Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 15-26 - Judas

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Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 15-26 (continued)

Verse 15. “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, (Peter has always been assertive. It was his temperament. It would remain his temperament going forward. He would have been a classic choleric, Type A personality) and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) {what is in parenthesis is Luke giving this event context. It was not just the eleven remaining apostles)”

Verse 16.  “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, (catch this, Peter begins modeling what he had seen Jesus do. He was now seeing Old Testament scripture in a different way. In Peter’s comments here he will cite several Old Testament passages. He let poetic prophecy explain life.) which was guide to them that took Jesus.”

Verse 17.  “For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. (He was one of us. His calling was like our own calling. His participation in preaching, dealing with demonic spirits, etc. He did the same things we did. Perhaps it should serve as a cautionary note to me. To all of us who have been “numbered” in the five-fold ministry and have obtained some role of service, it should be a caution. We can never be so close to Jesus as to not lose our way.)

Verse 18. “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; (injustice – Zodhiates) {It seems that the priesthood used the money Judas threw down to buy a bit of land} and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. (The gospels show Judas as hanging himself. Answering these differences:  Judas hanged himself, and either while hanging there or while being removed, Judas’ body fell and he burst asunder)”

Verse 19.  “And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; (it became known) insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. (in the last phrase, Luke is again giving some explanation. Aceldama was an Aramaic word meaning “field of blood.” Luke is exact in writing what Peter said. But because he wanted Theophilus to understand he defined the word Aceldama for him.)

Verse 20. “For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, (lonesome, the aloneness of a man who steps away from God’s word and will.) and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick (bishoprick is one of several words in the New Testament explaining church government and oversight. It is not the focus for us. A bishop gave inspection for relief and by implications superintended the work. At times, people will use the word “Bishop” when speaking to me. In the world I live in the word is generally undefined. It is more often a title granted as an honor more than anything else. This was not the case when Peter was talking) let another take.”

Verse 21. “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

Verse 22. “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained (to form, or to be made. This person would be “made” one of the twelve by virtue of having fulfilled the earlier qualifications. Ordination always involves meeting some criteria. It is a validation or affirmation) to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (The criteria Peter gave for Judas replacement was two-fold:  a) companied with us during the time Jesus went in and out.  b) Their companying began at the baptism of John and continued until Jesus ascension into heaven. With these criteria, the options for the one who would replace Judas would have been somewhat limited.)

Verse 23. “And they appointed (presented) two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

Verse 24. “And they prayed, (remember this consistent trait) and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts (a heart knower – John 2:24-24 Horton, p. 27) of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, (they ask the Lord to let them know who he, the Lord has chosen)”

Verse 25. “That he may take part of this ministry (service) and apostleship, (being sent forth) from which Judas by transgression (one of the several words for sin in the Greek New Testament. It means to go contrary to or violate a command) fell, that he might go to his own place.

Verse 26. “And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (The casting of lots was not likely a ballot; it would have been more like the Urim and Thummin of the Old Testament. Two names put in a jar. After prayer, one bit of paper pulled out. That person becoming the replacement for Judas. Neither Matthias or Justus are further mentioned in the Bible. Also, the use of “lots” to decide does not appear in Acts. After the events in Acts 2, they relied on the Holy Ghost for guidance.)”


As Peter addresses this, he does not insert himself of his opinion. There was no harsh, judgmental language. After all, Peter had himself failed. There is a hint of sadness in what he cites from the Old Testament.

Instead Peter lets the Bible itself speak to the matter at hand. Judas having “obtained part of this ministry,” refers to him being treated in the same as the other apostles. Judas was empowered to pray for the sick and see them healed, and to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah. Judas had been equal to the other apostles.

Somewhere along the way, Satan began to work on Judas, as he had tempted Jesus and desired Peter “that he might sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31b). Judas allowed himself to be enticed away. He “fell.”

There was no greater opportunity in history than the privilege these twelve men had been involved in. Judas had been selected by Jesus Christ and yet Judas threw it away. How easy it is to allow our own preferred outcome on things to cause us to ignore the opportunity of being called of God, selected to be part of His church.

Psalm 69:28, which Peter does not quote, says the person spoken of in verse 25 had his name blotted from the Book of Life because of his sin. Judas’ name had been there but was now removed.


The words used in the New Testament:  Bishop, Overseer, Presbyter, Pastor, Elder, Shepherd, or Minister refer to basically the same thing; the Pastor of a church or minister of the gospel in any capacity. (Acts 20:17, Ephesians 3:7, Colossians 1:23, 25, 1 Timothy 1:1)

Several of these words have been used in ways that do not reflect the New Testament usage. To use the words in different ways in man-instituted organization is not an error as long as the church body clearly distinguishes between God’s definition and their own. The words most often used in a redefined manner are:  Bishop, Presbyter, and Elder.

The reason for choosing a replacement was not Judas’ death; it was instead, Judas’ defection. Again, there is no support of apostolic succession.

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