VS 1-5 The first account the writer speaks of here is the Gospel of Luke. The second and third verses talk about Jesus’ being with his Apostles for 40 days after His death and resurrection. This is key to theirs and our own faith; that we believe that He died and rose again. We have the historical witness that Jesus, in fact, did die and rose again. Remember, Romans 10:9-10 are the practical application scriptures of salvation; that we confess and believe. This seems so elementary to us but it is the core of our belief.
In verse four we see that Jesus Himself, bodily, in reality, after His resurrection gathered them together. Why would He require them to stay in Jerusalem? I think there could be three reasons; (My suppositions) Jerusalem is the center of human civilization as far as God is concerned. The birth of the Church would come to Jerusalem. Only the true believers would have the heart to stay and keep on believing.
Vs 6 Even after all they had seen and experienced they were still looking for the earthly kingdom to be reestablished. They had no concept of the Church that God intended. It was at this point incomprehensible what God had planned.
Vs 7 It is not for you to know the seasons or the times. The Father has time and eternity set and only He knows. Matthew 24:36 Human history is not unfolding before us as a new revelation before God. He already knows what will happen. Hard to fathom as it is, He knows all.
Vs 8 tells them that they will receive power; power to be witnesses. That is our commission to witness throughout the world in God’s power. They did not understand the power and I’m not sure sometimes if we understand it. If we really believe in that power, why wouldn’t we access it? We come and go through the motions because we are comfortable. Many times we call on God as a last resort when we have exhausted our resources and abilities.
The Power of the Holy Spirit gives us courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability and authority.
There is a progression here; they received the Holy Spirit, He would give them power and they would witness with extraordinary results. The witnessing was not done in human strength and human results where not achieved; It was supernatural.
VS 9-11 We see here the bodily ascension of Jesus into Heaven and the proclamation of His return. This final physical act of visual reference was like a stamp or seal i.e. after all you have seen and experienced, if there is any doubt, now you have seen Him rise into heaven. The two angelic beings told them that He would return and basically told that they were to be about God’s work until He returned.
VS 12-14 We can already see something radically different in the collection of people in the upper room. In middle- eastern cultures women take a back seat. They are more regarded as property but here and while Jesus was alive they played a role in ministry. They are the heart of the home and they were a welcome part of the ministry. Even in the Old Testament Jewish women played important roles in their cultures.
We are told here that all devoted themselves to prayer. They are waiting with anticipation the arrival of the Holy Spirit and His power that would follow. When waiting on God to move we should wait (serve, like waiting on tables) and pray. Waiting, as in serving, is shown in the next verses. We are always to be about our Father’s business.
Vs 15-20 Peter, the same Peter who denied Jesus three times is now back in action. He knows he has been forgiven and is taking a leadership role to point them in the direction of replacing Judas. This should greatly encourage us that even when we do the wrong thing God forgives and we will always have a place in His work if we want to serve Him. What is God’s will? The redemption of mankind. He chooses to use those who have been redeemed, knowing that we are still flawed by our own sin nature.
If we were to become perfect and never sin after salvation we would become pious and prideful and God would not use us. Peter realized what he had done, repented and is now leading the group who will become the Church in it replacement of the traitor.
Here we also see the fate of Judas. He couldn’t handle what he had done so he took his own life. Matthew’s account says he hanged himself and Acts says he fell. It is generally believed that he tried to hang himself and the rope broke, he fell and burst open.
Vs 21-26 These verses give us a great example of how to go through a selection process. Set up Biblical criteria, examine the alternatives and pray for guidance and wisdom to reach a wise decision.
Apostle versus disciple
Apostalos: Ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (with miraculous powers) messenger, he that is sent
Mathetes a pupil
Why don’t we have apostles today? One of the requirements of Apostleship was that you had to have seen Jesus bodily.
The casting of lots on this occasion was not like drawing straws as it was in other parts of the Bible. The two names were written on stones, put in a jar and dumped out the first one to come out was the one who was selected. They did not consider this as something left to chance. It was considered God’s selection since Jesus was not physically present to make the selection. When we call someone into service we vote and consider it God’s will if it is the mind of the Church.