Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Acts 1

Jesus was murdered during the Jewish Passover, and was raised from the dead three days later. There are fifty days between Passover and Pentecost, another Jewish holiday. Luke records that Jesus spent forty days with his followers, speaking to them about the Kingdom of God (1:3).

Before ascending, Jesus told them to return to Jerusalem (the one place they never wanted to go back to). He told them to wait there until they received the Holy Spirit. They obviously didn't understand that completely, but they obeyed. The first statement in verse 12 is very vivid to me: "Then they returned to Jerusalem." Jesus is gone again. He's told them to go to the place where he was murdered. It surely was a long Sabbath day's journey (1:12).

They did get one thing right, though. They devoted the next ten days to prayer. The eleven apostles were there, along with "the women" and Jesus' family. 1 Corinthians 15:7 says that during those forty days Jesus spent time with his brother James, and James finally believed that his older brother was the Messiah. Up to that point, only Mary believed, and she too had her moments of doubt.

Chapter 1 ends with Peter standing up before the 120 and declaring that Judas did what he did so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled. They now had to find his replacement. They prayed, then cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias.

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