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Bible Commentaries
Acts 1

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

[The text I use to preach and teach is the New King James Version. This is the translation that is used in in this commentary.]

1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

1. The former account - Reference is made to the first book written by Luke, the gospel which bears his name.

2. Theophilus means "Lover of God" - Luke addressed him as "most excellent" which would imply he was a high ranking officer in the Roman army or a government official.

3. The first book contained the life of Jesus - his actions and his teachings, miracles and parables, birth and death.

Verse 2

2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,

1. Until - Jesus did not stop teaching at this death. Following his resurrection he taught the apostles and disciples many things about the coming kingdom.

2. He was taken up in a cloud, into heaven itself and is now at the right hand of God.

3. Before his ascension he gave some specific commands to the apostles. We call it the Great Commission. This command includes commands for the apostles and for those whom they teach.

1. The apostles were to go into all the world, teach and preach to every creature in every nation. They were to share the gospel (good news) of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

2. Those who heard the message were to believe and obey the commands of Jesus in faith, repentance and baptism.

Verse 3

3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

1. Presented himself alive - His resurrection was not a secret event. His resurrection was witnessed by many people, in addition to the apostles.

2. After his passion (KJV) - He was seen alive, walking, talking, after His suffering. The term "passion" is used to include the trial, cruel death AND triumphant resurrection.

3. 40 days - There are 50 days between Passover and Pentecost. Jesus was with his apostles for 40 days - leaving only 10 days until Pentecost.

4. Kingdom of God - The apostles still did not understand the nature of Christ's Kingdom. They are still thinking about a physical kingdom, one that would overthrow the Romans and return control to the Jews.

Verse 4

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, " which, " He said, " you have heard from Me;

1. Not to depart from Jerusalem - Jesus told the apostles not to scatter. They were not to go back to their homes in Galilee. They were to wait in Jerusalem.

2. Wait for the Promise - Study Joh_14:1-31 ; Joh_15:1-27 ; Joh_16:1-33 . Jesus promised that when he left, the Holy Spirit would come to guide, lead, direct and inspire them into all truth. All of those promises are near.

Verse 5

5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. "

1. Baptism of John - There are many ways the baptism of John are similar to the baptism of the great commission. Both baptisms involve a) Immersion; b) In water; c) For the remission of sins; d) Repentance; e) Faith in Christ. (NOTE: The baptism of John involved a faith that Jesus would come and die. The faith in the great commission baptism was a faith in the fact that Jesus had come, died and been raised.)

2. Baptism - The word means "immerse, submerge, dip, plunge, overwhelm. The word is used literally about John's baptism and baptism into Christ. The word is also used in a figurative sense - where some were "immersed" in some other element.

3. There are 7 baptisms mentioned in the New Testament

1. John - Luk_3:2-6

2. Jesus - Mat_3:13-17

3. Suffering - Mat_20:22

4. Fire - Mat_3:11-12

5. Holy Spirit - Act_1:5

6. Israel - 1Co_10:1-2

7. Commanded - Mar_16:16 ; Act_2:38

4. Not many days from now - Just 10 days of waiting.

Verse 6

6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, " Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? "

1. Is this the time? - After all the teaching, they still did not understand the nature of the Kingdom of Christ. They do not see the coming church and kingdom as the same entity. Jesus used the word interchangeably in Mat_16:18-19 .

2. The Kingdom came in first century. All references before Act_2:1-47 speak of a future coming. All references after Act_2:1-47 speak of the kingdom in the present tense. See Col_1:13-14 ; Rev_1:9 . There were Christians in the kingdom in the first century.

3. Restore to Israel - This was never the intent or promise of Jesus. He was going to ESTABLISH a kingdom, not RESTORE one.

Verse 7

7 And He said to them, " It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

1. Not for you to know - It is none of your business. God has the authority, power and control. God has revealed all that we need to get from earth to heaven. God has not told us all that He knows or plans.

2. There are many things we do not know. If God wanted us to know - He would have told us.

Verse 8

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. "

1. You will receive power - All references to receiving the Holy Spirit are - measures of power. The Holy Spirit is always discussed as an amount of power demonstrated or given.

2. There are various measures (amounts of power)

1. Jesus - without measure; beyond measure

2. Apostles - Holy Spirit baptism - able to do all miracles; inspiration; revelation

3. Spiritual gifts - Laying on of apostles hands gave early Christians a gift (not all the gifts)

4. Gift of the Holy Spirit - Act_2:38 - Lead, protect, guide, power to overcome sin and temptation, power to be raised with Christ

3. Witnesses - A witness is one who observed the events of the death, burial, resurrection and teachings of Christ.

4. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, To the end of the earth - Here is the plan of God for getting the message to every creature in every nation. Start where you are - Jerusalem. The word will spread to the area around Jerusalem, then to neighboring areas and eventually around the world.

Verse 9

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

1. While they watched - They were eyewitnesses. This was not some fable they made up to explain why Jesus was no longer visible on earth.

2. Peter makes this very clear in 2Pe_1:16-21 .

Verse 10

10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,

1. Two men - Angels are the messengers of God. They often appear on earth in human form to carry a message or do some work for God.

2. Compare Joh_20:12 (angels) and Mat_28:5 (angel) and Act_1:10 (two men).

Verse 11

11 who also said, " Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven. "

1. Why gaze into the heavens? - Many today are looking to the heavens for the answers to life questions. Horoscopes and Astrology are not going to help. Gazing into the heavens (stars and planets) are not where the answers are located.

