Learning to Focus on the King: A New Course on Acts

My friend Richard and I were scrambling.

We were running through the Dublin airport trying to make sure we would catch our flight to Edinburgh so we could drive to St. Andrews and film the course on The Acts of the Apostles with Tom Wright.

A pathetic pair, we were. I had taken a wrong turn based on the wrong information and had been firmly fixed on getting to Gate 110 in Dublin. There was one problem. While the flight was going to Edinburgh, this was the wrong airline.

Oh, my. Time was short.

We turned around and headed to the very opposite side of the airport to board the flight on the correct airline bound for Edinburgh.

Richard had traveled with me to be part of the filming of the course on Acts because he was going to be teaching the book to pastors and church leaders in Ethiopia later this year. So, I was his guide to get to St. Andrews and I had led him astray. I read the flight information screen improperly. Right destination but wrong airline.

So, off we went, now with the correct information and we (barely) made our flight connection. We learned that the gate for our Edinburgh flight had actually been just next to our inbound flight to Dublin.

Fixing Our Sights

I have been a pastor and professor for over 30 years. Fads in church leadership and biblical scholarship have come and gone. One thing has not changed, however, and the Acts of the Apostles cements this: Jesus is King. There are rival rulers, but only one true King. In days where the rulers of the day—locally, nationally and abroad—dominate our screens and send us running after this or that issue, when we read the right information and have the right focus, scurrying can cease.

Just as my friend and I were so easily led astray, we all can be. But, when we have our eyes fixed on Jesus our King, the latest news and fads won’t be distracting.

Just as my friend and I were so easily led astray, we all can be. Click To Tweet

As Tom Wright says in his study of Acts, “God’s kingdom is coming in and through the work of Jesus, not by taking people away from this world but by transforming things within this world, bringing the sphere of earth into the presence, and under the rule, of heaven itself.”

We may, as the attached below video suggests, need to speak truth to the powers that be. Paul did that with the fixed goal of proclaiming Jesus as the ‘New Caesar’ to Caesar. Of course, it meant hardship. But it wasn’t futile, like my wrong-headed march to the wrong departure gate.

There will continue to be fads in church leadership and biblical scholarship. I am indebted to Tom Wright who has given many of us hope again that a text understood in context keeps the focus on the right information. Careful, deliberate scholarship and application keeps our thinking straight, our knees bowed, our hands open to others, and we can give a clear proclamation of Jesus as King.

So we filmed 29 videos on the Acts of the Apostles. On our way back through Dublin airport, we read the screens correctly and made it back to the States with no rush. I can’t wait to share with you the our new course: The Acts of the Apostles with Prof. N.T. Wright.


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David P. Seemuth

David Seemuth is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Center for Christian Study and coordinates seminars and classes. He and Prof. N.T. Wright collaborate in online course development. David has been an Adjunct Professor at Trinity International University for over 25 years and teaches in the area of Biblical Studies, specializing in the New Testament. He also served as an Associate Pastor at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI for 33 years.

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