Introduction

 

1:1 I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach

 

The writer of Acts is Luke '"the beloved physician"" (Col. 4: 14) who also wrote the Gospel of Luke and this is what he refers to here as the previous record that he had given to someone called Theophilus, of the life, work, witness and teachings that Jesus began to do.   This would imply,  and is correct, that the Lord continues to do all these  things by the Holy Spirit to the present time.   That they are not done by man but in and through men.   '

 

1:2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

 

The account in Luke's Gospel closed with a brief statement that Jesus went back to heaven (Luke24: 51).   The Book of Acts is the continuation from there.   After His ascension He would transfer His authority and mission to His disciples by the Holy Spirit (Math. 28: 18; Acts 10: 42).    The word apostle used here refers primarily to those listed in verse 13, who had been with the Lord from the beginning and were witnesses of His resurrection.  '

 

1:3 To the same apostles also, after his suffering, he presented himself alive with many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God.

 

For forty days after the resurrection the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to these disciples by many convincing and perfect proofs.   They saw Him and heard Him speak (1 Cor. 15: 4 - 8).   The resurrection is the foundation of Christianity for no one can be saved unless he believes in it (Rom. 10: 9).   During these forty days the Lord continued to teach and reveal to the disciples the things concerning the Kingdom of God for He is about to transfer the responsibility of this work to His disciples by baptizing them in the same Spirit that He was (Luke 4: 18 - 19).

 

 

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

 

1:4 While he was with them, he declared, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait there for what my Father promised, which you heard about from me.

 

They were to abide by His instructions in order to receive the promise.   They had to 'remain" in Jerusalem.   This was not an easy thing to do for they were marked men as followers of Jesus and they had already been in hiding through fear, neither were they city dwellers but Galileans from the country and seaside.   They were also to 'wait", that did not mean to sit and idly twiddle their thumbs but as we shall see in verse 14 to continually pray.   They would then receive the "Promise" as prophesied in Joel 2: 28 - 29 and given by Jesus in John 14: 16.   '

 

1:5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

 

Up to now they knew only about the baptism in water that was given by John.   This baptism was not just a sprinkling of water over the head but the whole body totally submerged.   The baptism by, or in, the Holy Spirit is given by Jesus (Math. 3: 11).   This again is not just a sprinkling but an indwelling (John 14: 17, a fullness (Acts 7: 55).   '

 

1:6 So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, "Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"

 

The disciples are still earthly minded, earthly bound and with earthly ambitions for in response to the Lord they ask Him if this is the time when Israel will again be established as a kingdom under the Messiah.   '

 

1:7 He told them, "You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.

 

Jesus did not rebuke them for this but rather diverted their attention to the present things and to what was to happen next according to the Father's plan and purpose.   They were not to get caught up in speculating about the things that only God the Father has ordained by His own will and authority.  There are those today who try to work out the time of the Lord's return, which according to the words of Jesus is futile, for only the Father knows this and if His Son doesn't know it how can any man work it out (Math. 24: 36).   '

 

1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth."

 

The disciples are to concentrate their hearts and minds on receiving the Holy Spirit.   The word 'receive" suggests that all who desire to be baptised in the Holy Spirit has to be open to reach out and take this gift.   To receive Him is to receive His Power to fulfil the great commission that Jesus has given to the church (Mark 16: 15 - 18).   It is the Holy Spirit that convinces us to go, and enables us to bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to save.   In Jerusalem (local), Judea (our country), Samaria (other nationalities), end of the earth (all tribes and nations).

 

The Ascension of Christ

 

1:9 After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud hid him from their sight.

 

When the Lord had given His final instructions to the disciples they witnessed Him returning to heaven in a cloud of glory, where He sits at the right hand of God and has been exalted far above all and given a name above every other name (1 Pet. 3: 22; Phil. 2: 9).   '

 

1:10-11 As they were still staring into the sky while he was going, suddenly two men in white clothing stood near them and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven."

 

As their eyes were fixed firmly on the Lord of Glory two angels came and, in effect, told them to stop looking up into the sky but to go and do what He had told them until His return.   They re-affirmed the promise that Jesus had given them in John 14: 3 that He would return in the same way that they had seen Him go.  

 

A Prayer Meeting

 

1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called the Mount of Olives (which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away).

 

In this verse we are told that it was the Mount of Olives that the Lord ascended and from there the disciples return to the Upper Room (it may have been the same upper room as the last supper was held and is believed to have been John Mark's home).   A Sabbath day's journey was about æÖ mile.  '

 

1:13-14 When they had entered Jerusalem, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James were there. All these continued together in prayer with one mind, together with the women, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

 

The remaining eleven disciples along with the mother of Jesus, His brothers and  the other women who had followed him gather to wait for the promise of the Holy Ghost to be fulfilled.  They were of one mind and purpose, in complete agreement with God and each other.   The word 'continued" suggests that they often met together in prayer.   Perhaps during the forty days that Jesus was with them after the resurrection He held these daily prayer meetings with them.

 

Replacement

 

1:15-16 "'In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty people) and said, "Brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit foretold through David concerning Judas — who became the guide for those who arrested Jesus —

 

It was during one of these times of fellowship when there were about 120  present that Peter got up, which points to his official leadership of the church at that time, and brings together the prophetic word of the Old Testament and the events of the New.   In this instance it is concerning Judas Iscariot, the betrayer.   '

 

1:17 for he was counted as one of us and received a share in this ministry."

 

He affirms that Judas was called by the Lord and had received the same as they had from Him, he was part of the ministry team.   '

 

1:18-19 (Now this man Judas acquired a field with the reward of his unjust deed, and falling headfirst he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. This became known to all who lived in Jerusalem, so that in their own language they called that field Hakeldama, that is, "Field of Blood.")

 

These are in brackets by way of letting Theophilus know what had become of Judas.   It was the priests who made the purchase of the  field with the money they had given to Judas and therefore it could be said that he bought it, so there is no discrepancy with the account in Matthew 27: 5 -10.   Judas paid the full price for his sins for he had not repented of them - remorse, hanging, falling and bursting himself asunder.   '

 

1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his house become deserted, and let there be no one to live in it,' and 'Let another take his position of responsibility.'

 

Peter quotes the scripture from Psalm 69: 25 and Psalm 109: 8 to show that what he was about to say in choosing another to replace Judas was according to the will of God as revealed by His word.  '

 

1:21-22 Thus one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time the Lord Jesus associated with us, beginning from his baptism by John until the day he was taken up from us — one of these must become a witness of his resurrection together with us."

 

The qualifications for the candidates for this position was  1. They had to have been a follower of Jesus right from the time that He was baptised by John in the Jordan.   2.  They had to have seen His ascension into heaven.  3.   Witnessed that He had indeed risen from the dead.  

 

1:23 So they proposed two candidates: Joseph called Barsabbas (also called Justus) and Matthias.

 

The two put forward by all those present were Joseph called Barsabas (see Acts 15: 22) and Matthias.   '

 

1:24-25 Then they prayed, "Lord, you know the hearts of all. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to assume the task of this service and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place."

 

Having selected these two they left the final decision to God, committing it to Him in prayer.   They acknowledged that only God knows what is in the heart of man (1 Sam. 16: 7) and only He can choose the one whom He wants to fulfil this position.   '

 

1:26 Then they cast lots for them, and the one chosen was Matthias; so he was counted with the eleven apostles.

 

Casting lots was a provision of the Law (Lev. 16: 8; Joshua 18: 6)) for determining the will of God.   After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit there is no more mention of this practice for afterward He provided the needed guidance.   The Lord chose Mathias and from that time he was numbered with the eleven.

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