ACTS CHAPTER ONE
I. JESUS' FINAL CHARGE TO HIS DISCIPLES
VERSE 1 - "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all
that Jesus began both to do and teach,"
A. "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus"
1. This book that Luke was writing was really a continuation
of he had written in the book of Luke. It was an explanation of what Jesus
had began and what he was continuing to do through his apostles and other
2. Theophilus literally means "friend of God."
B. "of all that Jesus began both to do and teach"
VERSES 2-3 "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:
To whom also he showed 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:"
1. Notice that Jesus set a great example for us. Jesus not
only taught his truth. He put it into action in his own life.
A. "Until the day in which he was taken up"
1. Luke takes up where he concluded his gospel- with the ascension
B. "after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments
unto the apostles"
1. It is accurate to speak of Jesus working "through the Spirit"
since he was in possession of the measureless gift of the Spirit (John
2. It is likely the commandments that Luke had in mind were
the great commission and the instructions to remain in Jerusalem until
the pouring out of the Spirit upon the apostles and the coming of the kingdom
C. "To whom also he showed himself after his passion by many
infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days."
1. There were some 12 occasions on which during the forty days
after Jesus death and resurrection that Jesus appeared to his disciples.
1 Corinthians 15:5-7 states that he appeared to over 500 brethren at one
time. It was more than a one time event. It was on numerous occasions over
a 40 day period.
2. The ASV simply uses the word "proofs" and drops the word
"infallible." It is significant that, while the word infallible is not
specifically in the greek, it's equivalent is found in the greek word for
proof. It literally means, "a criterion of certainty, infallible proof."
The NASV is to be preferred over the ASV, translating it "convincing proofs."
Jesus' appearances were completely convincing to all who saw them.
3. Jesus spoke to them of the "things pertaining to the kingdom
of God." There are some things we can be sure that Jesus told them.
a. Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Luke
24:44, 45, 47)
b. All men would be part of Jesus' kingdom. (Matthew 28:18-20)
c. Jesus would always be with his church (Matthew 28:20)
VERSES 4-5 "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
d. From what we shall see, Jesus did not answer the question
that was on the minds of all the apostles, when the kingdom would be established.
A. "that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for
the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me."
1. This is the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, which
Jesus made on the night which he was betrayed.
2. See John 14:26; 15:26,27; 16:12,13
3. Jerusalem was promised as the starting point for God's kingdom
a. Isaiah 2:1-4
B. "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized
with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."
1. There are five baptism spoken of in the New Testament.
a. The children of Israel being baptized with the clouds and
sea (1 Corinthians 10:2).
b. Baptism of John (Luke 7:29-30).
c. Baptism of suffering (Mark 10:38-39)
d. Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5)
e. Baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11-12)
f. Baptism of the Great Commission (Acts 2:38)
2. The first three have either come to pass, the baptism of
fire will take place on Jesus' enemies in Hell. Only the last one will
last until "the end of the world."
a. Was commanded to all (Acts 2:38)
b. Paul says that there is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:5)
3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was promised to the apostles.
a. It was given to the apostle Paul to qualify him as an apostle
"born out of due season."
1. Note - Although the New Testament does not record the giving
of the baptismal measure of the Spirit to the apostle Paul we can conclude
that he received it just as the other apostles did. Paul said that he was
not inferior to the "chiefest apostle" (2 Corinthians 12:11). See also
2 Corinthians 12:12
VERSES 6-7 "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."
b. It was given to the household of Cornelius as a special
case to convince the Jews that the Gentiles should be accepted as part
of the body of Christ (Acts 11:15-18).
A. "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom
1. Even at this late date in the ministry of Jesus the apostles
did not have an understanding of the nature of the kingdom of God.
2. They still believed, like most of their countrymen, that
God would establish earthly Israel to a exalted position in the world.
a. See Matthew 20:20-21; John 6:15
b. It is significant that after the coming of the Holy Spirit,
the apostles were enlightened as to the true nature of the kingdom.
3. Even their misunderstanding proves that the kingdom had
not yet been established before Jesus ascended to Heaven.
B. "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which
the Father hath put in his own power."
1. It was not important for the apostles to know the "when"
of the kingdom; the Father knew and had power over the timing.
2. Jesus was not overly concerned about the apostles misunderstanding
concerning the kingdom at this time. The Holy Spirit would bring to their
remembrance, starting in ten days, of all that Jesus had said concerning
the subject (John 14:26).
3. If the apostles were not allowed such dating, why do we
believe that men today can tell the date of Christ's second coming.
VERSE 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."
a. See Matthew 25:13
A. "But ye shall received power, after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you."
1. Jesus said that the kingdom would come in the lifetime of
some of his disciples.
a. Mark 9:3
2. The Holy Ghost coming upon them is synonymous with the baptism
of the Holy Spirit.
B. "and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem..."
1. This is the same promise as Luke records in Luke 24:46-48.
2. The greek word for witness carries with it the idea of a
witness at a judicial proceeding. The apostles could be witnesses of Jesus'
resurrection because they had seen it. No one today can be witnesses in
the New Testament sense because they have not seen Jesus personally.
C. "unto the uttermost part of the earth."
1. Before the apostles were finished with their ministry, they
had taken the gospel to all the know world.
II. THE ASCENSION OF JESUS
2. See Colossians 1:23
VERSES 9-11 "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."
A. "And when he had spoken these things..."
1. This is another link between Luke and Acts. Luke ends his
gospel with the ascension (Luke 24:51).
B. "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven has he went
up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel"
1. While the "men" here are not specified as angels, it is
logical to assume that they were.
2. Their sudden appearance, their clothing in white, and their
deep spiritual insight are all evidence that they were no mere men.
C. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven..."
1. All the apostles, with the exception of Judas from Judea,
2. The purpose what to get these men to not be obsessed with
the fact that Jesus had left them, but to look forward to the great task
ahead and to have confidence that Jesus would come back some day.
3. Jesus would come back in the same manner, "in the clouds",
that he ascended.
III. THE WAITING IN JERUSALEM
a. Matthew 26:64
VERSE 12 - "Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called
Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey."
A. "Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called
1. Mt. Olivet was just a short distance outside the gates of
Jerusalem, well under a mile.
a. It did not tower above Jerusalem, being about 300 feet higher
than the temple mount.
2. It was the site of Jesus great Olivet Discourse, in which
Jesus tells of the destruction of Jerusalem and his final coming.
3. Jesus also went out from the upper room to it, where the
Garden of Gethsemane was located (Matthew 26:30).
B. "which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey."
VERSES 13-14 "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."
1. The "sabbath day's journey" was not found in the Old Testament
but was a tradition that had become entrenched by the first century. It
was about 2,000 cubits, or about 3/5 of a mile. It was based on the tradition
that no place in the camp of the Israelites in the wilderness was 2,000
cubits. Hence it was thought that it would not violate the Old Testament
law concerning work on the Sabbath.
A. "they went up into an upper room" (Three possibilities concerning
where this was)
1. A room in the temple - would seem unlikely, owing to the
fact that they were the disciples of Jesus, whom the temple authorities
had just executed.
2. The room in the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark -
has the force of tradition behind it. Tradition, however has often been
wrong concerning Bible places and people.
3. A room in the house of some anonymous disciple - possible.
B. "Peter and James, and John...." (Some thoughts on the apostles)
1. All the apostles were now gathered together now, no longer
scattered as before.
2. Possibly Peter, James, and John were mentioned first because
they had been closest to the Lord. Other than that, there seems to be no
reason why the apostles were mentioned in the order in which they were.
3. This is the last personal reference to several of these
apostles. We should not think that they did not do a great deal of spiritual
work in the future. Tradition tells us that all the apostles, with the
exception of John, were martyred for the faith.
C. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,
with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
1. They were united with one purpose - the waiting for the
Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.
2. They were not "praying down the Spirit", as Pentecostals
believe, but were simply waiting for Jesus' promise and naturally in prayer
VERSE 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,)
3. It is significant to note that this is the last time that
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned in the New Testament. If she had
the exalted position that the Catholic church believes she does, it would
be logical to assume that she would have a more prominent place in the
work of the New Testament church.
A. "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples"
1. It is not surprising for Peter to take the lead, since he
often did so during the public ministry of Jesus and spoke for the other
B. "(the number of names together about an hundred and twenty,)"
1. Jesus appeared to over 500 brethren at one time during his
VERSES 16-20 "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 bishopric let another take."
2. These included Mary the mother of Jesus, his brothers and
sisters, and likely such disciples as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
A. "which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before
1. The prophecy spoken of by Peter is found in Psalm 41:9.
a. This falls in a category of Old Testament prophecies that
were spoken at the time of writing to refer to a contemporary event.
b. While they were spoken by the writers as being fulfilled
in their time, the Holy Spirit, who was guiding the writers, meant it to
have a fulfillment in New Testament times.
c. This is usually referred to as a "dual prophecy."
2. Remember, when an inspired man give an inspired interpretation
on a passage, it must be true.
3. Did God predestine that Judas would betray Jesus and be
a. While God did not force Judas to betray Jesus, he had foreknowledge
of Judas' greedy tendencies.
b. There was nothing, other than Judas' sinful heart that kept
him, like the apostle Peter, from turning in repentance for his sin. Those
on the day of Pentecost delivered up Jesus to be crucified, yet were willing
to repent and be baptized.
B. "Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity"
1. This was with the funds that Judas had received for betraying
2. twenty pieces of silver.
3. Some see a contradiction between Peter's account of Judas'
death and Matthew's. Not really. Matthew describes the hanging of Judas,
Peter records the result after Judas' rotting corpse had fallen from the
tree and burst asunder.
a. Judas is an excellent example of "sorrow of the world that
worketh death." Godly sorrow always leads to repentance. Judas' "repentance"
led to a sin, his own suicide.
b. See 2 Corinthians 7:10
4. The location is thought to be the valley of Hinnom, which
was a deposit for dead bodies. Matthew speaks of it as a potter's field
because the part of it that was purchased had deposits of clay for pottery.
C. "For it is written in the book of Psalms..."
1. This is taken from two passages, Psalm 69:25 and 109:8.
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, show
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."
2. David spoke theses in reference to his enemies, Peter refers
it to Judas.
A. Peter gives the qualifications for an apostle.
1. He would need to be a constant companion of Jesus ("all
2. He must have been with them "from the baptism of John."
3. He would have to be a witness of the ascension.
4. He would need to be a witness of Christ's resurrection.
5. It is important that we realize that no one can qualify
as an apostle today.
6. Paul was specially chosen and qualified by Jesus after his
a. See Acts 26:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:8.
B. There were two men who were appointed.
1. It is possible that these two men were the only ones in
their company who met the strict qualifications laid down by Peter.
2. Justus and Matthias.
3. It is evident that the Lord was pleased with the selection
of these two men, for after the apostles prayed for guidance, the Lord
showed his choice - Matthias.
a. The casting of lots was a commonly accepted Old Testament
practice. See Proverbs 16:33 and Numbers 26:55. It was accompanied with
petitions to the Lord and an abiding with the decision as that of God.
Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott
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4. Note that over 30 years after the events Luke records that
Matthias was number with the apostles.