Introduction to the Acts

Introduction to the Acts

This is the first in a series in which we examine this fascinating Bible book. Each article in the series will be printed over the centre pages—you might like to pull them out and keep them together. THE ACTS of the Apostles is the book in the New Testament which tells us what the followers of Jesus did for the next three decades after he was raised from the dead. During this period the Christian community grew from a small group of disciples in Jerusalem to a worldwide movement with congregations in Africa, Asia and Europe. The Mission of the Apostles The small group of Jesus’ closest disciples were called ‘apostles’. After Jesus was raised from the dead there was a period of 40 days in which he taught the apostles and other disciples. At the end of this period he ascended to heaven before their eyes. Shortly before his

Frank’s Story

Frank’s Story

Frank was a highly qualified accountant. He was on his way to start a new job, in Eastern Europe far from home. He sat in the corner of the train carriage well out of the way. He was aware that people were looking at him, and sometimes looks developed into uncomfortable stares. It was unusual to see a black African travelling on a train in that country. Frank settled into the warmth of his corner seat and nodded sleepily as the train clattered along with its steady rhythmic beat. Suddenly two burly men appeared out of nowhere, grabbed him by his coat and in what seemed like one swift movement pulled him out of his seat, feet not touching the ground, and propelled him to the carriage door. The next thing he was aware of was that he was being hurled out of the moving train, tumbling into the darkness.

Esther

Esther

THE PERSIAN EMPIRE spread over much of the civilised world and consisted of 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1). Following the destruction of the kingdom of Judah a hundred years earlier many Jews were still scattered throughout the Empire (Esther 4:3; 8:9, 17). The Persian king Ahasuerus in the book of Esther is generally thought to be Xerxes (485–464 BC). An attempt to annihilate the Jews was thwarted by God, Who has an ongoing purpose with this nation. The Conquest of the Enemy There are three main sections: 1.   King Ahasuerus rejected Queen Vashti and chose a new queen, whom he named Esther. She was Jewish and had been brought up by Mordecai, her cousin. Haman was a wicked Amalekite, of a tribe long opposed to Israel and to God (see Exodus 17:8–16; Numbers 24:20). He was jealous of Mordecai and planned to destroy him and all Jews

Arrows

Arrows

TOWARDS the end of his life Elisha completed a task originally given to Elijah. When he was at Horeb, the mountain of God, Elijah had been told to do three things: Then the LORD said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place” (1 Kings 19:15–16). The only one of those tasks that Elijah actually completed was to anoint Elisha. Now his successor was to arrange for one of the other tasks to be performed, but not in person. He commissioned one of the Sons of the Prophets: Anointing of Jehu Get yourself ready, take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth