Setting

According to the Lord’s instructions, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait for the promised Holy Spirit. In the meantime, they also chose Matthias to take the place of Judas. With all things in place and being of one accord in prayer, the disciples were now ready to receive the power from above.

Key Verse

(1:14)

Did You Know...?

1. A Sabbath’s day journey (1:12): According to rabbinical teaching, a person should travel no more than 2,000 cubits, which is about one kilometer or two-thirds of a mile, on a Sabbath day (This reasoning was derived from interpretations of passages such as Ex 16:29 and Num 35:5).
2. Upper room (1:13): Upper rooms in Palestinian homes were usually the choicest rooms because they were more secluded from the crowded streets below. They often served as places of assembly, study, and prayer. [ref]
3. “Akel Dama” (1:19) means “Field of Blood.” It was a potter’s field used to bury strangers (Mt 27:5-8).
4. They cast their lots (1:26): The casting of lots was a ritual used in ancient times to make important decisions. This method was used by the high priest to select the scapegoat used on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:8-10). Joshua also cast lots to allocate the land of Canaan to the various tribes (Num 26:55-56, Josh 14:2). This practice has been linked with the Urim and Thummin on the breastpiece of the high priest that were used to decide important matters (Ex 28:30). This practice was not completely random like flipping a coin because the decision was actually from the Lord (Prov 16:33). It was used on this occasion, coupled with prayer, to select a replacement for Judas. But, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, this practice was done away with. We now have the Spirit of God dwelling in us to personally guide us in decision-making.

Outline

  • Prayer in Anticipation of the Coming of the Holy Spirit
    (1:12-14)
  • Appointment of Matthias
    (1:15-26)

Segment Analysis

  • 1:12-14

    1a.

    What did the disciples do after Jesus’ ascension?

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    Gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem, they all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication (14).

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  • 1b.

    What important lessons can today’s church learn from their example?

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    The following are the lessons we may learn based on the disciples’ actions:
    1. They returned to Jerusalem according to the Lord’s command. Submission and obedience to the Lord’s command is the first step in receiving the Lord’s promise.
    2. They prayed. Waiting for the promises of God does not mean sitting around doing nothing. We need to do our part and call upon God through prayer and supplication.
    3. They continued in prayer. Waiting for God in prayer requires continual trust and persistence.
    4. They were in one accord. Through meeting together and praying with the brothers and sisters in Christ, we can encourage each other and remind each other to focus on God’s promises. Not only do we need to be together physically, our hearts should also unite as one. Unity makes our prayers effective.

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  • 2.

    Who did this group of disciples include?

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    They included the eleven apostles, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers (13-14).

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  • 3.

    Recall an experience in which you waited for God’s promise. What challenges did you face, and what lessons did you learn from that experience?

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  • 1:15-26

    4.

    How many disciples gathered in Jerusalem?

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    About 120

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  • 5.

    What happened to Judas Iscariot after he had betrayed the Lord?

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    He became remorseful, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, and hanged himself (Mt 27:3-5). When he fell, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out (Acts 1:18).

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  • 6a.

    What was required of an apostle?

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    He must have accompanied the Lord Jesus and the apostles all the time, beginning from the baptism of John to the Lord’s ascension. He would be a witness to the Lord’s resurrection.

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  • 6b.

    Applying this requirement to us today, what do we need to do to be an effective witness for Christ?

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    To be a witness for Christ, we need to first be a follower of Christ. Following Christ means having a personal knowledge of and faith in the Lord through hearing and doing God’s word. We need to study the life, works, and nature of Christ as well as follow His footsteps (cf. Jn 12:26). We need to give our lives to Christ, trust Him, depend on Him, and obey Him so that we can grow closer to Christ and always experience His marvelous power and grace. With a first hand knowledge of Christ, we can effectively witness to others about Christ (cf. 1Jn 1:1).

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  • 7.

    Who were the nominees, and who was finally chosen?

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    Barsabas and Matthias. Matthias was chosen.

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  • 8.

    How is the account of the choosing of Matthias related to the passage of the last lesson?

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    In the last lesson, we saw that the Lord Jesus promised the disciples that they would receive the Holy Spirit and commanded them to be His witnesses. The choosing of an apostle to take Judas’ place, as recorded in the present passage, is a response to the Lord’s promise and command. By choosing a replacement, Peter and the other disciples were preparing themselves for the mission that the Lord had entrusted.

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  • 9.

    Study the decision-making process that the disciples used. Applying this process to us, what components are essential in making decisions, especially those concerning the ministry?

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    1. The initiative to choose an apostle was based on the Lord’s command to witness for Him as well as on the prophecy in the Scripture. In the same way, decisions concerning the ministry need to conform to the principles of the Bible.
    2. Peter clearly stated the purpose for making a decision: to find a replacement to become a witness with the other apostles of the Lord’s resurrection. He also set the criteria according to this purpose. Likewise, in every decision we make in church, we must consider whether and how our decision will contribute to the ultimate goal of witnessing for Christ.
    3. The disciples proposed two people as the candidates. This indicates that the disciples were involved in the discussion and the selection process. In our ministry, decisions that would have impact on the church as a whole ought to be the result of a collective effort.
    4. The disciples prayed to the Lord for guidance before casting lots. Prayer is crucial to decision-making in the church. While we may make proposals and offer suggestions, we need to depend on the Lord to arrive at the final decision. The Lord knows all things. He is in the best position to choose the best person for the job or determine the best approach to a task.

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