People may forget what you say but sometimes remember accurately your last remark.
The last word of the book of Acts in the Greek New Testament is the word akolutos. The word literally means “unhindered,” though many translations render it with multiple words.
Others move the word from its final position for the sake of syntax. In both cases, it would appear that something is lost in translation. Luke was intentionally making a statement with this last word of his two-volume testimony to the life of Jesus Christ, and may well have intended readers to pause at the conclusion of his words, leaving us with the provocative thought of a Gospel that is unhindered.
“Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, unhindered” (Acts 28:30-31).
Through prisons and angry crowds, Luke’s stirring narrative of the Acts of the Holy Spirit dramatically traces the birth and growth of the early church. The book begins with a few hundred believers in Christ and a collective will to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to all the ends of the earth.
The Church will experience difficulties in society, persecution and frustration, but God is using the Church at this time, to take the gospel to the nations.
Opposition to this witness of the growing Church is not far off (something of a sobering thought for us in this day as the growing sense of revival grips the Church at large))is described at every turn.
It’s an honest appraisal of what happens when the Church is on the move – stirred by the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised persecutioni for those who would follow Him and our need to take up our cross daily. Persecution, beatings, death, and imprisonment all threatened the voice of the early church and ultimately the spread of the Gospel itself. But in spite of all this, Luke carefully unpacks the history of the early church and the spread of the Gospel by boldly describing the progression of God’s Word as going forth without so much as the slightest of hindrances.
The Good News of God to all the world, he seems to want us to remember, goes forth in power.
When we are pressed on all sides by variant theologies and distorted gospels, when the media delights in yet another conspiracy theory that promises to be the downfall of Christianity, we are to remember the great narration of which we are a part. The book of Acts is largely concerned with documenting the history of the early church within the context of the unhindered work of God from the beginning to the end.
“Indeed,” says Peter, “all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers” (Acts 3:24-25). That is indeed encouraging! We need not live defeated by every emerging plot to undermine Christ, the gospel, the Church or us as Christians.
The authentic prophetic message is – no matter what life brings, God has the final Word! Put all your trust in Christ!
We are to live instead in His victory, walking forward as heirs of the great unhindered kingdom of God. We are a part of a movement that will not fade away. The Gospel was and is and always will be a testimony that exists without hindrance. No one can thwart the progress of the Gospel, for it is sealed by the Spirit that presses it onward.
Nothing can stop the ultimate victory of the story of God, for it is finished. We follow a God who spoke in the beginning and who will have the final word.
Don’t give up – keep looking to God, you’ll not be disappointed.
- Matthew’s gospel speaks of persecution (compare Mk 13:9-13) in his discourse on the kingdom mission indicates his view that persecution and proclamation are inseparable (see likewise Acts or Paul’s letters, such as Paul’s defence of his apostleship in 2 Cor 11:23-33). True ministry involves suffering, especially if it is a frontline ministry to nonbelievers; I have been beaten and threatened more than once for ministry on the streets. Yet as Jesus reminds us in the next section, the worst our opponents can do to us is kill us, and we will die anyway with or without their persecution! (Mt 10:24-33). Because persecution is a guarantee for a true disciple (2 Tim 3:12), we may question the strength of our witness if we are not experiencing any (compare, for example, Mt 5:11-12; Acts 5:41; 14:22; Gal 5:11; 1 Thess 3:3; Rev 1:9). (back)