Here’s how I’d like you to think of the Book of Acts: as if it were written yesterday, and by that I mean yesterday, October 22, 2017. Read it not only as if it were written yesterday, but as if it were still being written today. It’s being written every day by you and by me. (That’s why we call it Acts, chapter 2017). Think of it, in other words, more like a newspaper than a book in the Bible.
We have a tendency to think of the Bible as an ancient book, and the stories and narratives in it are buried in another day and another age. We, therefore, don’t tend to think of any of these things we read about as being relevant to today. That’s because the further back we bury these accounts, the less they have to do with our lives today. But this is a bad idea, especially in relation to the Book of Acts.
Acts was written at the beginning of this current age — the age of the church, or the body of Christ. It sits at the fulcrum of human history. The Old Testament covers the time from the beginning up until the birth of the promised Messiah. The New Testament covers the time from the life of Christ until today, and that is all the current age, beginning with Acts. Even our calendar is based on B.C. and A.D.. The New Testament dates are all A.D. dates.
The early generations in the Old Testament looked forward to the coming Messiah who would set everything right. They saw His coming, especially in the years immediately prior, as a political event and missed much of the suffering and sacrifice the Messiah would go through to save not just the Jews, but the whole idea of a human race. Jesus came to save the earth and its people. He came to resurrect the human experiment — to restore order and bring in His kingdom — not a political kingdom but a spiritual one of which there will be no end. And everything since His coming, starting with the Book of Acts, can be considered the current age.
The bottom line in all this is to realize that there is nothing that happens in the Book of Acts that cannot happen today. These are today’s stories — today’s headlines. They show us what you and I are capable of doing through the Holy Spirit. So read it and study it as a current event. As we’ve said before, it’s the same Holy Spirit and the same church we are born again into when we believe.
Besides, if we get God’s perspective on time — “A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8) — then it has only been two days since Jesus was here! So the events in Acts really did only happen “yesterday” … well, okay, the day before “yesterday.”
You and I are writing history. We are writing the history of belief. And believing means acting on what you believe. We are making current news. What will your headlines read today? What will mine?