The Book of Acts

May 19, 2008 Length: 40:20

Comparing the two sources for readings during the Paschal season-- the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John.

In series The Paschal Season

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We have already commented many times that during the 50 days from the day of resurrection, the feast of Pascha, until the 50th day, the last and final day, when the Holy Spirit descends upon the apostles of Christ, the Lord promised that when he was raised and glorified that the fulfillment of the prophecy would take place, that God would pour his Spirit out upon all flesh, and that’s what happens on Pentecost. But between Easter or Pascha, the day of resurrection, and the day of Pentecost, we already commented many times that the gospel readings virtually always during this period are taken from the Gospel according to St. John. We mentioned that the gospel of St. John is the theological gospel. It’s the gospel that contemplates the earthly ministry of Christ in its deepest, fullest way. We already spoke about how it’s structured with the prologue and then the Book of Signs, the seven great signs, and then the last discourses of Jesus with the apostles, and then the Passion according to St. John, and then the resurrection accounts with Mary Magdalene and the capitulation with the appearance to Thomas, where he proclaims Jesus as Lord and God.

We saw, and we will continue to see during this time, why it is that the Church is reading and contemplating, proclaiming and contemplating the Gospel according to St. John, the gospel in some sense for those who have accepted the preaching, accepted the proclamation that Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, was raised and glorified; he has been made Christ and Lord by God his Father, and that he is the Savior of the world, the King of whose kingdom there will be no end, who sits upon David’s throne, the Lord of the living and the dead.

Now with the Gospel according to St. John during this period, Orthodox Christians when they go to church at the divine services, they hear the reading also from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. So you have the two readings: the book of the Acts of the Apostles is read, and the Gospel according to St. John. So let’s look a bit at the Acts of the Apostles. Let’s try to understand what kind of a writing it is, and particularly how it compares and how it contrasts with the Gospel according to St. John, because it is paradoxical, and there’s so much in Orthodoxy that is paradoxy, but it is paradoxical that during these 50 days of the celebration of the resurrection, the glorification, the enthronement, the ascension of Christ, raised and glorified, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it is paradoxical that during this time, although quite understandable, as we will see, that the reading would be not from one of the letters of the Apostle Paul or another epistle, but would be a reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Now the book of Acts is the second volume of a two-volume work. It is the second volume that follows the first volume, which is the Gospel according to St. Luke. It is the teaching, very clear if you read the texts, that Luke, who writes his gospel for Theophilus, who may have been an actual person, but that also might be a literary device, because Theophilus means the one who loves God, the God-lover, the one who loves God, the Theophilus, and he says that he is compiling a narration of the things that Jesus said and did during his ministry. Then the second volume is a kind of narration again, a kind of historia in the ancient sense, a history, a story, of the apostles after the glorification of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It’s an account of the earliest days of the Christian faith, particularly the activities of the Twelve Apostles who were the eyewitnesses and ministers of Christ and who witnessed him raised from the dead and were with him during the three years of his ministry from beginning to end. That’s why Matthias was chosen to replace Judas, and they had to choose a person who had been with him from the beginning of his public ministry; that’s how the book of Acts begins: they choose two men, and the lot falls upon Matthias, and he takes the place of Judas.

Then you have the event of Pentecost, and then after Pentecost in the book of Acts, written by Luke as a narrative—again, it says it’s the compilation of what Jesus said and did according to those who were with him. Literally, that’s what it says:

In the first book, Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen and had presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during the forty days and speaking of the kingdom of God.

Then it goes on to say that now in this second book he wants to tell them what happened subsequently, what happened until the arrest of the Apostle Paul in Rome, which somehow is a conclusion of that activity, because then the Gospel has reached the end of the world, because at that time the capital city of Rome was somehow symbolically the ultimate end of the world. So you have the Twelve Apostles. Then you have Paul in the book of Acts, this one untimely born, the one who called himself an abortion. It tells also about his conversion. So the book of Acts begins with Pentecost, and then it continues in the first five chapters with the preaching primarily of Peter about Jesus being raised, being glorified, fulfilling the Scripture—and that’s so important for the book of Acts: how these events of what happened to Jesus of Nazareth, how they fulfill the plan of God, the dispensation of God, the oikonomia of God according to his foreknowledge from before the foundation of the world.

