The Church in Action (Acts 4)

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Acts 4 records the fallout of the healing of the crippled man (Acts 3).  As Peter and John teach the gathered crowd about Jesus and proclaim “in Jesus the resurrection of the dead” (2), temple guards come and arrest them (and the newly healed man).  The following day they stand trial before the religious leaders.  Peter, filled with the Spirit, boldly links the miracle to the resurrected Christ and pins the responsibility for Jesus’ crucifixion on these men.  The leaders, aware that it is politically incorrect to punish people for doing an “outstanding miracle” (16), command Peter and John “not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus” (18).  Peter acknowledges their authority as rulers but doesn’t agree to their demands.  Back with the other believers, the apostles unite their hearts in prayer.  They affirm God’s sovereign control and sovereign work through Christ and pray for boldness to witness for Christ as ask for more miraculous evidences of God’s power.  The room where they are praying is “shaken”, the believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continue to speak “the word of God boldly” (31).

be boldI’m drawn to examine the mentions of courage and boldness in this chapter:  “when they saw the courage of Peter and John” (13); “enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (29);  “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (31).  All three verses use the term parrésia.  According to an excellent article in The Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (Logos Edition), the word is used in the gospels (almost exclusively of Christ) as meaning to speak with freedom, candor and clarity.  In the book of Acts, it carries the twin nuances of speaking with both confidence (assured of truth) and courage (audacity to proclaim truth).  Peter speaks with parrésia on the Day of Pentecost (2:29) and before the Sanhedrin (4:13).  Paul proclaims Christ with parrésia in Damascus (9:27-28), Pisidian Antioch (13:48), Iconium (14:3), Ephesus (19:8) and before Agrippa (26:26) and while in prison in Rome (28:31).

The boldness in witnessing was a direct result of the filling of the Holy Spirit:  “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them” (8); “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (31).  The word Luke uses for filled is a word that has the idea of filled up.  It can refer to a physical filling (satisfied with food after eating) or of a spiritual filling (filled with the Holy Spirit).

The filling of the Spirit is given for the purpose of empowering a witness for Christ; the filling enables bold speaking.  In this chapter, the filling of the believers comes as a direct result of the believers’ prayers for “great boldness” in testifying for Christ (29, 31).  We are not expressly told that Peter had prayed for boldness when he and John spent a night in prison prior to their trial before the Sanhedrin.   However, it’s not hard to imagine that they did pray for God’s strengthening to speak for Christ, especially in light of Peter’s previous failure the night Jesus was arrested.

fillingTheologically, the filling of the Spirit in Acts is a special empowering by the Holy Spirit that enables believers to bear witness for Christ (in line with Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8).  This filling is episodic, given at the point of need.  This filling comes as a gift from God (“give to your servants”—29) in response to prayer.  This filling of the Holy Spirit is the dynamic that turns natural fears into faithful proclamation.  For example, in verse 29 Peter and John tell the Jewish leaders:  “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  However, there was a recent time when Peter did not speak about what he had seen and heard.  Although he had seen Jesus do many miracles (greater than the healing of one crippled man), he went silent and even denied Christ three times (Luke 22:54-62).  So just seeing and hearing Jesus’ do the miraculous was not enough, in itself, to give “boldness” to his witness.  The reality of what he saw and heard had to be combined with the filling of the Spirit to make silence impossible—especially in the face of hostility.

Application:  If I hope to have “great boldness” (29—literally “all boldness”) in my witness for Christ, I will need the filling of the Holy Spirit.  As such, I will need to pray for the gift of this filling, expecting the Lord to answer.  The result is that I will be enabled to speak with confidence and courage, even when facing skeptics or those hostile to the faith.  My witness should be bold, not tepid or apologetic.  How people respond is beyond my control.  The Sanhedrin rejected Peter’s bold witness.  Others in Jerusalem believed and joined the church.

The believers’ prayer, recorded in verses 24-30 is a rich blend of theology, biblical insight, faith, and kingdom-oriented petition.  The prayer is founded on a sturdy understanding of God’s ultimate rule over the rulers of the world as its creator and master (“Sovereign Lord”).  They already evidence an understanding that the Scriptures point to Christ, quoting Psalm 2 as a prophetic prediction that human leaders would conspire to fight against the “Lord and against his Anointed One” (26).  Their prayer evidences a nuanced theological understanding of the way God’s will is done through human wills (a compatibilist view of the world): “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen” (28).  Instead of asking for protection and safety, they ask for courage to speak “with great boldness” (29) and for God’s affirmation of their witness through “miraculous signs and wonders” done through “the name of your holy servant Jesus” (30).  God answered their prayer by shaking things up (“the place where they were meeting was shaken”—31) and filling them with the Spirit so they could speak “the word of God boldly” (31).

acts 4-31Application:  O Sovereign Lord, may my (our) prayers be more like this prayer.  May they be richly shaped by a grand theological vision of your greatness, based on a biblical, Christ-centered view of life, and focused on asking for the power to be Your witnesses in the world.   Shake us and fill us and use us for Your glory.  I ask this in the name of your holy servant, Jesus.

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Praise and Prayer Update (February 14, 2020)

marriageLast week, I asked you to pray for Linda and me as we spoke at a Marriage Retreat for Benton Street Baptist Church.  By God’s grace, we had a wonderful weekend, sensing God’s strength and grace.  It’s always refreshing to us to see how God’s Word gives such practical and needed help for the realities of life.  Allowing His Word to direct and correct our marriages is the only way to find true satisfaction in marriage.

abheThis week we are at a conference hosted by ABHE (Association for Biblical Higher Education).  Please pray for a time of refreshment as well as for strategic connections for Heritage.

Next week is Reading Week at Heritage.  Students get a break from classes and are able to rest and catch up on their course reading.  As you think of us, please pray for God’s continued blessing on the students God has sent us to train for life and ministry.

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The Church in Action (Acts 3)

Acts-768x576Each week, I am seeking to post my written reflections on one chapter in the book of Acts.  Last week: Acts 1.  This week:  Acts 3.  My prayer is that your mind and heart will be challenged and encouraged by these reflections on God’s Word.  

After narrating the amazing outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the subsequent forming of the Church (with 3000 new believers), Luke tells us of a miraculous healing and powerful sermon that occurred in the Temple courts.  Peter and John enter the Temple grounds to be part of the 3:00 pm prayer time.  As they pass through the Gate called Beautiful they see a rather unbeautiful sight—a man crippled from birth left to beg at the gate.  Instead of giving him want he wants (money), they give him what he needs (healing).  His exuberant response to being healed draws a crowd.  Peter addresses them with a hard-hitting, convicting message that offers great hope and spiritual healing for all who will repent of their rejection of Jesus, the Christ, and believe in Him.

I’m drawn to focus on verses 11-26 for this study—the summary of Peter’s sermon to the crowd that gathered around them and their newly healed friend.

Peter’s sermon is immediately corrective, a tone he maintains for a good portion of the message.  He asks two questions of the “men of Israel” gathered around (12):  “Why does this surprise you?  Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”  I think the crowd could be forgiven for both reactions:  the healing of a man crippled for almost 40 years is a tad surprising!  And the fact that Peter and John spoke the words that lead to his healing would lead most of us to conclude they had special powers or unusual godliness

Peter is not surprised, however.  He’s already been the instrument of “many wonders and miraculous signs . . . done by the apostles” (2:43).  He’s seen the power of the Holy Spirit at work through him and the other apostles, so he’s not surprised.  He also is aware of his own ungodliness, having been humbled by the recent events of his own denial of Christ.  He’s acutely aware that this healing is not the result of his (or John’s) innate power or holiness.  The risen Christ has poured out the Spirit promised by the Father; God is at work in powerful ways in the world.

Peter’s attitude should be the pattern for all of Christ’s ministers.  First, we should not be surprised by evidences of miraculous power as we walk “prayerfully” (3:1) and compassionately (3:4) through life, seeking to serve His purposes in the world.  Second, even when others want to elevate us and credit us with possessing special power or godliness, we should quickly and honestly dispel that notion.  We, like Peter, know ourselves too well to allow that fantasy to persist. Still, we are not surprised that the risen Christ works through us as His servants.

