Aug 22, 2009

Acts and the Mission to the World

Emphasis on the mission to the world in Acts does not begin in Acts 1:8. Hints of the universal spread of the gospel are found already in the Gospel of Luke. Brian Rosner has noted the following six hints to the universal gospel in Luke’s narrative.

(1) The prophecy of Simon in 2:32, a quotation of Isaiah 42:6 (cf., Acts 13:47), which indicates that salvation is in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles.
(2) John the Baptist’s ministry to Roman soldiers in 2:1; 3:1,14.
(3) Jesus’ reading of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth and his commendation of the Gentiles in Luke 4:16-30 . . .
(4) The portrayal of Jesus as the ‘Friend of tax collectors and sinners’ (7:34), those on the edge of Jewish society (cf.,esp. 5:27-39; 19:5-7).
(5) The prominence of women in Jesus’ ministry, from Elizabeth and Mary, through Mary and Martha, to the women witnesses of the resurrection
(6) The response of Samaritans to Jesus which forms a focus of interest of Luke (9:51-56; 10:25-37; cf., Acts 8:4-24), more so than for the other Gospels.

Brian J. Rosner, “The Progress of the Word,” in Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts, ed. I. Howard Marshall and David Peterson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 220.

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