The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Two facts here mark it off from every other.
I. IT WAS ORIGINAL.
1. His works were original — done in His own strength. The best deeds of the holiest men are done in the strength of heaven.
2. His teaching was original, not derived from others. He was "the Truth." His doctrines emanated from Him as living streams from a fountain of life.
3. His life was original. Such a life was never lived before; so blending the weak with the strong, the fleeting with the eternal, the human with the Divine. His whole life was a new fountain in earth's desert, a new light in earth's darkness.
4. His ministry was initiatory. Luke's Gospel was the commencement of a life here developed. Christ, absent corporeally, is with us always by His Spirit.
II. IT WAS POSTHUMOUS. Christ did not leave the world before He had made effective arrangements for the working out of His grand purpose. What He did He did through the Divine Spirit. It was in this might that He rose and continued for forty days. The ministry after the Passion was —
1. An undoubted reality (ver. 3).
(1) His appearances were themselves infallible proofs. Nothing is better attested. They took place at ten different times, and before single disciples and hundreds, and in a veritable corporiety who could be touched, and could eat and drink.
(2) The witnesses of these appearances were indisposed to belief in the resurrection (John 20:9; Luke 24:11; see also the case of Thomas). Yet in spite of this they were thoroughly convinced. They proclaimed it publicly and before the very Sanhedrim.
2. Confined to the disciples. Before His death He spoke to promiscuous crowds; hut now only to those between whom and Himself there was a vital spiritual connection. Henceforth He would deal with the unconverted world through them. Observe here:(1) The grand subject of His ministry was the kingdom of God. Science, philosophy, politics, were left behind for "things" of a higher type; things compared with which the greatest realities of earth are but as passing shadows; things which restore apostate spirits to God. Before His death He spoke much of His kingdom, and death had not changed His views.
(2) The grand endeavour of His ministry was to prepare propagandists.
(a) By giving them distinct impressions of the work He required them to discharge (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16).
(b) By giving them an immovable conviction of His resurrection.
(c) By preparing them for the reception of their great Helper, the Holy Spirit.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,