Tag Archives: Acts 1-3

November 12, 2017 Bible Study — Aftermath Of The Resurrection

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Acts 1-3.

    The first thing I want to point out is that between His resurrection and His ascension, Jesus ate food on a regular basis (Luke mentions “Once when He was eating with them…”). That tells us that Jesus’ resurrected body was a physical body. When the disciples asked Jesus when He would overthrow the Roman Empire, He told them the dates and times for that were not for them to know. This clearly tells us that we cannot learn the date of Jesus’ return by studying prophecy. Another thing which Luke lets drop as if it was a minor point is that there were others among Jesus’ disciples aside from the Twelve, who had started following Jesus when He was baptized by John and were still among His followers after His resurrection. We do not know how many, but we know it was significantly more than two (if it had only been four or five, it seems to me that they would have just drawn lots between all of them rather than nominate two for selection between).

    I want to bring to your attention, and mine, that the disciples experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in a way which no one could miss. There were some who dismissed it a them being drunk, and I am sure there were those in the crowd who thought they were crazy, but the key thing is that people outside the room knew that something was happening. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, people notice.
    In this passage we have two speeches by Peter where he called on the people listening to repent. After each speech we are told that many people joined the disciples in worshiping Jesus. In both speeches Peter accused his listeners of being responsible for Jesus’ death. He does not sugar coat it. He makes no caveat that some of them were not present in the city at the time (although many of those present would not have been). In the second speech Peter allows that they acted in ignorance, but under Jewish Law ignorance was no excuse for sin. Peter was not afraid to call those he was calling to repentance sinners. He was not afraid that they would be offended. There is a time and a place for tact. When we are calling people to repentance is not that time or place.

November 12, 2016 Bible Study — The Good News: A Sequel

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Acts 1-3.

    I want to start by making a comment on my title. The Book of Acts (also known as the Acts of the Apostles) is really just a continuation of Luke’s first book, “The Gospel of According to Luke”. By writing this book Luke tells us that he thinks we need to know more than just what Jesus said and did. We need to see how those who had seen those things first hand applied them.
    After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the remaining disciples regularly gathered for prayer and worship. At one of these gatherings Peter proposed that they needed to select someone to take Judas Iscariot’s place among the Twelve. Those gathered agreed with Peter and nominated two men. They chose between the two men by “casting the lot”. In this way they allowed the Holy Spirit final say in choosing Judas’ successor. There was a time when congregations in the Mennonite Church selected their pastors in this manner, and while there were flaws in the system I think it provided for a better system than our current one where we select our pastors from among those who seek the position.

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    I firmly believe that Peter selected the time he did to propose replacing Judas because most, if not all, of the remaining disciples were present. By Luke’s count that means there were around 120 such disciples who chose to continue to pursue following Jesus’ teachings. That is not a very large number to start a religious movement. I was going to go a different direction when something very significant struck me about those 120 believers. “They all met together and were united in prayer.” Right there Luke tells us something important about this small group. First, they all met together on a regular basis. Second, they were united in prayer. I know that I do not pray enough. Even worse, I do not pray enough with other believers. This small group of believers had lost their leader. All most people knew about them was that He had been executed by the Roman authorities. Then, all of sudden something changed. The Holy Spirit descended upon them and 3,000 people joined their group in one day. They did so, at least in part, in response to Peter’s sermon. Peter did not cut them any slack in that sermon, “you nailed him to a cross and killed him.”
    So, the lessons I take from this: we need to meet regularly and pray, we need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to make change, and we need to not sugarcoat the sins our audience (or ourselves) have committed.