“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Jesus Christ had lives a life of ministry, and then He died a sacrificial death to redeem the sins of His People. The Acts of the Apostles continue Jesus’ Ministerial Work, in that they are trying to uphold their commissioning to preach (Luke 24:45-49; see also Isaiah 52:10). Jesus is in His final day on Earth and is preparing to give the apostles (also called disciples) His final words – His final teaching is nigh.
We see Luke looking forward to Jesus’ Ascension, which means Luke likely wrote these things after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Luke seems to have absolute insight such events occurred, for he was one of a few who recorded such things. He indicates that it’s been forty days since the day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, for Luke is noting this is His last day before He ascends into Heaven.
Jesus’ teaching includes the commission to preach to those in Jerusalem first and then spread to the outer nations. Jesus must have spoken unto the disciples several times of the doctrine/gospel that they were to preach and teach among other men. Some ordinances were to be administered as well; therefore, Jesus may have taught them during different occasions after His Resurrection.
Jesus notes here that the disciples should wait to depart from Jerusalem until they have received the promise of the Father, which one might remember Jesus saying He will send the Comforter – the Holy Ghost – to be with His disciples while they minister (John 14:16).
Jesus makes no contradiction here by saying that the disciples will be baptized – not with water as John the Baptist had done – but with the Holy Ghost. They would be baptized in the near future, as in a few days thence. Many proponents of baptismal regeneration negate this verse, and use Acts 2:38 to attempt to prove baptism is required for Salvation; however, Jesus would not contradict Himself nor would He allow Peter to contradict Him. Therefore, the argument for baptismal regeneration is countered here in this verse by Jesus Himself: Not baptized with water, but with the Holy Ghost.
Archaeological and Historical Notes
The layer of geography that the Book of Acts encompasses includes 58 cities in the eastern Mediterranean area near the Roman Empire. Hippodamus of Miletus composed much of the mapping systems in this era, and from the preclusion of the Greek maladies, most of the trade routes led to Rome.
Theophilus was a man to whom Luke wrote this book unto, but it is unclear who the exact man was, since many slaves and elites had this name. There were not many in the Jews who had this name, and the most notable, which could be the point of reference here, was a high priest named Theophilus who ruled from 37-41 AD. His name is inscribed atop an ossuary inside of a crypt near Jerusalem.
Modern day preservation of ancient historical sites has been threatened due to political conflict in the Middle East. This is increasingly deteriorating the chances of finding the hidden secrets of the world and the wisdom hidden in the ages.
Another neat note is that the book of Acts mends with the books of Peter (1 & 2 Peter), while some of Paul’s material mends in and through in a different way. The early works were greatly filled with many new converts to Christ, what a time to rejoice!