In the book of Acts, fright from the beginning and all the way through, this is what is focused on: Jesus as the fulfillment of the divine oikonomia; Jesus as the Christ and the Lord, raised and glorified; Jesus as the one who was promised; and Jesus who fulfills all the events and the mighty acts of God in Israel. So you have in these sermons—by Peter in the beginning of the book of Acts, primarily Peter on the day of Pentecost and then the very next day, and then you have after in those first five chapters, you have the story of Stephen, the first deacon. You have the seven deacons being chosen to wait on the tables and to take care of the widows and to do philanthropy in the Church so that they apostles could be free to teach and to preach the word of God. But then you have that long catechetical sermon of Stephen that recapitulates the entire Old Testament, to show about how all this plan of God was fulfilled in Jesus who was crucified and is raised and is glorified.

Then after that you have the narration about how the apostles and the disciples are scattered, how they are leaving Jerusalem. They go north to Samaria, and it tells about Philip, and it tells about the gifts of the Spirit, and about Simon who wanted to buy the grace of the Holy Spirit that the apostles had. That’s where you get the word simony, which means the sin of selling the sacraments and selling grace. The story of the Ethiopian eunuch, where he reads Isaiah, and Isaiah is explained by Philip.

And then Acts goes to the conversion of Saul, the one who was consenting to the death of Stephen, who was a persecutor, who was a learned Jew, a Pharisee, a Benjaminite, as to the Law a zealot, as to the Church a persecutor, as he said of himself. Then you have the marvelous story of the Damascus road experience and how Paul sees the risen Christ and he asks him, “Who are you?” He says, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” Then Paul goes to Ananias and he’s baptized and becomes the great Apostle Paul.

Then in the book of Acts you have about Peter, also going to the Gentiles, the story of Cornelius upon [whom] the Holy Spirit descends, and about how Cornelius calls for Peter and is impressed that the Gentiles are now called and that the Spirit is upon them, and Cornelius is baptized. Then you have the event about the foods. None of the foods can be considered unclean, that vision that Peter has on the roof. So you have the Gentiles coming in through Cornelius and Peter.

And then the persecution continues. You have Paul and Barnabas and Mark, going to Antioch and Seleucia and Cyprus and making these journeys and preaching the Gospel, and Paul preaching from the Scripture, according to the Scripture, that the most amazing thing, that the servant of Yahweh, the suffering servant who was beaten and who is a man of sorrows, the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, that this one is the Messiah, this one who, through being crucified, is made King and Lord. This is the one who brings the kingdom of God to the world; it is this Jesus of Nazareth. And then this is what is proclaimed all over the place: Iconium, Lystra, Derbe they go. Later on, into Macedonia, into Greece, into the main cities of Greece: Athens and Thessaloniki, and then Asia Minor and Ephesus. You have the story of the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles and by Paul particularly at the end.

Then you have this council in Jerusalem in Acts 15 where Paul and Barnabas come down and Peter is there and the council is chaired, so to speak, presided by James who, according to Tradition, is the first bishop in Jerusalem, the leader of the Jerusalem community. The decision is made that the Gentiles may be received by faith; there’s no need for them to follow the ritual commandments of the Jewish law, particularly circumcision and the foods. It’s just proclaimed that they should avoid fornication and immorality and not eat blood and not have strangled foods and foods offered to idols, but that they may be received as full members of the body of Christ, full members of the covenant community, the New Testament community, the final covenant when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh.

Then the end of the book, it focuses on the Apostle Paul and his travels and how he is going around preaching the Gospel. And when he is baptized, Ananias is even told that this man is God’s chosen instrument for the sake of the Gentiles, how much he must suffer for the name of Jesus.

And then very interestingly, the last several chapters of the book, beginning in chapter 21 to the end, are the so-called “we” chapters, because Luke, the author, starts writing “we,” which means he was with them: he was with Paul, he was going with him, he traveled around with him. He was a party to the activity of the Apostle Paul. Then the book ends with Paul being back in Jerusalem, being on trial for the sake of the resurrection, as he put it, that that’s the trouble: are the dead raised? Is Jesus raised? Is he the messianic king? The Romans get involved, and then finally Paul appeals to Caesar, to Rome, because he’s a Roman citizen.

