An online devotional for writers
In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven. (Acts 1:1-2, NLT)
A sequel is the next installment of a story.
In literature, J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit (1937) launched The Lord of the Rings sequels. During the 1960s and 1970s, film sequels became popular in James Bond movies, the Jaws series, and The Godfather franchise.
A successful sequel continues or expands on the story that readers or viewers loved the first time around.
But why are some sequels a dud? Most of the time, a boring sequel doesn’t add to or develop the story line of the original book or film. Instead, it lazily repeats material from the first version. The sequel simply becomes a repeat of the initial story in an attempt to capitalize off of it.
If only writers and producers would follow St. Luke’s example when it comes to sequels!
Luke, a Gentile physician, carefully researched and wrote a book about the life of Jesus. We know it as the Gospel according to Luke. Then, he wrote the sequel: The Acts of the Apostles, also called Acts. Luke’s sequel tells the story of what happened after Jesus was crucified, raised, and ascended to heaven.
Some of the characters from the gospel, such as the disciples, play important roles in the sequel. But Luke also introduced new characters, like Paul and Barnabas. And the sequel’s action picks up where the gospel left off. In Acts, Luke records how believers were empowered by the Holy Spirit, worked to spread the good news, and model the operation of a healthy church.
As a perfect model of a sequel, Acts builds upon and expands the original story in his first book. Luke’s sequel is not a rehash of his first book. It covers new ground with lots of details.
A sequel builds upon and expands a story with new material.
Thank you for inspiring Luke to share his account of Jesus’s life in the Gospel of Luke and then what happened afterwards in the book of Acts. Help me to listen to you. Let me be willing to do the hard work of uncovering new, expanded, additional material to write in a sequel.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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