Sunday, March 7, 2010


Acts 1-3

The book of Acts begins with Luke's note to Theophilus that this continues the story which he began in the Gospel of Luke, "about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven." He tells that Jesus appeared to the apostles "and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive." Jesus told the disciples, during this post-resurrection time, that they were to wait in Jerusalem, because a gift from GOD was coming, that they would "be baptized with the Holy Spirit." They asked when the kingdom was going to be restored, and he told them that it was not for them "to know the times and dates the Father has set." But they would receive power, and be Jesus' witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." At which time he was taken up into the clouds. As they stood looking to where he had disappeared, two men "dressed in white" told them that he would come back "the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

The disciples met in Jerusalem and decided that they needed to add one more apostle, replacing Judas, bringing the number back to twelve. They considered two men, and, after praying and casting lots, chose Matthias.

Chapter 2 relates that on the day of Pentecost "a sound like the blowing of a violent winde came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting," and tongues of fire rested on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking in other tongues "as the Spirit enabled them." A crowd gathered, including "God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven" and were amazed, each of them, to hear in their own languages. Some in the crowd mocked, saying, "they have had too much wine," but Peter addressed the crowd, telling them that this was the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel had said, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people." And he preached to them of Jesus, "accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs," and that "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." And many believed and "about three thousand were added to their number that day." And they "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching," and the believers met togeter and sold their possessions and good and gave to anyone who needed, and continue to meet in the temp courts. "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

In chapter 3, Peter heals a beggar at the temple gate, a man crippled from birth. He asked for money, but Peter told him that he had no silver or gold, but "what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." He helped him up and "instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong." He "jumped to his feet and began to walk." The people that saw him recognized him and were amazed. When they came running, Peter preached to them about how GOD, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, "our fathers," had glorified Jesus. He tells them that they had acted in ignorance, and that it was time to repent, because they were "heirs of the prophets and of the covenant GOD made with your fathers."

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • The great commission from Matthew 27 is not contained in Luke's Gospel, but he does include it in Acts, telling the apostles that "you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
  • Matthew has essentially the same story at essentially the same place, during the resurrection appearances when there are only eleven apostles. Luke did not include it in his Gospel, but Acts picks up essentially where the Gospel ends off.
  • There is one echo of Luke 24 in Acts 1, when Jesus tells the apostles to stay in Jerusalem and they will receive power.
  • Is the Matthias who becomes the 12th apostle in Acts 1 the same Matthew to whom the Gospel is attributed? That seems like a question that I ought know the answer to - honestly compels me to admit that I don't. I'm sure that I've read something along the way that addressed that, but I do not remember the answer.
  • Consensus seems to be that this book was finished before 70 AD. That would be well within the lifetime of many witnesses to the events contained therein. Again, contrary to the beliefs of the skeptics that there is no credible attestation to the incarnation and resurrection.
  • I think it's important to note that when Peter heals, he does so "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth."
  • Luke was, according to tradition, a gentile. It is, I think, a sign of the historicity of this account that he doesn't ever refer to Hebrew scripture, but does quote Peter as doing so.

Psalms 30

"Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning..."

A Psalm of exaltation and praise for the Glory of the LORD. The NIV says in verse 5 that "rejoicing comes in the morning," but I prefer the KJV formulation, that "joy cometh in the morning." Several authors have like that phrase as well, including P.G. Wodehouse and Betty Smith.

" removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever..."

Psalm 30
A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.
1 I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.

3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave ;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."

7 O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:

9 "What gain is there in my destruction,
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help."

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

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