And in those chapters Paul is again retelling how he saw the risen Lord and how he studied the Scriptures and how, according to the Scriptures, he became convinced that this Jesus who was crucified is in fact the Christ of God, he is the Lord, he is the Savior, he is the King, he is the One that’s foretold in the Law, in the Psalms, in the Prophets. That’s repeated again and again. It’s in Luke’s gospel, too. That’s how the gospel of Luke ends, that the risen Christ tells them how the Christ must suffer to enter into his glory and how Moses wrote about him and how he fulfills the Law and the Psalms and the Prophets and how they all spoke about him. This is all in the resurrection accounts in Luke, and then it’s repeated again and again in the book of Acts, beginning with the homilies and the preaching and proclamation of Peter. Then you have Philip and you have Stephen and you have Paul and Barnabas and Silas and John Mark. This is what we hear about in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Now, this book is a book of kerygma, and that’s very important. Kerygma, ta kerygmata, it means the heralding, the proclamation, the preaching. It’s a kerygmatic book. Here the holy Fathers contrast it to St. John’s Gospel which is kerygma, but as St. Basil says in The Treatise on the Holy Spirit, St. John is ta dogmata; it’s where you have the dogmas or the mysteries of faith, the deepest mysteries of faith. Another way of contrasting Acts to John is that the book of Acts in technical terminology would be called a preaching about the oikonomia of God, the dispensation, the saving plan as it’s fulfilled in Jesus; whereas the gospel of St. John from the beginning was called theologia; it’s theology. He’s John the Theologian. In theology, he takes us into the deepest mystical realities of the relationship of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s the whole foundation for the whole of Orthodox theology through the centuries.

In fact, after the close of the first century, toward about the ‘85s of the third century, the whole of the teaching and understanding about Jesus Christ is found in those writings, those 27 books that we call the New Testament. All the rest of history is an interpretation of it, an explication of it, a development of it, a defense of it. It is, you might almost say, a commentary; it’s a theological commentary on the New Testamental teachings.

But here in Acts on the one hand and in the gospel of St. John on the other, you have the most contrasting type of literature that’s found in the New Testament. Luke is oikonomia; John is theologia. Luke is kerygma; John is dogma. You might even dare to say that Luke is evangelion—it’s gospel, it’s glad tidings—whereas the Gospel according to St. John never even uses the term gospel. The word gospel or evangelion is not in St. John’s gospel. St. John’s gospel is a different kind of literature for a different purpose. One time I even thought to say that maybe it would be accurate to say that St. John’s gospel is the first theological commentary on the Gospel that is preached by Peter and Philip and Stephen and particularly the Apostle Paul as you find it recorded in the letters of Paul, as you find it recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Mark and Luke, and in the book of Acts.

If we were speaking in modern jargon, we might even say, in the language at least of studies when I was a younger fellow, that the Acts of the Apostles, and generally Luke—and generally Matthew, Mark, and Luke—give us what could be called in jargon a “low” Christology—that expression was used: “a low Christology”—whereas John and certain passages of Paul and letters like the letter to the Hebrews and perhaps even the Apocalypse, that gives us a “high” Christology. Now, what that could simply mean in everyday terms would be that the gospels, and particularly the book of Acts, emphasize the scriptural, human Jesus, and it certainly emphasizes Jesus as the man, Jesus. Whereas, on the other hand, in the gospel of St. John, right from the very first words, you have the Logos, the Word of God, and being with God in the beginning and being God, and then the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, full of grace and truth, and he is the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. In the very first chapter of St. John’s gospel, Jesus is called the Son of God and God and the Lord and the King of Israel.

Then through the entire gospel of St. John, you have Jesus clearly depicted as the One who comes from above, who is God’s Son, who is divine, who is the Lord, who is the I am. How many times does it say in St. John’s gospel, “that you may know that I am”? And I am was the name of God, given to Moses in the old covenant. It’s definitely the theological book par excellence, St. John’s gospel. “That you may know that I am he, that I am the one,” and then: “that I and the Father are one, that he who sees me sees the Father, who hears me hears the Father. The Father does his works through me, that I am.” in St. John’s gospel Jesus is the light, the life, the truth, the divine Person who becomes flesh.

