Original Research

The presentation of Jesus in the missionary speeches of Acts and the mission of the church

Christoph W. Stenschke
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 35, No 1 | a803 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v35i1.803 | © 2014 Christoph W. Stenschke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2012 | Published: 30 June 2014

About the author(s)

Christoph W. Stenschke, Biblisch-Theologische Akademie, Forum Wiedenest, Germany; Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


This article first discusses the methodological issues involved in examining the portrayal of Jesus in the missionary speeches of the book of Acts and the nature of these speeches. This is followed by a detailed analysis of the presentation of Jesus, following a chronological line: Jesus’ origin, his ministry, suffering, death and burial, his resurrection, exaltation, present ministry and parousia. The analysis is supplemented by the various portrayals of Jesus in the narrative of Acts. Afterwards, a detailed interpretation of this portrayal is offered, that is, its emphases (namely the saving significance of all of Jesus’ life, the pervasive motif of the fulfilment of Scripture, Jesus as the agent of God, and the Jewishness of his life and ministry, focussing on Israel), the consequences that are drawn from this portrayal, the impact of the audiences on the presentation of Jesus, and the use of Christological titles. A final section reflects on the implications of the portrayal of Jesus in the missionary speeches of Acts for the witness and proclamation of the church. This comprehensive approach accounts for the length of the article.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Some research has criticised Luke-Acts for its alleged lack of Pauline theology and the ‘depth’ of Paul’s interpretation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This article shows that Acts in its own way offers a significant summary and Christological and soteriological interpretation of the life of Jesus and its enduring significance. The article also reflects on the significance of this interpretation for the present day presentation of Jesus and provides some necessary corrections.


Jesus; apostolic preaching; Gospel; life of Jesus


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