Devotional # 43. 7/22/13. What happened after Jesus’ ascension?
This week’s Reading: Acts 1: 1-26.
Introduction. Last week we finished our trip through the Gospels, talking about Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, “great commission” and ascension. So what happened after Jesus’ spiritual body went to heaven? What did the disciples do? How did the early church start?
vv. 1-8. Here we are introduced to the writer. It is commonly thought that the author was doctor Luke who wasn’t an eye-witness but acted as a reporter. This is the same Luke that wrote the gospel of Luke. He is writing to Theophilus having investigated and interviewed from eye-witness accounts and proofs. Here he reiterates Jesus’ words and shows us that Jesus had told his followers not to leave Jerusalem because He would send the Holy Spirit to guide them and give them power.
vv. 9-11. Here we find out that there were two angels who talked to the disciples after Jesus ascended into the heavens. Can’t you imagine a group of men staring into the sky with open mouths having just watched a Man who raised from the dead and could walk through walls but also eat fish, float into space? But the angels tell them ‘OK guys, the shows over.’ Beyond that this is important because we know that when Jesus comes in what is usually called “the second coming” He will descend from the sky. Although his foot will not touch the earth (1 Thess. 4:17, Mt. 24:31, Ps. 50:5) at that time all who are raptured will meet him in the sky.
vv. 12-14. All of the disciples along with the ladies who were mentioned in the last couple of Devotionals fellowship together in Jerusalem. They were obedient to Jesus’ command. It is a beautiful thing to see that they “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (v. 14).
vv. 15-19. Notice there are around 120 people who have a church service and Peter speaks. He brings up the fact that when Judas betrayed Jesus he felt bad and hung himself. This left a spot open among the 12 disciples. Now this story is before the Holy Spirit has come down on them but they recognize when the Spirit has moved in the past (v. 16). So they understand what they are about to do was prophesied by the Holy Spirit and they must do it.
vv. 20-22. Here are the verses from Psalms 69:25 & 109:8 that Peter recognized as prophesy that Judas would be replaced. So they consider what people had been around since Jesus started his ministry. Who would have the same mind-set as the rest of the disciples? And most importantly, who had seen firsthand the risen Lord?
vv. 23-26. As a community they voted and came up with two guys: “Joseph called Barsabas” and “Matthias”. Then they prayed and brought it before God and He chose Matthias. The way that God showed His choice was by drawing “lots,” kind of like drawing straws. Nowadays we view it as a game of chance but in the Bible we see it was a way God would make a choice. You can read Num. 26:52-56; 1 Sam. 10:20-24; 1 Chron. 24:5-19; Neh. 11:1; Esther 3:7; Prov. 16:33, 18:18 and Lk. 1:9 for some examples. So why don’t we still use this method? Well, God doesn’t use it anymore and its use ended with the Levitical priesthood (Source 1).
Conclusion. This is a very interesting chapter because we see that Jesus didn’t immediately give His disciples plans and directions. All he said was to hang out in Jerusalem. Sometimes Jesus is telling us to say in our own “Jerusalem” and wait on Him. Do we fight this or accept it? And what do they do with the time? They have church, fellowshipping, praying and seeking God on fulfilling the Scriptures in replacing Judas. Read Ephesians 5:15-16. Are we spiritually redeeming the time? If we’re in a waiting room can we witness to others? If we are on break can we read the Bible? If we are commuting can we listen to a sermon? The point is that God has us where we are until He moves us so are we doing His will while we’re there?
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