The book of Acts is a history of how the Church began. It is full of the key players and activities, the Acts of the Apostles, as the book was once called. Jesus has appeared to them and told them not to leave Jerusalem until they receive “the gift my father promised”. After Jesus Ascension, the disciples head back to the upper room in Jerusalem where they were staying.
15-17 During this time, Peter stood up in the company—there were about 120 of them in the room at the time—and said, “Friends, long ago the Holy Spirit spoke through David regarding Judas, who became the guide to those who arrested Jesus. That Scripture had to be fulfilled, and now has been. Judas was one of us and had his assigned place in this ministry. (MSG)
Several thoughts came to my mind as I read these verses. I was reminded of a post I wrote earlier this year about Peter and his denial of Christ. Having been restored by Jesus and told to “feed my sheep”, here he is– stepping up and taking charge. His leadership role in the founding of the church had begun. There was no longer any question in the disciple’s mind about his purpose.
The other thought I had was that while Jesus was with them, they did not understand the prophecies about Him that were being fulfilled. Yet here Peter is, quoting scripture that had to do with Judas. After Jesus resurrection, He appeared to the men walking to Emmaus. There is a passage, Luke 24:27, where Jesus explains to them “beginning with Moses, and all the Prophets, . . . what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” I can imagine this conversation going through the city like wildfire and was surely shared among the “120 of them” in the room. It was like the final piece in the puzzle fell into place and the picture was crystal clear (or I have a very dear friend who always calls them V-8 bops to the head). Peter and the others knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. That verse from Psalms about Judas may have been one that Jesus shared as He walked along the road telling His story.
The chapter ends with them casting lots to see who would take Judas place—it had to be someone who had been with them ever since the beginning and there were two that met that requirement. Casting lots was the method they used to hear from God so they would know His choice. In my bible commentary, I thought it was interesting that it said this is the last time that casting lots is mentioned in the bible. I wonder if that is because in the very next chapter of Acts, the Holy Spirit enters them and God would now speak to them through the third Person of the Trinity instead? And so the new covenant begins!
Heavenly Father: I am so grateful to be on this side of the cross. Even though we know the whole story now for your plan of redemption, sometimes we don’t understand or see what is right in front of us either. Thank you for the Holy Spirit that speaks to us and reveals great truths about You. In Jesus precious name, AMEN