Whereas in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and certainly in the book of Acts, he is the man, Jesus—the man, the empirical man, the man that you would run into, the man that you would experience. And you have to have that experience first. You have to encounter Jesus as a man, and as the man who fulfills the dispensation of God according to the Scripture. So it’s very interesting that in the book of Acts, the very first time that the resurrection is spoken about, when Peter lifts up his voice to speak on the very first day of Pentecost, he says: “Men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God, with mighty works and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourself know, this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”—and that oikonomia, that’s the plan. Oikos means house, and nomos means law, so the oikonomia or the economy of God’s activity in saving the world is the plan that he has for his household, the plan that he works out for the salvation of his household.

So it says this Jesus, this man, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed, by the hands of lawless men; but God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Then it speaks about David. And then what Jesus is called is the holy one. He is called the righteous one. And most of all, in the book of Acts, Jesus is called by the term pais in Greek, which means servant, the emet in Hebrew of Isaiah, where in Isaiah it speaks about “my servant Israel, my servant Jacob,” this suffering servant that God will vindicate, and so on. That’s the word that’s used so often in the book of Acts, that that is what Jesus is called all of the time: the servant of God.

Very interestingly, in the book of Acts, Jesus is never called—not only is he never called God, he’s never even called the Son of God. The expression “Son of God, Hyios tou Theou,” does not exist in the book of Acts. The biblical words about him are used from the old covenant. The term Lord is used, because you have that text, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand.’ ” The word Christos or Anointed is used, because he is the Christos and the Kyrios who sits at the right hand of God. The expression the Holy One, the Agios, or the Righteous One, the Dikaios, those words are used. The expression Author of Life, Archegon tes Zoes, that is used. The word prophet is used: “God will raise up a prophet,” that if you don’t listen to him, you’ve had it. Peter says that already in the first sermons.

So you have these terms being used, but most is simply the term Jesus: the God of our fathers raised Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth is who he is. Jesus is the one seen standing at the right hand of God. The expression Son of man is used, which is a biblical expression coming from David, about David seeing the Lord, my Lord; it comes from Daniel, the seventh chapter. So this is the way that the book of Acts speaks about Jesus the Christ, and it always says the Christ: Jesus, the Christ, and it’s always kata tas graphas, according to the scriptures, all the way through the book of Acts.

So the book of Acts is a book of proclamation, of heralding, of preaching. It’s like a model of the way Christians ought to speak to those outside. You might even say—I would say—that we Christians should never speak to people outside except in the style of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the book of Acts. We shouldn’t go to Paul; we shouldn’t go to the Gospel according to St. John or the letters; we shouldn’t go to the letter to the Hebrews; we shouldn’t go to the Apocalypse. We should just begin by saying: This man, Jesus, who was crucified, has been raised and glorified, and that’s the fulfillment of the Scriptures. That’s the fulfillment of the plan of God, the oikonomia of God. That is the fulfillment of the salvation of history that began with the calling of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses. This is what is rehearsed.

For example, in Stephen’s very long catechetical oration, he goes through the entire story of Israel. And then to show that this Servant of God, the ultimate Servant of God who suffers all these horrible things according to Isaiah, that he is the One who is raised and glorified, and that is Jesus of Nazareth. So you always have these expressions: beginning with the Scripture, according to the Scripture, or as it was written, or according to God’s foreknowledge and according to his plan. It’s a narrative. It’s a narrative of the announcement of the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus brought to the world, that he preached to the world, that John the Baptist preached to the world, that this is what you have witnessed to, testified to, throughout the entire book of Acts.

You even have such expressions, not only as “God raised him from the dead,” but you have expressions like “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Spirit and with power,” that “God ordained Jesus to be the Judge of the living and the dead,” that God made—that verb, made—made him to be Christ and Lord, “this one whom you have crucified.” So as a literary piece—and of course, Jesus means Savior, so of course he’s proclaimed as the Savior, raised from the dead—what you have here is the proclamation of the human Jesus according to the story of Israel, according to the events of the Gospel, where God is acting through this Man.

