Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 15-26 - Ready for Pentecost?

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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.)”

Difficulties Some Declare in Identifying the Apostles

Several erroneous doctrines have to do with the idea of “apostles.”

One error declares that there are no apostles in the church after the original group so denoted by Jesus. The error is based on Peter’s description of who should be allowed to take Judas’ place. The basic premise is this: in order to be an apostle, not just to replace Judas, but at any time; it was necessary for someone to have been present among the disciples from John’s baptism to Jesus’ ascension.

The outcome of this proposal is there never being any more apostles after the original twelve. This is incorrect. Paul’s letters denote him as an apostle. Paul was not present with Jesus’ followers from John’s baptism to the ascension.

Peter stepping forward is used by some, again in error, to establish him as the ultimate leader of the early church. This creates the role of the pope or in the Greek Orthodox Church, other groups this leader is known as the archbishop. This position creates the papal succession. Peter is seen as the ultimate leader of the time. This is much the case in Acts. From that point forward, Peter’s role is less dominant. James led the first convocation to make doctrinal decisions regarding the church. Paul becomes the successor in regard to being the key individual involved in the progress of the early church. In the sense of a single leader who has the power to dictate doctrine, this is not seen in the book of Acts or epistles. Peter was given the “keys to the Kingdom” (Matthew 16:19); he used the key to open the locked door of salvation to Jewish sinners who had grievously sinned regarding the Messiah. In Acts 10, Peter used the same key to open the door of salvation for the Gentiles.

We do not see the Holy Ghost giving these men dictatorial authority. They served the church and the lost. These men did not dominate.

The Lord Jesus went in and out.  A resurrection title for the Lord Jesus. This phrase will constantly appear in the book of Acts.

In this first chapter of Acts the Holy Ghost is referenced three times. There was no uncertainty about the significance of the spirit.

  1. Verse 2 - commandments were given by the Holy Ghost. These were not suggestions or options to consider. The Holy Ghost commanded!
  2. Verse 5 - promises the baptism in the Holy Ghost. A necessity for every person.
  3. Verse 8 - indicates power will be given to those who have been baptized in the spirit. 

From the ascension of Jesus, the Messiah, the Holy Spirit-- the spirit of Jesus, the spirit of God, -- becomes a major player.

Ready for Pentecost?

Looking broadly at Acts 1, there could be three evangelistic messages in a series.

  • Who to Expect at Pentecost?
  • What Jesus Has Done to Prepare You for Pentecost?
  • What you can do to Prepare Yourself to Experience Pentecost?

To contact Carlton L. Coon Sr. as a speaker, for a guest blog post, or podcast - email carltoncoonsr@gmail.com.

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