Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 15-26 - The Church's First Business Meeting

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Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 15-26

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.)”

The Church’s First Business Meeting

My selection for the key principle conveyed in the paragraph is Verse 25a:  “That he may take part of this ministry (service) and apostleship…”

Peter and apparently his peers felt it was important to have twelve ordained workers. This was about staffing the mission.

The earlier part of the paragraph gives us the information that caused what is expressed in verse 25 to become necessary.

While, verse 26 is the outcome of this adjustment.

Simon Peter:

His past career
His personality
His failures
After denying Jesus, Peter could only assert himself because of forgiveness (indicated in Luke 24:34) and reinstatement provided by the Lord in the presence of Peter’s fellow disciples (John 21:15-19). Peter failed, quickly recognized his failure. Tears are meet for repentance. Was specifically reached for by Jesus and participated in the 40 days after the resurrection and is a leader in the earliest days of the New Testament church.
His aggressiveness
The morning of the day Jesus ascended Peter had been a busybody regarding John’s life (John 21:22). Jesus had rebuked him. Peter could be as subtle as a thrown brick. Peter’s use of Old Testament scripture to validate matters regarding Judas. He used the model learned from Jesus.
Peter’s preparation
In these days Peter has worked hard. He has gained insight regarding the scripture. When Peter speaks of Judas, he begins by quoting scripture. He is a different man than Peter in Matthew 16 where he took Jesus aside after Jesus had spoken of his impending death to say, “far it be from thee.” At that time, Peter had little knowledge of the scripture or he was not seeing things around him as fulfilling scripture. The former is likely true. It is repeatedly said, “they knew not the scriptures” and “their eyes were holden.”  

These quotations show that the re-interpretation of the Old Testament under the light of the coming of the Messiah had started. This was a fresh understanding of things said many years before.

In the days since Jesus’ ascension Peter had started examining the Old Testament regarding all the things that were happening. The word of God became the criteria to make decisions. “Which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David…” is a direction quote from Psalms 69:25-28.

The word of God was to be the benchmark. The moment that criteria is revoked, people begin to go astray. God’s word is so important. Do we know enough about the Bible to see the scripture being fulfilled around us? Peter may not have known, but in reading and studying over these ten days he quickly came to know.

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