And we should remember, it’s a dogma—a dogma of the Orthodox Church and of ancient Christianity in its orthodox form, certainly—that Jesus is a real man. It’s interesting that almost all of the heresies about Christ in the first thousand years of Christianity were heresies and errors and erroneous teachings denying his real humanity. Almost all the Gnostics and Docetists and Monophysites and even the Nestorians—the Nestorians, for example, were happily willing to say that the Logos of God was divine, but they said that the Logos didn’t really become incarnate; he didn’t really become a real man: He himself was not a real man; he was connected to the man, Jesus, but the man Jesus is not the divine Son of God. But that’s the Gospel, and that’s Orthodox theology.

So what you have in the book of Acts is a forceful picture, almost like a verbal icon, of salvation history, that’s fulfilled in the man, Jesus: the man who was crucified and the man that God has raised and glorified, this Man. Now it would certainly be the Orthodox teaching that when you believe in this Man, when you see him as Christ, Lord, Savior, King, Servant, Slave, who was vindicated and glorified and raised and enthroned, and when you receive the Spirit of God that is poured out upon you, once you believe this, once you accept him, once you accept the Gospel, then you go into the deeper mysteries: that he is the divine Logos, that he is the divine Wisdom, that he is God’s truth, that he is God’s light, that he is God’s power, that he is God’s glory, that he is divine with the same divinity as God from all eternity and became a man, became human, became a slave, became the crucified one, but this One who is this way is from all eternity: God, the Son of God, who comes down from heaven, who is one with the Father, of the very same—in the later language of theology—nature as God, being of the same exact divinity of God the Father as his only-begotten Son and his Word and his Wisdom and his Power and his Truth and his Life and his Light.

So during these 50 days between Pascha and Pentecost, when we go to church we have two readings: first, Acts, kerygmatic, about the human Jesus, about the Scriptures, about the human story, about especially that he was crucified and raised by God. That’s the epistle reading. It’s not an epistle; that’s the reading in place of where the epistle usually is. It’s not a letter; it’s the second volume following the Gospel according to St. Luke.

Then at the very same service, after hearing Acts and singing Alleluia and praying to God to illumine our minds with the understanding of the holy Gospel, then John is proclaimed. He’s proclaimed for the believers. There’s no catechumens there, theoretically. It’s those who have accepted Acts as the truth, have accepted that this man, Jesus, is the one who is the Savior, the Lord, the King, the Christ, raised from the dead and forever glorified, according to the plan of God, according to the Scriptures, and that the Apostle Paul and that the Twelve Apostles and that Philip and all of them who preached, this is what they were preaching: this is the kerygma, this is the preaching of the Christian faith, this is the Gospel preaching, and this is what we see in the book of Acts. Then we enter into the deeper mystery: the dogmas, the theology, as given in St. John.

Now for all the differences between Luke, Acts, and John, there is one thing that is strikingly similar in these two writings, amazingly similar, and it’s worth reflecting on; it’s worth mentioning, at least. That is how, in both of these books—in Acts and in John—you have a forceful emphasis on the name of Jesus, the expression name: and in his name.

Looking at the book of Acts first, we see that right in the beginning, after Pentecost, when Peter preaches the first sermon and he’s asked what should one do, they are told: “to be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ.” Then when the apostles work their miracles in the very first chapters of the book of Acts, it says that all that they do, they are doing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. They say, for example, when they make the man walk: “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk!” Then they speak about “and his name”: “By faith in his name, this man has been healed.” By faith in his name.

Then they speak about—“By what power do you do these things?” they are asked. “And by what name have you [done] these miracles?” when the apostles are attacked by the same leaders of the Jewish people as Christ himself was. And their answer, of course: “By the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but God has raised.” So you have this emphasis on the name to such a point that in the fourth chapter it claims that “there is no other name by which anyone may be saved, no other name under heaven or on earth that salvation can come, but only in the name of Jesus,” in this name. Then it says that all the signs and the wonders were performed in the name of his holy pais, his holy servant, his holy child.

