The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,…
1. Luke's Gospel is confessedly but an imperfect sketch of an absolutely perfect life. Yet, in his Gospel, every beneficent act seems well-rounded off, every miracle seems complete, every parable seems to have received its finishing touches. And yet Luke says that his Gospel is only a narrative of what Jesus "began both to do and teach." There were greater things to follow — miracles of grace far surpassing the opening of blind eyes, the cleansing of lepers, or even the raising of the dead to life again.
2. The Acts of the Apostles contains an account of those greater works which were done in the name of Christ. In the Gospels Christ begins to do and teach; in the Acts of the Apostles He continues to do and teach; but His doing and teaching are not now restricted and limited, but assume larger and grander proportions.
3. Our Lord's beneficient activity did not cease when the last of the apostles fell asleep. Christ has been doing and teaching ever since, and never more than during the last hundred years. Christ is with us still, and He is not inactive. He is keenly alive to all that goes on in His Church. Indeed, it is the Christ in you that prompts to that noble deed, or to lay upon His altar that costly sacrifice. Apart from Christ you can do nothing. The Gospels are full of beginnings. The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles are also full of beginnings. Now, if the beginnings are so glorious, what will the endings be? If the Spirit of Christ abides in the Church, leading us into all truth, then we ought to possess a larger and richer spiritual heritage than our forefathers possessed. The Churches of the New Testament were only the beginnings of Christ's redemptive activity. His influence on the world is immeasurably greater than it was when He died upon the cross, and immeasurably greater than it was when the Books of the New Testament were written. We know that He who in the time of His humiliation began to do and teach, until "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together," and "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the mighty deep." Mr. Beecher somewhere speaks of "a Christ a thousand times more glorious than Jerusalem ever saw; a Christ a thousand times freer and fuller of the manifestation of love than any historical Christ; a Christ larger in every way than the Christ of the past; a Christ enwrapping every soul as the whole atmosphere of a continent broods over each particular flower; a Christ conceived of as living near, as overhanging, as thinking of each one, and as working for Him." Do we know anything of this Christ? The same Christ as we have in the Gospels, and yet not the same: for a man may know the Christ of history and yet be unsaved, but to know the risen, ascended, ever-present Christ is salvation itself.
Parallel VersesKJV: The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,