Luke 24:44-48, Acts 1:4b-5, 9-11
   While most scholars agree that Luke and Acts are two volumes of the same book, the early church wanted the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) to be read together so John was inserted between Luke and Acts.  When woven together, Acts 1:3-8, Luke 24:44-50, Acts 1:9-11, and Luke 24:52-53 can be read together as the story of the ascension (note Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9 describe the same event).  That said, there are distinction to be noted between Luke and Acts.  While Luke focuses on the life of Jesus Christ, the Book of Acts focuses on the life of the Holy Spirit who formed and sustained the church.   In Luke, the emphasis is on how Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Testament.  In Luke's Gospel, Jesus "opened their minds to understand the scriptures" three times as a way emphasize that the entire faith tradition is fulfilled in Jesus.  Acts will then emphasis the power of the Holy Spirit which enables the disciples to "open the minds" of those to whom they proclaim the Good News.  Without the Spirit, it is impossible to witness.  The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost only comes after the Ascension of the Resurrected Jesus which is recorded in today's reading.  By emphasizing that Jesus was with them for "forty days", Acts not only places the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost but also provides a chronological distance from the Resurrection event.  This distance provides a distinct break between the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts as stand alone books.

 

    Luke 24:47 "that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name"
       What do we repent from?  Sin or our will?
       If sin is choosing gratification over following God, do we need to repent?
       Can we call others to repent if we humbled by our own repentance?
       What does forgiveness look like to you?
       Do we too often accept forgiveness from God while judging others?