May 12th Acts, 1
1: The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2: Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5: For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7: And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9: And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10: And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11: Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12: Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey. 13: And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14: These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 15: And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16: Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17: For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18: Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19: And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. 20: For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21: Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22: Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23: And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24: And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25: That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26: And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Luke writes this account to Theophilus even as he wrote his Gospel. And he writes to describe the ongoing work of Christ toward Israel through the apostolic ministry. Luke the Gentile Medical Doctor and companion of Paul outline the long history of the early church. He outlines the ongoing ministry of the apostles and of there slow transformation from a fully Jewish Church with Jewish thinking and customs and with a Jewish hope to a church made up of Jews and Gentiles living in christian fellowship. There are a number of significant events in this narrative From the appointment of Matthias to the day of Pentecost. From the healing of the Lame man to the deliverance from prison of Peter. From the Conversion of Saul to the Conversion of Cornelius. From the missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas to the Council of Jerusalem. From the second missionary Journey to the rejection of the Gospel at Rome by the Jews. When we arrive at Chapter 28 we find that the Gospel of the Kingdom has gone out to the whole Jewish world and that shortly the Roman legions will march on Jerusalem. For 40 Years the Gospel was preached to Israel calling on them to repent and return to the God of their Fathers. Now in the end the Jews scattered will reject Christ even as the Jews of Jerusalem crucified Christ. During this period the Apostles Peter, James, John and possibly Paul (in Hebrews) write letters to warn the Jews not to reject their Messiah. All of this takes place before Paul in Rome writes regarding the church which is the body of Christ. This doctrine is set out in his prison epistles. But first we must turn to Acts Chapter 1. Luke’s Gospel takes the story of Christ in order right up until the day that Christ ascended. Christ remained with the disciples for 40 days teaching them the things regarding the kingdom of God. He told them that they were to remain in Jerusalem until they were empowered from above. He describes the great change that will separate the old order from the new – the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John being the last prophet of the old order was never baptised with the Holy Spirit. he was never a christian or part of the Church which is body. The disciples were still thinking within the framework of the Messianic kingdom, which Christ had always said was near at hand so they ask him will you now restore the kingdom to Israel. All through the OT God had promised that when the Messiah came he would establish a kingdom on earth more glorious than Solomon’s. In which he would bring universal peace and prosperity to the whole world and in which Abraham Isaac and Jacob and all the OT saints would be raised from the dead to sit with the Messiah and see the blessing of God rest on every family of the earth. They asked, are you going to do this now? Christ responded that it was not for then to know the times and seasons and then to moves their train of thought to the coming of the Holy Spirit and of their mission which would start in Jerusalem and eventually reach the whole world. At this moment Christ ascended up into heaven. At that moment two angels appeared and said why are you looking up into heaven Jesus will come back in the same way that you have seen him go into heaven. The Disciples returned to Jerusalem to an upper room where they continued in prayer and supplication. During those ten days Peter led the assembly to appoint a witness to the resurrection to be numbered with the eleven. Judas had died. They prayed and asked the Lord to give his decision by lot and then they cast lots in the Jewish custom and the lot fell on Matthias.