Jesus Only Began!
Certainly, O Theophilus, I composed the first discourse about everything that Jesus began to do and to teach, instructing the Apostles, whom he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, even until the day on which he was taken up. (Acts 1:1-2, Catholic Public Domain Version)
We note the the wonderful observation by the great Scottish Bible teacher William Barclay regarding the first verse of the book of Acts: Jesus began!
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: (Acts 1:1-2, KJV)
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up [to heaven,] after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. (Acts 1:1-2, NASB)
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. (Acts 1:1-2, ESV)
Observe that Luke does not say “I have given you Theo an account of all that Jesus did.”
In his three year ministry, Jesus only began to do things!!!
We don’t know about you, but this little nuance of Christian doctrine makes us at Bible Bits swell up inside.
Verse two goes on to add something very important:
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: (KJV)
The Holy Ghost. Which these days we refer to as the Holy Spirit. Luke alludes to Jesus’ somewhat cryptic announcement — recorded most clearly in fellow gospel-writer John’s account — regarding some sort of coming paraclete: an assistant, or helper, or fortifier, or advocate, or attorney, or body guard, or some such curious thing:
John 14:16, King James: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (KJV)
John 14:16, NASB: I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; (NASB)
John Wycliffe, ca. 1390: And I shall pray the Father, and he shall give to you another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, to dwell with you [into] without end (to remain with you forever);
Morphological Greek NT: κἀγὼ ἐρωτήσω τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἄλλον παράκλητον (paraklētos) δώσει ὑμῖν ἵνα μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ᾖ
By the way, in John Wycliffe’s late 14th century English translation, he translates παράκλητον (paraklētos) as English Comforter. The meaning of this “comforter” word have changed somewhat since the 1390 Wycliffe Bible and 1611 King James. But that is a subject for some future, fortifying Bible Bit.
Luke does not echo John’s use of the Greek παράκλητον / paraklētos, but does allude to Jesus’ announcement of the assistant / helper / comforter / fortifier / advocate / attorney / body guard at the end of his first account, quoting the risen Jesus appearing to the team following his death:
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49, NASB)
And Luke writing of the same event, at the beginning of his second account:
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” [He said,] “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5, NASB)
And so, fellow Christians, it seems to us here at Bible Bits that we may be missing this message from Luke’s subtle use of “Jesus began” and overlook the presence of this paraclete, this Holy Spirit, this so-called 3rd person of the Holy Trinity, this presence of Jesus himself, present and inside and alongside our persons for the fortification which can only be provided by God.
Sure enough, we learn to be good Christians by reading God’s word and studying the three-year life of Christ plus the commentary provided by Paul and others in the letters. But our lessons from Christ and our Christ-inspired behaviors do not rest solely on what we learned from those three years from start to finish. These three years are only the beginning! Christ sent the fortifying Holy Spirit to you and to us at Bible Bits to continue his empowering presence and work. Amen!
We at Bible Bits are negligent, as we frequently fail to call on our attorney — yes, this is a legitimate role of the Holy Spirit, in legal, judicial, court room matters of Godliness arising with our adversary Satan — and comforting fortifier in the person of the Holy Spirit.
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If you choose to respond to our post, please include scripture passages and cite good commentary sources.
God’s blessings to you! And be sure to read the actual Bible for yourself! 🙂