In the second part (6:8–9:31), the church breaks through a geographic barrier. Driven by persecution, it moves from Jerusalem into the rest of Palestine.

The gospel pushes through an ethnic stronghold in the third part (9:31–12:24). Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) come to believe in Jesus. A strong Gentile church is established in Antioch, and the members of the community receive a new name, reflecting their new, multi-ethnic identity: “Christians” (26:28; compare 1 Pet 4:16). Followers of Jesus were also known as those who followed “the Way” (24:22; compare John 14:5–7).

A second geographic barrier is breached in the fourth part of the book (12:25–16:5) as the Antioch church sends messengers beyond the eastern shores of the Mediterranean (13:1–2). But it doesn’t end there. In the fifth part of the book (16:6–19:20), in response to a vision from God, the messengers enter Europe (16:9–10). And then the church breaks through the final geographic wall by extending its witness “to the end of the earth,” symbolized by Paul’s arrival in Rome (Acts 28:11-30) in the sixth part of the book (19:21–28:31). A class division is also crushed as the good news about Jesus is proclaimed to kings and others in authority (Acts 28:17-19).

Thus the overarching movement that unites Luke-Acts is completed. The journey to Jerusalem brings a Savior to the world. The journey from Jerusalem brings the world to the Savior.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Each issue of Bible Study Magazine provides tools and methods for Bible study as well as insights from people like John Piper, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Kay Arthur, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Barry Black, and more. More information is available at http://www.biblestudymagazine.com. Originally published in print: Copyright Bible Study Magazine (Mar–Apr 2010): pg. 26–27.

Publication date: October 23, 2012