That word, pais, could mean servant or child or boy, like if you were an aristocratic man and you had a young fellow helping you, you’d say, “That’s my boy. That’s the boy [who] helps me.” That’s what that word can also mean in the holy Scriptures, but it’s usually translated servant or child: the child Jesus. There’s another word for child, techno, which you find in St. John’s gospel, too, but that’s a different word. It means a child, like a biological child of an actual parent, where pais means a child or a servant or a young person that is serving me, that is mine, that belongs to me, who lives for me.

Then it speaks also, when the apostles are arrested and put in prison, it says that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name, that they were suffering for this name. Then when Saul is on the Damascus road, he asks Jesus, “Who are you?” and he said, “I am Jesus.” Then when Paul goes to get baptized by Ananias, the Lord says to Ananias that he has to show Paul “how much he must suffer for the sake”—then it says it again—”of my name.” Then it speaks about Paul and those with him being persecuted because they have called on this name, that they are persecuting those who were calling on the name of Jesus.

Then it speaks that they preached boldly in his name. In the ninth chapter, where Paul is converted, it not only says that he has to suffer for the sake of the name and that those who are calling on the name are persecuted, but it says that he preached boldly in the name of Jesus. Then in the very next chapter about Cornelius and Peter, he has to be baptized in the name of Jesus that he is baptized. So you find this in the book of Acts all the way through.

Then of course in the end of the book, with St. Paul, he is charged by preaching this name, and he casts out demons and does the miracles in that name. Then he says, “I am ready to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.” So you have this emphasis on the name all through the book of Acts.

The name means the presence. The name isn’t just like a magical formula, like “whatever you ask in my name,” so I say, “In Jesus’ name I ask.” Jesus’ name means him: all that he is, all that he stands for, all that he shows, and it signifies a presence. That’s why the name of Jesus became so important among Christians and in Christian history, and using even the prayer of Jesus, saying his name: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,” the prayer in his name.

But what we want to see is you have this in John, too. For how different those two writings are—how the Acts emphasizes the kerygma, the preaching, the humanity of Jesus, the story, the historical story, and how John emphasizes the theology and the mystery and the dogma and the ultimate insight into the deepest mysteries of Jesus as God’s own Son and Word—John also has a very forceful emphasis on name. In the prologue of St. John it speaks about “and those who believe in his name will become children of God, born not of the will of flesh or of men but of God, begotten of God.” Then it speaks about Jesus at the first sign that he does, at the Passover feast, and he goes to Cana, and it says, “many believed in his name.”

Then it speaks about those who believe in his name will be saved, and those who do not believe are condemned already because they don’t believe in the name of the only Son of God. Then of course you have these expressions in John: “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” “The Holy Spirit will be sent by the Father in my name,” Jesus said. He prays to keep in his name those whom God has given him when he prays. He says, “I have kept them in your name,” he says to God, “the name you have given me, which is my name. I made known to them your name, and they know my name.” Then the recapitulation of St. John’s gospel in the story of Thomas, where the whole gospel ends, saying, “This has all been written that you believe, and, believing, that you may have life in his name.”

So for however different Luke-Acts is and St. John’s gospel, however they are, you might say, the extremes of Christian Scripture, of New Testamental Scripture, Acts being totally kerygmatic, dispensational, the oikonomia, John being totally theological, divine, the wisdom literature, going into the deepest mysteries of Christ, both of them radically emphasize the name. The man Jesus that God has raised and glorified in the preaching of the book of Acts, that same man Jesus is God’s Son, the Logos incarnate, divine with the same divinity of the Father in the theological Gospel of St. John.

It’s so marvelous during these 40 days to Ascension and then the ten more days until Pentecost, during these 50 days, that we will be hearing all the time these two very different Christian writings—as different as you can get within the canonical Scripture of the New Testament. You might say that you can’t get two more different versions, so to speak, different understandings, of the Christian faith than you have between the book of Acts and the Gospel according to St. John. Both of them are true. Both of them are the truth. Both of them are centered in Jesus, the name of Jesus, crucified and glorified. In Luke you have him presented humanly, according the Scriptures, according to the holy history of Israel; in John you have him seen as the divine Son of God from all eternity—but it’s one and the same Jesus, and it’s in his name that we are saved and glorified.