Jesus nameThis healing was done by God’s power in conjunction with human faith.  Peter and John obviously believed God could heal this man (“what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk”—6).  The crippled man also evidenced and exercised faith as well (16).  Here is the answer as to why Peter didn’t heal every needy person in Jerusalem.  This man had “faith in the name of Jesus” (16).  From another angle, we could say he had “faith that comes through him [Jesus]” (16).  Faith is both a gift from God and the response of individuals who believe.  It comes from Jesus and it’s focused on Jesus.  Even the faith to believe is a gift; He gives faith so we can put faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Lord, in the situations I am facing where I feel crippled and stuck, please grant me faith to believe through Jesus so I can respond with faith in Jesus.  May I look to You to do the humanly impossible for the glorification of your Son (“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers has glorified his servant Jesus”—13).  And as You bring help and healing beyond human ability to achieve, may I respond like the formerly-crippled man (“walking, jumping and praising God”—8) and like Peter and John (“Why do you stare at us. . .?—12).  All glory to the Healer of impossible situations.

jesusA few comments on Peter’s impromptu sermon (11-26):  He does a masterful job in beginning with the immediate situation (a formerly-crippled man now healed) and moving the focus to Jesus.  Peter doesn’t ignore the man’s story; he uses it to emphasize the importance of faith (16).  Peter doesn’t dodge the questions of how he and John were able to speak healing to this man (12).  But he quickly and decisively directs attention to Jesus.  Jesus is the hero of the story.

The sermon blends a “prophetic” and “pastoral” feel to it.  Peter boldly calls them out for their rejection of Christ.  He multiplies statements that highlight their guilt (13-15).  He doesn’t go soft on them but has them feel the full weight of their corporate guilt.  But, he also shows pastoral tenderness, giving them the benefit of the doubt:  “I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers” (17).  That’s a charitable assessment, given the callousness of the Jewish rulers.  He couches their treachery in the larger context of God’s sovereignty, emphasizing that all of this was part of God’s prophetic plan (18).

Peter calls his hearers to repentance and faith in Jesus (19, 26), warning them of the deadly consequences of failing to listen to Jesus (23) and promising participation in God’s blessings if they turn to Christ (forgiveness of sin, times of refreshing, sharing in the future restoration of all things—19-20).  He references the Old Testament (Moses, Samuel and the prophets) to support his conclusions about the suffering Messiah (18, 24-25).

The three benefits of repentance and faith (turning from sin and turning to the Lord) were especially appropriate to the Jews who heard Peter:  they needed sins wiped out —especially their sin of rejecting and killing their Messiah!  They needed times of refreshing (rare Greek word used only here and Ex 8:11).  The word has the idea of a cooling breeze or catching your breath.  God brings refreshing even in difficult circumstances.  Ultimately, they longed for the return of the Messiah and the restoration of all things—including the kingdom to Israel (1:6).

Those same three blessings are promised to all who turn from their “wicked ways” (26) and trust in Christ.  God always intended to bless “all peoples” through His people (25).

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Praise and Prayer Update (February 7, 2020)

BrooksWhat it week it’s been!  This year’s missions conference was very impactful for students, faculty and staff.  The messages given by Tim Watley (Ethnos Canada) and Brooks Buser (Radius International) were riviting, inspiring and challenging for all of us. (You can listen to them here).

Thank you for praying that God would work in many hearts.  I’m confident He did.  I believe He’s moving some of our students to become global ambassadors for Christ.

marriageI’m writing this post just before leaving for a Marriage Retreat.  Linda and I are the guest presenters at a Marriage Retreat up in Stayner, Ontario.  I’d ask you to join us in praying that the Lord would be at work in each couple attending (including us!).

Thank you for praying for and with us.

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The Church in Action (Acts 2)

Acts-768x576Each week, I hope to post my written reflections on one chapter in the book of Acts.  Last week: Acts 1.  This week:  Acts 2.  My prayer is that your mind and heart will be challenged and encouraged by these reflections on God’s Word.  

