The Book of ACTS Study Part 1
Study of the Book of ACTS Part 1
Luke’s two volume account Gospel & ACTS
- Who was Luke? He was a companion of Paul, who accompanied him on some of his missionary journeys, therefore an eyewitness to a number of the events outlined in the book. Luke, obviously an educated man, is believed to have been a Gentile Physician.
- Theophilus – meaning, “dear to God”, an unknown person, some have reasoned that Luke is referring to the Church, though there is no evidence to support this idea.
- Luke makes plain that he researched his writings carefully, gathering information from many sources. Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the thing accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1
- The Books of Luke and Acts were circulated as one complete volume until the decision to circulate the 4 Gospels as one collection of accounts
What Jesus BEGAN to do and teach
- This summarizes the content of the Gospels, they are a record of what Jesus DID (His works) and what Jesus TAUGHT
- The inference here … The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach v.1 … implies that the Book of ACTS is about the continuation of the Ministry of Jesus through His followers
- We can further surmise that until Jesus returns He will continue to perform His Ministry through His followers in the same way He did when on Earth
40 Days. The post resurrection appearances and teaching about the Kingdom of God
- Jesus appeared to His followers in various ways for 40 days following His resurrection – almost 6 weeks. This is a considerable time, during which He taught them many things about the Kingdom of God. There does not appear to be an order to His appearances. Some personal appearance are noted and were later considered important – like His appearance to James, His brother, who went on to become a significant leader in the early Church.
- Paul notes the following Resurrection Appearances 1 Cor 15:5-7 “and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;”
- The “brother” of Jesus” The word “brother,” in Hebrew, also means “blood sibling” so James may have been a relative.
- The “in-between” age. “At Christ’s first coming the age to come invaded this present age; at His coming in Glory the age to come will have altogether superseded this present age. Between the two comings the two ages overlap; the people of Christ live temporarily in this present age while Spiritually they belong to the Heavenly Kingdom and enjoy by anticipation the life of the age to come.” F. Bruce – Commentary on Acts
The command and the Promise of the Father
- The Holy Spirit is the “Promise of the Father”
- The Promise was given through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32).
- The Promise was proclaimed by John the Baptist (John 1:29-34).
- The Promise was referred to by the Lord Himself (John 7:37-39; John 14:16-17; John 15:26; John 16:6-7 and 13-14; and Acts 1:8.)
- Jesus told them to “wait” until the promise came, but does not seem to indicate how the promise would be experienced
You will receive POWER
- Power – exousia – the power or more accurately “authority” to rule, as with a government. An elected Government is given the authority (exousia) to rule the nation.
- Compare with Matthew 9:6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”
- Power and Authority – exousia and dunamis. Power stands behind authority, you need both to function. Jesus has been given ALL AUTHORITY, the Holy Spirit bestows POWER to exercise that authority and changes take place (see ACTS 2)
- There is a “therefore” in the relationship between authority and power. Jesus has all authority … therefore …. He sends out the Church anointed with the (dunamis) power of the Holy Spirit “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.” Mat 28:18-19
The Ascension Glory Cloud and the witness of the Angels
- The Shekinah Glory Cloud surrounds Jesus (compare with the Transfiguration – Luke 9:28-36)
- Parallels to Daniel (in appearance) and more significantly – 2 Kings 2 – Elijah and Elisha – “the double portion anointing” given by Elijah to Elisha upon his ascension.
- The Ascension of Jesus and His Second Coming are paralleled here. Jesus will return in exactly the same way that He departed the Earth. It will be public and every eye will see Him returning on the clouds. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. Rev 1:7
- Two Angels address those gathered and announce that Jesus will return in the same way that He departed …. “with the clouds”
In the Upper Room, the Apostles, Mary and the Brothers of Jesus with the rest of the 120
- This was likely the same place in which the Last Supper took place prior to Jesus arrest.
- They were together – devoting themselves to prayer 14
- Among the 120 were, the Disciples and their families, Mary, Jesus’ Mother and a number of His “brother” (see not above)
The replacement of Judas and the appointment of Matthias as the 12th Apostle
- Peter takes the lead in explaining Judas’ suicide. He then leads the Apostles to choose another to replace him.
- The qualifications are clear, it must be someone who was with Jesus and the Disciples for the whole of Jesus’ ministry – a witness to His teaching and Ministry.
- Two are chosen, who are equally qualified, Joseph and Matthias. In the tradition of the OT, lots are cast between them, trusting the result to the providence of God. Matthias is chosen to replace Judas.
- It is interesting that this is the last time that lots are used to make a decision like this. Following the coming of the Holy Spirit, the leadership of Jesus is more closely seen through the exercise of Spiritual Gifts. (Compare with Acts 15 – The Council at Jerusalem, which was decided by a Word of Wisdom given by James)