Acts 1 Jesus Ascends; Apostle Chosen
Summary

The book of Acts is designed to pick up the story after the ascension of Jesus back to heaven. It tells of the spreading of Christ’s message to the world. The first chapter begins with a reminder to the original recipient, Theophilus, of the closing part of the former writing. He mentions again Jesus’ promises to the apostles that the Holy Spirit would come upon them if they would wait there after He left them. The remainder of the chapter deals with a meeting they had while waiting. In this meeting, a replacement was chosen to succeed Judas who had betrayed Jesus. We are told what happened to Judas and how the replacement was selected. The new apostle was named Matthias.

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Question 1

How long was it between Jesus’ ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit?

4And while staying[1] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[2] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Question 2

What was the promise of the Father to the apostles?

The Ascension

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But 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 end of the earth.” 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Question 3

Where would the apostles be witnesses for Christ?

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[3]

15In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong[4] he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Question 4

What were the credentials for selecting the new apostle?

Question 5

Who were the two men who met the qualifications and were potential apostles?

People
  • Luke
  • The author

  • Theophilus
  • The original recipient

  • Jesus
  • Speaking to His apostles

  • The apostles
  • Hearing His last instructions and seeing Jesus ascend

  • 120 disciples including the apostles (vs.15)
Places
  • Mount of Olives
  • Where Jesus ascends into heaven (v. 12)

  • Upper room in Jerusalem
  • Where the disciples met after Jesus’ ascension (vs.12-13)

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 1:1

This book is entitled “Acts of the Apostles.” Actually, it contains only some of the acts of some of the apostles…primarily those of Peter (1-12) and Paul (13-28).

The author is Luke, the same author who wrote to Theophilus in the Gospel narrative.

The purpose of the book is to chronicle the first thirty years of Christianity showing how that the gospel was taken to the whole world.

By the use of 1st person pronoun “we,” it appears that Luke was personally with Paul at least in that part of Acts discussed in Acts 16:10-17: Acts 20:5-21; and Acts 27:1-28.

The book of Acts provides the background and setting for 13 of Paul’s epistles.

The book of Acts records five visits of Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-28; Acts 15:1-4; Acts 18:21; Acts 21:15).

The student will want to look for twenty-four public addresses and/or excerpts from sermons.

Like Genesis, this is a book of beginnings: beginning of the Christian age,“the last days”; the beginning of preaching the gospel and the salvation of men in Christ; the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s work among the apostles; and the beginning of the church of Christ.

4And while staying[1] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[2] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:5

Here we have a promise to the apostles. In Acts 2:33 a promise to Christ is mentioned. In Acts 2:38 a promise to those who are baptized is to be remembered

The Ascension

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But 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 end of the earth.” 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:8

This verse contains the theme statement for the book of Acts: “You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem” (chap. 1-7); “in all Judea and Samaria” (chap. 8-12); and “to the end of the earth” (13-28). Notice also, this verse mentions the Holy Spirit whose work is also an important theme.

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[3]

15In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong[4] he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

Acts 1:16

Jesus appears to be referring to Psalm 41:9 here.


Acts 1:18

Judas hanged himself (Matthew 27:5). This is further detail on what happened to his body afterward

21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:21

The criteria for selection of the apostle to take Judas’ place is here recorded.

Perspectives

The apostles were to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit’s power to come upon them.

Jesus clearly had a plan for the apostles to carry the gospel to the whole world.

There was a successor to Judas who died before the gospel was offered to man, but there have been no other successors to the apostles because they could not meet the qualifications.