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In chapter 2 we have a record of one of the most significant events in the history of redemption.  In dramatic fashion, the Holy Spirit—the gift of the Father—is poured out by the risen, exalted Christ on his followers (32-33).  The results are literally world-changing.  Believers are empowered for witness (1-13; 1:8), the gospel is preached with power and conviction (14-40), over 3000 people repent, believe and are baptized (41), and the church is officially formed (42-47).

The opening verses chronicle how all the first believers were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (4) on the day of Pentecost.  This filling came in dramatic fashion: it was accompanied by “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind from heaven” (2).  Tongues of fire seemed to dance over the heads of each of the believers (3) who began speaking in other dialects and languages (3).

PentAs I read and reflect on the tongues that surrounded the pouring out of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, it’s difficult for me not to see a close link to the spiritual gift of tongues spoken of in 1 Cor 14.  It’s hard to see how the first believers would have seen the spiritual gift (a Spirit-given gift) as different than what took place on Pentecost.  In both cases, the same term is used (glṓssa) and a similar function is described:  speaking the wonders of God.  However, in 1 Corinthians, a spiritual gift is needed to interpret the gift (as opposed to simply needing someone who knows the language being spoken).

The commotion drew an international crowd of Jews who had come to celebrate the feast in Jerusalem.  Peter lists 14 locations from which the curious crowd surrounding the disciples had come to Jerusalem.  The NIV Study Bible has a helpful graphic showing how these people came from places in every direction from Jerusalem (the four corners of the map!).  One fascinating note is that some of those listening were said to be “Elamites” (10).  In Jeremiah 49 we read of God’s coming judgment on Elam.  But after this coming judgment, God has a blessing promised for Elam: “’Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come.’ declares the Lord” (49:39).  Part of God’s promise to the Elamites was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost as some from their midst heard and (presumably) believed the gospel, becoming part of God’s new Church.

The crowd that assembled around the disciples were amazed to hear Galileans “declaring the wonders of God” in a host of other languages (8-12).  Some dismiss the event as a rowdy group of drunks, but others are both curious and willing to listen to Peter’s explanation (14-40).

Peter’s sermon explains, using Scripture, how this event is a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy concerning the outpouring of the Spirit.  Peter links the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus to the coming of the Spirit on those who have believed in him:  “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear” (33).

The point of Peter’s sermon is those who had previously rejected Jesus and had a part in his death, should repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name—an indication that they have reversed their views about Jesus.  This repentance and baptism is the way they are to indicate they now confess Jesus to be “Lord and Christ” (36).

“Christ” is the Greek word for Messiah (anointed One).  “Lord” is the word for master or king.  It was a word used of God in the Old Testament.  It could be applied to human rulers (kings) or masters (by slaves).  It had messianic overtones for Jews and political overtones for Romans (Caesar is lord).  In the context of Peter’s declaration that Jesus has been made “both Lord and Christ”(36) is the emphasis that the Lord is the ruler of Israel from the line of David.  The previous verses show how David, a prophet as well as a king, foresaw one of his descendants would become the king who would defeat death (25-32).  Peter quotes from Psalm 110 and pictures the “Lord” seated at God’s right hand waiting for all his enemies to be made a footstool for his feet (34).  Jesus had used this same passage to show that he was both David’s son and David’s Lord (Mark 12:35-37).

Peter proceeds to link the term “Lord” to deity when he says “all whom the Lord our God will call” (39).  So, Peter is proclaiming Jesus as the divine, Davidic king who has defeated death (in fulfillment of Psalm 116) and has ascended to sit at the Father’s right hand (in fulfillment of Psalm 110).  This means that “confessing Jesus as Lord” (Romans 10:9-10) is acknowledging his authority, kingship and even divinity.  It was an affirmation of belief, allegiance, and submission.

acts 2 42The 3000+ people who repented (of their sins and rejection of Jesus) and were baptized (showing their allegiance to Jesus as Lord and Christ) joined the 120 others to form the first church.  Verses 42-47 gives us a glimpse of the life of the newly formed church, made up of Jews (and proselytes) from all over the Roman Empire (Hellenized and Hebraic Jews).  They devoted (all in!) themselves to “the apostle’s teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (42).  They saw evidence of the grace and power that left them with a sense of awe.  They shared possessions freely–perhaps with some who had come to Jerusalem from distant places and needed financial help.  They met in the Temple courts and in homes for meals. The Lord was at work to draw in others to become part of this fledgling fellowship.  “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved”(47).  These new believers were some Peter had previously referred to as “all whom the Lord our God will call” (39).

