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20121210 Apostles preached the Gospel 宗徒們宣講福音

The Acts of the Apostles was written by St. Luke, the author of the third Gospel. The book describes the development of the early Church focusing on the missionary works of the two most prominent apostles—St. Peter and St. Paul.
Authority of Peter
St. Peter received his authority as head of the apostles from Christ. After his resurrection, Christ told Peter to feed his lambs and to tend his sheep (John 21:15-17).
The authority of Peter became apparent in the early Church when he presided over the selection of Matthias to replace Judas. On Pentecost Sunday, Peter delivered a powerful sermon which resulted in the baptism of three thousand people.
In the name of Jesus, Peter cured a crippled beggar at one of the gates of the temple. The words of Peter after the cure convinced many more to become believers.
Peter and John were told by Jewish authority not to preach about Christ again, but they told them that they could not stop proclaiming what they had seen and heard, and that obedience to God came before obedience to men. So, Peter and the other apostles continued to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Church is “catholic” because both Jews and Gentiles were called to it. The Roman centurion Cornelius was told by an angel to summon Simon Peter to his house. Peter also received revelation from God that he should not hesitate to go to Cornelius’ house.
While Peter was preaching to Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit came upon the listeners. And Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Peter received Gentiles into the Christian community.
Herod Agrippa started a persecution of the Church in Jerusalem. He had James the apostle killed by the sword and had Peter arrested. The faithful were praying ceaselessly for Peter. On the night before his trial, Peter was led out of prison by an angel. Not long after this, Herod was afflicted with a most loathsome disease, and he died in the most terrible torments.
Around the year 50 A.D., a Council was held in Jerusalem. It was presided by Peter. The Council decided that Gentile converts to Christianity were not obligated to keep most of the Mosaic law, including the rules concerning circumcision of males.
Paul, the missioner
Paul was a persecutor converted into an apostle. The conversion of Paul was a classic example of the operation of actual grace. By cooperating with actual grace, Paul received sanctifying grace and was baptized by Ananias.
Paul was ordained a bishop by the chief men among the Christians of Antioch. Barnabas accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey. During this journey, Paul proved the truth of his teaching by striking a magician blind in Cyprus. In Asia Minor, Paul turned to the Gentiles after the Jews refused to listen to him. Paul was opposed by the Jews, but a number of the Gentiles were converted through his preaching.
In his second missionary journey, Paul was accompanied by Silas, Luke, and Timothy. Paul was put into prison in Philippi, but an earthquake shook the prison at night, and the jailor was converted by Paul. In Athens, Paul saw an altar dedicated to the “unknown God”, and he took the occasion to preach to the people.
In his third missionary journey Paul made many converts and performed many signs in Ephesus. A silversmith opposed Paul and incited a riot against him. In Troas, Pau raised a young man to life.
Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and brought to Rome, where he and Peter died as martyrs.

聖史路加除寫了「福音」外,亦寫了「宗徒大事錄」,記載初期教會的發展,詳敘兩位重要宗徒 —— 聖伯多祿和聖保祿 —— 的傳教工作。