Everyone has “that friend” – the friend who’s ridiculously slow to respond to their phone. In my circle, I’m “that friend.” Occasionally I’ll reply immediately, but more often hours go by before I stop and return messages. Sometimes I’ll start to respond to a text message and get side-tracked before I hit send, leaving anyone with an iPhone staring at those three dots, wondering what I might be typing and why it’s taking so long.
Acts has been an incredible journey. We’ve read about the spread of the gospel and the earliest days of the Church. We’ve seen the stoning of Stephen and the conversion of Paul. Here, at the end of Acts, we’re left with the ultimate cliffhanger: an accused Paul stands trial before Felix and Agrippa and appeals to Caesar. He’s then put on a ship to Italy, caught in a storm, shipwrecked on an island, and bitten by a viper. After all this, Paul is finally in Rome to await trial before Nero.
In the last bit of recorded history on Paul, he makes a tireless case to the Roman Jews for the kingdom of God – a spiritual kingdom of heart change instead of the worldly kingdom the Jews were expecting – that falls on dull hearts and closed ears. Even still, Paul proclaims the gospel “with all boldness and without hindrance”. That’s where it ends. Luke leaves us right in the middle of this massive “dot-dot-dot.”
Unlike my texting habits, the next page in the history of the Church is not a mystery. The same Spirit that moves in the book of Acts moves in us today. The same gospel that transforms lives in Acts is transforming lives now. The same calling for believers then is on us now: to be disciples of Christ and to make disciples of Christ.