As I read that description of a church, I feel sadness and hope.  Sadness that our churches often seem far from that kind of experience and hope that God might move us towards this vision of a church fellowship.  As we seek to train those who will lead the Church through Heritage College and Seminary, may we give them a biblical vision of what that could be!

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Praise and Prayer Update (January 31, 2020)

pastoral leadI (Rick) am posting this just before heading off to teach an all-day course on pastoral leadership at Heritage Seminary.  As I’ve looked over the roster of the eleven students signed up for the class, I’m excited.  God is entrusting us with some godly, young leaders to train for ministry.  What a privilege to invest in their lives.  Please pray that God will enable and empower me to teach well.

Later today, Linda will be headed to the Hespeler Library to lead a team of ESL teachers.  Last week, we had almost 20 people (workers and ESL students) crowded into a room at the library.  Lots of energy and engagement.  Lots of opportunities to bring God’s love to these friends from around the world.  Please pray for lasting impact on lives.

On Sunday, I am scheduled to preach at Maple Avenue Baptist Church in Georgetown.  Please pray for spiritual and physical strength to minister God’s Word.

missions confNext week at Heritage, we have our annual Missions Conference.  This is one of the high-points of our entire year.  This year’s theme focuses on Unreached People Groups and their need to hear the life-giving gospel of Christ.  Please pray that God works powerfully in the lives of our students, giving all of us a greater heart for those who need to hear the gospel. 

Thank you for helping through your prayers!

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The Church in Action (Acts 1)

Acts-768x576Several years ago, I spent my morning devotional time studying through the book of Acts.  Each week I dug into one chapter, recording my observations, insights, and questions.  I gained a great deal from the study; my mind was stretched and my heart challenged.  In Acts we see the Church in Action bringing the gospel of Jesus to the world. 

As we are called to continue this grand work of spreading the gospel, I decided to review and post the notes I made in my study of Acts.  Each week, I’ll post my written reflections on one chapter.  I’d encourage you to read through or refer to the chapter in Acts on which I’m commenting.  My prayer is that your mind and heart will be challenged and shaped by a deeper study of God’s Word.

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The opening two verses in the book link the book of Acts to Luke’s first work—the gospel of Luke.  The gospel told “all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven.”  This second book, by implication, will tell all Jesus “continued to do and teach” by the Spirit’s working in the lives of the apostles and other believers.  The teaching (and theology) in the book of  Acts is a continuation of Jesus’ ministry (not a departure from it).  Continuity, not discontinuity, is what we should expect.

Verse 3 summarizes Jesus’ message to the apostles in the 40 days of his post-resurrection appearances as revolving around “the kingdom of God.”  Jesus begins the book teaching his followers about the “kingdom of God.”  As the book closes, we hear Paul teaching on the same theme:  “Boldly and without hindrance, he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” (28:31).

So the “kingdom of God” is a key theme of the book.  Its meaning must be found in Jesus’ teaching in Luke’s gospel.  It somehow relates to the Church as the book of Acts is about the expansion and extension of the Church from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria and the “ends of the earth” (1:8).

A survey of the occurrences of the word “kingdom” in Luke/Acts reveals that the word shows up about 50 times, most of them in Luke, and most of them by Jesus.  Jesus pictured the kingdom of God as both present (17:21) and still future (19:11, 31).  The kingdom of God was not  “visible” in a way that earthly kingdoms were  (17:20) but it was a reality.  It could be entered now, by adults and children, who responded in faith to Jesus (18:17).  It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom (18:24) and easy for the poor (6:20).  At the same time, it was a future reality where Old Testament believers would be present with followers of Jesus (13:28-29).  The kingdom is to be prayed for (11:2) and proclaimed (9:2).  Those who don’t enter the kingdom will wind up eternally outside of it (13:28).  The twelve apostles will be rulers in the coming kingdom (22:30).

