Chapter 1

1.1-5 the treatise. The greek word here is logos. The same word used in John 1.1, 14. It is also used in Hebrews 13.17 as “account”. It is the sum total. It is a multi dimensional word. It incorporates everything about a person or subject. So Luke is saying his former logos about Jesus is being continued. This establishes the point immediately that Acts is about Jesus. Without Jesus there is no book of Acts. Jesus is the source of all that is recorded. Historically Jesus was alive and is a historical personage. The narrative here is tagged to connect it with the ascension of Jesus, thus continuing the narrative without interruption. Some ancient writers went so far as to call Acts the fifth gospel. They say this because it is the continuation of Jesus’ acts through his followers. Jesus is present in every chapter and every page of this truism.

1.6-11 the ascension. The men who devoted their lives and future to the messiah ask him if this is the time He will restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus does not answer their pointed question. Why? This seems an important moment and why withhold this simple answer. Jesus sidesteps their question and redirects them to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. It is possible Jesus saw they were looking for the wrong fulfillment of Prophecy. It is also possible he was steering them away from their nationalistic viewpoint. It appears Jesus was leaving the blank unfilled so they would pursue the true goal of his coming; the church. As Jesus directs their attention to the Holy Ghost, he is taken up out of their sight. This is a clear injunctive. Jesus was clearly telling them to go forth and focus on the Holy Ghost, and not the national fulfillment of Israel. 

1.12-14. Jerusalem. This was important to fulfill the admonition that Jerusalem was the fountainhead of the New Covenant. Jesus had told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endured with power. Is 2.3, and Micah 4.2 both declare that the law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Any attempt to define the church outside of the Jerusalem message is an error. Even the Apostle Paul checked his direct revelation from God to make sure it dovetailed with the message of Jerusalem, Gal 1.1-2. This is a powerful concept that even Paul’s revelation would be bogus if it did not match the Jerusalem template. The only true doctrine is the doctrine that aligns with what was preached in Jerusalem. Any doctrine that does not match what was preached at Jerusalem is false doctrine and must be jettisoned. 

1.15-22 replacing Judas. This is an interesting concept. There does not appear to be any instruction from Jesus to replace the fallen Apostle. There is only the admonition in Psalms 69.25. The second part spoken here is from Psalms 109.8. The decision to replace Judas was made on combining these two passages. Both passages would be classified as secondary meanings. This is one of the most difficult parts of hermeneutics. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we would never draw these conclusions. We are left to wonder if Jesus instructed them to do this? It would have been simple for Jesus to appoint the successor while he was yet with them. By not appointing Judas’ replacement, we are left with these puzzling thoughts. Did Jesus instruct them to do this? Why did Jesus choose not to do this? Did this decision come to them in the days of lingering prayer? Is this the initial beginning of fulfilling Matthew 16.19, where Peter begins to use the keys given him? Peter seems confident this needed to happen to fulfill the scriptures. Luke 24.44-46 declares Jesus opened their understanding concerning the law, the prophets, and the Psalms. It appears the defection, not the death was the cause of replacement. Later when James is killed, there is no replacement. 

1.23-26 Joseph or Matthias? Joseph the son of (bar)Sabas. Is this Barnabas of Acts 4.36? Lightfoot suggests he was the son of Alpheus, thus of the family of Jesus. Matthias has nothing that can identify him except his long association with the followers of Jesus. Clement of Alexandria speaks of the writings of Matthias around 200AD. Eusebius mentions a gospel of Matthias as well. We do know the man chosen by the casting of lots is never heard from again. The disciples seemed to feel this was necessary to do before the coming of the Holy Ghost. Possibly this was the final act of the old dispensation, sealing it forever. One thing was sure; if one whom Jesus had hand picked failed, how could they be sure their choice was the correct choice? They resorted to the time tested method of casting the lots. The lot fell upon Matthias. 

Thanks for reading today….