This book was written to Theophilus by Luke as a continuation
of the story of "all that Jesus began to do and teach."
(Acts 1:1) the Acts shows how Jesus continued after his resurrection
and ascension (chapter 1) to take an active interest in the
spread of the "gospel" or "good news"
by his followers.
The Apostles chosen by Jesus, who had been with him throughout
his ministry and had seen him after his resurrection, met
first in Jerusalem. Here, during the Jewish Feast of
Pentecost (50 days after the Passover), they received the
Holy Spirit. This special power from God enabled them to perform
miracles and to speak with great authority.
Apostles, like Peter and John, began to preach that Christ
was risen and would return to be King. Persecution of the
Christians soon began. Peter and John were imprisoned (though
God delivered them) and James (John's brother) was killed.
At first, the Apostles and early Christians preached only
to the Jews. But Jesus had said, "You shall be my witnesses
in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of
the earth." (1:8) So, following the persecution at the
time of Stephen (one of the early Christian teachers
who was stoned to death), the Christians were scattered throughout
Judea and Samaria (8:1).
Philip preached to non-Jews and Peter too was shown that
God's message of salvation was to be taken to the Gentiles
But the greatest "Apostle to the Gentiles" was
to be Saul (Jewish name) who was later called Paul
(Greek name). His conversion (chapterS 9) and his missionary
journeys (chapters 13-28) form a large section of this book.