2. He will return - The return of Christ will be similar to his ascension because both events invovle:

1. The same manner (clouds)

2. The same speed (suddenly)

3. The same warning (none)

3. Heaven - There are 3 ways "heaven" is used in the Bible.

1. Clouds, where birds fly - atmosphere

2. Space - planets, stars, sun, moon

3. Heaven itself - Where God dwells, the eternal reward of the faithful

Verse 12

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day ' s journey.

1. Sabbath day's journey - Albert Barnes says, " As far as might be lawfully traveled by a Jew on the Sabbath. This was 2,000 paces or cubits, or seven furlongs and a half - not quite one mile."

2. Many invented loopholes in this law

1. Where do you start measuring? - You measure from home.

2. Where is "home"? - It is where you eat your bread.

3. Carry bread with you. Sit down on a rock - eat some bread = this is home. You can now travel 9/10 of a mile - sit down and eat some bread - and travel again.

Verse 13

13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.

1. They returned to Jerusalem as Jesus commanded. They entered the upper room. Was this the same room where Jesus ate with his apostles? Possibly.

2. Why "upper room" - This was the large area in many houses. This room was often used to lay out bodies for funerals, large family gatherings, and to separate group activities from the activities of the house below. Many meetings took place in these rooms because of the open space available.

3. Peter, James, John, Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot - Judas the son of James - 11 are named.

4. Judas the son of James is also called Thaddeaus - See Joh_14:22

Verse 14

14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

1. All 11 remained together. They now needed each other. Jesus was not with them to "guard, guide and direct" them.

2. With the women - This would include the women at the cross and those who went to the tomb early on resurrection morning. Specifically mentioned is Mary, the mother of Jesus.

3. And his brothers - This is IMPORTANT. This is more than a casual reference to other family members. Jesus' brothers are named in Mat_13:55 .

1. These brothers did not believe Jesus during His ministry. See Joh_7:5 .

2. James becomes a "pillar in the church" at Jerusalem. Gal_1:19 ; Gal_2:9

3. James and Jude wrote books in our New Testament.

Verse 15

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,

1. In those days - What did the apostles do during the 10 day period of waiting following Jesus ascension?

2. 120 disciples - The death of Jesus did not scatter or reduce the number of followers. Here are 120 believers together at one time. 1Co_15:6 mentions more than 500 disciples at one place at one time.

Verse 16

16 " Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;

1. Psa_41:9 is the passage mentioned here.

2. Peter believed the words of David were inspired of God. The Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David.

Verse 17

17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry. "

1. He was numbered with us - He was one of the twelve. He was fully accepted as one of the apostles.

2. He is in the lists of the original 12 apostles in Luk_6:13-16 and Mat_10:2-4 .

3. He was a part of the ministry - Judas went out on limited commission. He traveled with the other apostles. Don't try to deny it. He was one of the apostles. Some who teach the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" have a problem with Judas. So they try to say he was never "really" an apostle.

Verse 18

18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.

1. Purchased a field - This plot of ground was known as the potters field. It was a place to bury those who could not afford a cemetery plot.

2. Suicide - Suicide is an extremely difficult time for the family.

1. Suicide is a cry for help. Most who commit suicide have a problem that THEY SEE as bigger than life.

2. When, in a person's mind, a problem becomes bigger than life, no solution can be seen by them. There seems to be no hope. It is when they see no other way out - they will die at their own hands.

3. I believe most who die by suicide are mentally confused, disturbed and not thinking clearly. They are not responsible for their actions. If they were able to think clearly, they would see the reality of the problem.

4. Suicide is NOT the "unpardonable sin".

Verse 19

19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)

1. Akeldama is Chaldeean, the common language of the Jews at this time.

2. Remember, the Hebrew language became a dead language about 400 years earlier. Only scribes, priests and highly educated Jews knew the Hebrew language.

Verse 20

20 " For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it ' ; and, ‘Let another take his office. '

1. There are two quotations here. The first of from Psa_69:25 .

2. The second quote is from Psa_109:8 .

Verse 21

21 " Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

1. Requirements for a replacement apostle are set out here. He must have accompanied Jesus during earthly ministry.

2. Some "offices" have qualifications. To be appointed to the office one must meet the requirements. This is true for elders, deacons, and ministers.

Verse 22

22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. "

1. Faithful from the beginning - He must not be a late convert. He should have been a follower from the time of Jesus baptism and continued to His ascension.

2. He must have seen Jesus after His resurrection.

Verse 23

23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

1. We do not know the exact process they used. How did they narrow the names down to these two?

2. Two names were "nominated" from a potential list of hundreds.

3. Joseph (Joses) and Barsabas (Barnabas - Act_4:36 ) were selected.

Verse 24

24 And they prayed and said, " You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen

1. At important times like this they needed some divine help and guidance. Before Jesus chose the 12 He spent the night in prayer.

2. We must learn to lean on God in times of decision.

Verses 25-26

25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. "

26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

1. They cast lots - There were several systems of "casting lots"

1. Dropping black and white stones and see which side landed up.

2. Flipping coins - heads or tails

3. Drawing straws - short straw wins (or loses)

4. Names drawn out of a basket

2. Matthias was chosen

3. He was numbered with the 11 apostles. He is now an apostle - # 12.

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Acts 1". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/acts-1.html. 2021.
 
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