action. It is action still going on. The verb “began” is present infinitive, linear action. It is as if to say that Jesus is still carrying on from heaven the work and teachings which He started while on earth before His ascension.
Luke does not say “all that Jesus did and taught,” but “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” The Gospel of Luke tells us what Jesus began to do and teach, while Acts of the Apostles tells what He continues to do and teach by His Spirit through His special Body.
In Volume 1 of the Life and Acts of Jesus Christ, Dr. Luke tells the story of the beginnings of what Jesus began to do and teach. In his Gospel, Luke gave “the first account I composed, Theophilis, about all that Jesus began to do and teach.” What was it Jesus began to do and teach?
In Luke 4:16-21 Jesus stood in the synagogue at Nazareth and read Himself into His divine office.
15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a]
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
(Or)Then Jesus closed the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, sat down, and with the eyes of all the synagogue fixed upon Him said to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (vv. 20-21).
What He did was read to the middle of a sentence, and then stopped! This was highly irregular. Why, they wondered, did he stop reading there?…
…(Because, all the men in the synagogue read Torah since age 8 and knew these scriptures well. Therefore, they began to question, ‘Who does he imagine himself to be? Isn’t he the carpenter, the son of Joseph the carpenter? He’s just a hard working man like the rest of us. How does he dare to say the Lord has appointed HIM???)
Those verses tell us what Jesus began to do leading up to His atoning death for our sins on the cross. What Jesus taught is summarized beautifully in Luke 24:25-27 as He reminded the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Luke 24:25-27 New International Version (NIV)
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
In the opening words of his second volume, Acts of the Apostles, Luke tell us what Jesus is still carrying on from heaven. He is still working and teaching, doing the same thing He started while on earth before His ascension. In volume two Luke tells us all that Jesus continues to do and teach after His ascension through His present spiritual Body here on the earth (2 Cor. 5:14-15, 18, 21).
2 Corinthians 5:14-21New International Version (NIV)
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
What does Jesus continue both to do and teach through His present body on the earth?
Every born again believer is a member of the special Body, The Church, with specific spiritual gifts that are needed by His Church Body, his family, his people! God places every member in a local church to accomplish His redemptive purposes through that church. He saved you by grace and put you in a local Bible believing church to accomplish His will on this earth (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:11-13; 1 Cor. 12:12ff, 27; Rom. 12:5, 6).
You were given at least one spiritual gift for a purpose when God saved you. If you are not exercising your gift not only do you fail to fulfill your mission, but also the Body of Christ does not function to its fullest potential.
The Body of Christ has authority to continue to do and see to completion all that Jesus began to do and teach (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
The risen Lord is the head of the church. He is continuing to do in and through you and me all that He began to do and teach. He has given us all the authority and power we need to accomplish His will. We are a specially equipped group with power and authority to continue to do what Jesus began to do and teach. Will you say to Him, “Lord, whatever You direct me to do in relation to your Body, I will do. I am your servant for your purposes?”
When God gives you a divine assignment to accomplish His will, and purpose, you must depend upon Him alone to accomplish it. Because it is His work, not yours. Since it is a God-sized task you must depend on God alone.
Who is continuing to work? Christ does not ask you to do His work in your abilities, gifts, likes and dislikes. We must make ourselves totally available to Him and depend upon Him to do His work. This is what I mean by following God’s Way. It is to keep the law and study the words of prophecy, to pray continually, to do your best to avoid sinful thought and behavior and pray for health and strength to do so, and it is to make yourself, as the subject of Our King, available to do his bidding.
We are building a foundation for the world to come when Jesus returns, which we can see is very soon.
Will you help write these finally momentous chapters concerning the Life and Acts of Jesus Christ?
IS God at work in your life? Doing what? Is it enough? Can you do more?
What is He doing and teaching through you to accomplish His eternal purposes?
Your future and the future of perhaps thousands of others depends upon your answers and your willingness to seek after God’s will for you and then get busy doing it.
Source for my notes: http://www.abideinchrist.com/