There is a pattern to the stories that the big-chiefs of the early church are telling various people in the first few pages of Acts.
It doesn’t matter whether is was Phillip speaking to an Ethiopian driving a chariot in the middle of the desert, or Stephen dragged before a court to defend his life, or Peter or Paul preaching to different groups of people in towns and cities all round the Mediterranean…the pattern is the same and is a useful one (even though it can feel like a lot to wade through in some of these passages – just putting it out there!)
The pattern goes like this.
Someone sets up a question, has a problem or makes an accusation.
The answer starts RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING, explaining that God was there in the beginning, has been faithful to us in all kinds of ways and will continue to be so.
Jesus came and walked among us, going to the cross to demonstrate the ferocity of the grace of God.
That the future is in God’s hands too and that the question/problem/accusation demands an answer in the light of everything we know, not just some of the stuff we feel.
Jesus does the same thing when he meets two confused disciples on the road to the town called Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). He begins at the beginning of the scriptures and shows them how everything was pointing to him…He was the secret buried in between each line.
EVERYTHING BEFORE JESUS POINTED TO GOD AND HIS RESCUE PLAN FOR THE WORLD, and that EVERYTHING SINCE JESUS MAKES MOST SENSE IN THE LIGHT OF THE CROSS.
Stephen’s story…Paul’s Story….Your story, my story, are all small parts of a much greater narrative. We might be a wave, but God is an ocean.
We might question why God has not spoken this week, but we know He has been incredibly vocal in a thousand ways in the past.
We might wrestle with why he appears deaf to our prayers today, but we know He has been faithful since the beginning.
We might feel fear that a presidents and kings are going to ruin the world, but we know He has ruled it with righteousness for longer.
We might feel insignificant where we are, but we know He has used faithful and humble people throughout history to be page turners and walk-on-characters in His epic thriller!