Ikingdomn the book of Acts, the kingdom is mentioned eight times.  Jesus begins the book by talking about it, so the implication is that Acts will continue his understanding of the kingdom.  Philip and Paul both proclaim the kingdom and the name of Jesus (8:12; 28:31).  So the kingdom and the Church are merged together. Those who believe and follow Jesus (the Way) become part of the Church and part of the kingdom of God.  This doesn’t exclude the future dimensions of the kingdom that will fulfill the promises of God to Israel (restoring the kingdom to Israel—1:6).  However, it means that until Jesus returns, the kingdom and the Church are functionally synonymous.

Related to the extension of God’s kingdom are three intersecting themes that are introduced in chapter 1 and continue to appear throughout the book:  prayer, the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and witness.

Jesus instructs his followers not to leave Jerusalem but to “wait for the gift my Father promised” (4).  He clarifies this gift is the promised Holy Spirit (5).  Once they are “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (5), they are to be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (8).  In other words, they are not to leave Jerusalem without the gift of the Spirit, but once they receive the gift they are to go to the ends of the earth!

Until the Father gives them the gift of the Spirit, they are to wait.  However, their waiting is not passive or inactive; they are to pray.  At least that is how these first followers of Jesus understood it.  As soon as Jesus is “taken up” (9), they return to the upper room and “all joined together constantly in prayer” (14).  Luke’s language emphasizes their ongoing devotion to prayer (προσκαρτεροῦντες – present participle carrying the meaning of staying devoted to something).  They prayed with great unity (ὁμοθυμαδὸν – with one mind, united) as a group—the apostles, the women, Jesus’ mother and brothers (presumably other men were there as well—like Matthias and Barsabbas).  In total, there were about 120 followers of Jesus, waiting in prayer for the Spirit to be given so they could be witnesses.  And witnessing about Jesus is focused on being witnesses “of his resurrection” (1:22).

In chapter 1 the Spirit is mentioned four times (2, 5, 8,16).  The Spirit is said to be involved in communicating God’s message:  Jesus gave instructions “through the Holy Spirit to the apostles” (2).  Later, Peter says “the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas” (16).  The other two references to the Holy Spirit come in verses 5 and 8.  Here Jesus refers to the disciples being “baptized with the Spirit.”  Three verses later Jesus links this baptism to providing power to be witnesses for him.  It would seem that being baptized in the Spirit is a prerequisite (don’t leave Jerusalem without this) to being faithful witnesses for Jesus.  This is a key concept for the entire book and a key verse for my own ability to be a witness for Jesus.

OT NTOne interpretive issue that surfaces in chapter 1 is the use of the Old Testament by New Testament preachers (Peter) and writers (Luke).  Twice in chapter 1 we hear Peter citing an Old Testament passage and applying it to a contemporary situation.  He alludes to Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 and applies both to Judas.

How can Peter say these verses were “concerning Judas”?   The best answer is that Peter sees both psalms as containing Messianic themes.  One theme is of the Messiah having enemies who are denounced.  Since Judas attacked Jesus through his deal with the religious leaders, Peter can see a reference to him in both passages

One last observation I’ll comment on is the selection of Matthias to replace Judas.  He is chosen after Peter contends they need a full complement of twelve apostles to carry out their calling of being witnesses to the resurrection (22).  In this case, two men are considered:  both had been associated with the apostles and Jesus from “John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up form us”(22).  After praying and asking God, who knows every heart, to guide the selection, they cast lots.  Matthias is chosen by lot and “added to the eleven apostles” (25).

Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap but it’s every decision is from the Lord.”  They trusted the Lord to guide through what seemed to be a “random” procedure (flipping a coin).  We do not see lots used again in the book of acts to select leaders or make decisions.  After chapter 2, the Holy Spirit is actively guiding their decisions and directions.

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