Acts 1

Acts 1

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

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

And while staying 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; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 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 end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and 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.”

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And 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. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “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. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And 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.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

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


  “‘Let another take his office.’

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning 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.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.


Acts 1 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

At the end of Chapter 1, the apostles have just witnessed the ascension of Jesus and are waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. So, the question I found myself asking is, how do we prepare for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit? What do we do in the meantime? How do we persevere when we have a promise on the horizon that we are desperately waiting and hoping for? The apostles give us a template to follow as we await a new work from the Spirit.

We must gather (Acts 1:13).

If you are not gathering with the body of Christ, you are missing a vital component of Jesus’ plan both for your own life but also for the lives of others. Gathering does a number of things. There are the obvious ones – friendships, sharing life together, encouragement, significance. But there are also aspects of gathering that are vital to a Christian life.

Accountability is one. The more you gather, the harder it is to compartmentalize your life. If you are one way at home and one way at work and one way at church, sooner or later, gathering will expose your hypocrisy.

And this leads to another beneficial result of gathering – it tests our commitment level. You have to make a decision. The more you gather, the more difficult it is to wear a mask. It reveals the real you and allows for Jesus to meet you in that place and begin ministering to you. For some people, this is why they refuse to gather. They don’t want to allow Jesus to dig deep into their heart and change them.

We must be unified with one mind centered on Christ (Acts 1:14).

The strength of the church is found in the sum of the parts that make it up. If we are unified with one mind, we will become a living, breathing organism that cannot be defeated by the powers of darkness in the worldly or spiritual realm. Jesus promised us that even the gates of Hell cannot withstand the power of His unified church body!

What does it mean to have a unified mind? It means that you come together with a spiritual agenda. You come not looking for what you can get from it, but what you can contribute. It doesn’t mean we agree on everything. It means that we put those things aside and prioritize our commitment to Jesus as the most important relationship in life.

We must devote ourselves to prayer (Acts 1:14).

Prayer is an acknowledgment that the power is not ours. And we as his servants can do nothing apart from Him. So, while we wait on a manifestation of the Spirit, we pray towards the goal just as the apostles did. Lord, you know the hearts of men. Lord, show us. Lord, guide us. Lord, humble us. Lord, open hearts and minds.

We must read and interpret the Scriptures (Acts 1:16-22).

The initiative to look into the Word reveals the heart of man to act upon what God has spoken. It’s very difficult to read the Scriptures every day, comprehend what you are reading, and then not become actively involved in some way. So, in Acts, they searched the Word and asked God to lead. He did just that. God gave instruction and practicality for what needed to happen next.

And finally, sometimes God will allow something or someone to be taken away so that a new work can go forward (Acts 1:26).

Jesus allowed for Judas to walk away from the 12 and ultimately to walk away from Him. The new work that God was about to begin required that Judas be replaced with Matthias who would unite the church before the Holy Spirit’s arrival. This was a critical step in preparing for a new work to be done.

It’s interesting to note that we see no indication that the other 11 allowed for the tragedy of Judas to affect their responsibility to move forward with God’s plan. They kept their eyes fixed and focused on what was needed in order for this new chapter to begin. If anything, it could be said that witnessing Judas’ fall sobered them to the reality that they must be unified as they abide and obey Jesus.

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