Acts1: 15-26

Written by kathleen on Nov 16, 2014 in - No Comments

Acts 1:15-26

Wrestling with a decisions

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus-

Peter takes a natural leadership role among the disciples. There is nothing wrong with seeing Peter as the leader of the first group of the apostles, even as he often was the spokesman among the disciples during the earthly ministry of Jesus.

The hundred and twenty list began in verse 14

From the time of the resurrection until the Holy Spirit came upon them in the upper room a huge change has taken place in Peters life.

Peter’s words now show a wisdom we did not see in him before; he begins by noting that Judas didn’t spoil God’s plan, he fulfilled it (this Scripture had to be fulfilled). This is something that only the spiritually wise and mature can see especially when evil happens.

Notice that Peter was a student of prophecy. He said, “This Scripture must be fulfilled.” He was absolutely certain that prophecy would always come to pass.

Not only was Peter a student of prophecy, but he believed in the divine inspiration of Scripture, saying it was the Holy Spirit who spoke through David.

Three basic fundamental beliefs Peter had that we need to have! #1 Confidence in the Scriptures. #2 Recognition that it is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and #3 the Word of God it is inerrant therefore if it is in the Bible It will happen!

2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped  (made perfect) for every good work.

And if you ever get involved in a church or become part of a Bible study group where the teacher says, we can’t be sure if this verse or this section is inspired; You need to immediately stand up, walk out, and never go back.

Because once you start to say, “I’ll decide which part of the Bible is inspired and which part isn’t,” you suddenly become the judge of the Bible rather than allowing the Bible to judge you.

And it’s amazing what verses we will cross out given the opportunity!

Let me challenge you to go through your Bibles and meditate on all the verses you don’t have underlined. We have all the promises starred and all the blessings highlighted, while verses like, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12) are unmarked!

17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.” 18(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.

We know from Matthew 27:3-10 Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” 5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they cunsulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,  10 “and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.”   

The field outside of a potter’s house is where he would throw any of his broken work because they had become hard and could not be reshaped. So over the years, due to the accumulation of broken pottery, the field would become useless for anything but a burial ground.

Judas hanged himself but in those days hanging was not done with a rope. The person to be executed was either crucified on one of several devices in the form of a cross,; or they were impaled on a sharp pointed steak place just under the rib cage. And if this was the case, when he fell his body split open from the fall!

This particular field became known as the Field of Blood not only because Judas spilled his blood there, but also because the field was purchased with the “blood money” given to the betrayer of Jesus.

Thus the prophecy of the Old Testament was fulfilled in the betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver.                                                          

Zech 11:12-13  I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”-the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.                                                                                                                       

The next time you feel like you’re hard and dry or the next time you feel useless, the next time you feel there’s no hope for you, remember Aceldama—the field of blood—for even the place where the traitor died was purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ

20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms, “‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ 

David was the writer of these Psalms, and he knew what it was like to be betrayed by another. When he was a fugitive from Saul, he was betrayed by a man named Doeg (1 Samuel 21-22), and many innocent people died as a result. David may have written these very words in reference to this betrayer.

Peter quoted from Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8. This confirms to me that Peter knew the Scriptures. And I suspect Peter’s knowledge of the written Word came from hanging out with the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

This wasn’t the wisdom of man, but a principle revealed in Scripture concerning the inerrancy of God’s Word

21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”  These were the qualifications to be met!  23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

The one who took Judas’ office was to have been a witness of Jesus’ life from his baptism to the resurrection

Even at this point with no mention of the Holy Spirit Leading them; the disciples were able to make a decision because they knew from God’s Word what to do. Even when we don’t “feel” the Holy Spirit impressing on our hearts, we still have God’s voice established in His Word to guide and confirm our decisions

In this situation there was no direct, awesome revelation from God; But their common sense was being blessed because they were in obedience, in fellowship, in prayer, in the Word, and desiring God’s will even if it didn’t answer everything; it did narrow it down to two men. The main job of the new apostle was simply to become a witness with us of His resurrection. Just as we are to do by showing that Jesus lives in our lives.

Eph 2:8-10  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

24  And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”

When Jesus choose the disciples He prayed (Luke 6:12-13), even as these disciples did, they prayed first to see who the Lord would add to their number.

Though they were not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, as they would be, they still wanted to choose a method that would make them rely on God.

Again going to the word of God to find direction they considered Proverbs 16:33The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.  

The casting of lots may be an imperfect way to discern God’s will, but it is much better than the methods many Christians use today, relying on emotions, circumstances, feelings, carnal desires and even their horoscope

The casting of lots was a common practice in Old Testament times. If a person wanted to know God’s will, he would go to the high priest who had the Urim and the Thummim in his breastplate. The Urim and the Thummim were possibly two stones, one black and one white. When asked a question, the high priest would offer a prayer and then pull out a stone, perhaps black meaning No or stop and white meaning yes or Go

A specific example of an Old Testament character involved in the casting of lots is found in the Book of Jonah. Sailors on the boat cast lots to determine whose fault the storm was before they tossed him overboard. Along with many accounts of decision process using the casting of lots. Stone sticks straw bones

People today still think that casting lots is a good idea. They look at the account of Gideon in Judges 6, they call it “setting out a fleece”

Judges 6:36-40 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said– 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.

 But that’s not the way of the New Testament.

In Acts 13 When Paul and Barnabas are commissioned for ministry, it was not through the casting of lots, but through the voice of the Spirit. All the while being confirmed in Gods word! How did He speak?  I suggest it was through the gift of prophecy Acts 13:2-3 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

Next time you have a decision to make, or a struggle within, I would highly encourage you to get together with other brothers and sisters and say, “Would you pray with me about this?” While you may not get immediate vision or direction, God will honor such prayer and will fulfill His promise to “write His will upon the table of your heart”

Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

It amazes me how reluctant we are to do that. We’ll talk to our spouses, we’ll wrestle with ourselves, but we will rarely ask someone else to seek the Lord with us. The one who does, will receive from the Lord in a special way

The disciples were in obedience to the Lord they were in fellowship, they were in prayer, they were in the Word, they wanted to do God’s will, they used sanctified common sense, they did what Jesus would do, and they did what they could do to rely on God for the outcome! We must believe that all these things put them into the place where God would truly guide their decision.

How many wrong decisions would we make if we did all of these things before making a decision?

Although Peter knew the Word and was right in discerning that Judas needed to be replaced it is possible that he and the other disciples may have acted a little to soon when they chose two men and said, “Now, Lord, which of these two do You want?”

26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Many bible teachers believe God’s choice was neither man. Revelation 21:14 tells us that The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Their thought is that we won’t see Matthias’ name on any of those foundations. We’ll see Paul’s name as the one who should have filled Judas’ office.

This happens to be the first and last mention of Matthias.  So we don’t know anything else about him except that he was selected by this method of casting lots to determine who would take the place of Judas Iscariot.

It could be that the disciples got ahead of the Lord by trying to make something happen before the power of the Spirit came upon them on the Day of Pentecost.

That’s a mistake I frequently make.

I’ll see something in the Word and say, “Okay, now how can I make this happen?” instead of saying, “I see what it is; but now I’m going to wait on You Lord for the power of Your Spirit to bring it about.”

Maybe you’re wrestling with a decision right now, saying,

I want my life and circumstances to change but I don’t know what to do!

“Which one is it, Lord? This or that? Here or there? Go or stay?  What do You want, Lord?

Go back to the main principles of decision making

The disciples were in obedience to the Lord they were in fellowship, they were in prayer, they were in the Word, they wanted to do God’s will, they used sanctified common sense, they did what Jesus would do, and they did what they could do to rely on God.