by, M. J. Joachim
Acts 1 begins by reaffirming the resurrection as described in the Gospel of Luke. Luke continues where he left off (with his gospel) in the opening statement, “In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught, until the day He was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen.”
Luke proceeds from here to witness the beginnings of the Catholic Church, describing events as they happened through the moment Judas’ successor was chosen at the conclusion of Acts 1.
Throughout Acts 1, there are some common themes that present themselves in the gospels. The apostles had some anxiety or fear of the unknown. Angels or messengers appeared to clarify confusion. The apostles joined with other followers of Jesus, including His mother Mary, to pray and follow His teachings. Peter stood out as a leader with directives that fulfilled prophecy. Order was restored when Matthias was chosen by God as the new twelfth apostle.
Acts 1, while sharing many descriptive details of the events taking place during the time of Jesus’ Ascension, challenges everyone to learn from the past, live in the present, and prepare for the future. It clearly indicates that the only way to do this is by trusting God when the apostles prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” With complete surrender, the apostles opened their hearts to prepare for the ministry they were destined to accomplish.
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES as written in The New American Catholic Bible
The Preparation for the Christian Mission
The Promise of the Spirit
In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
The Ascension of Jesus
When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth.” When He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as He was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
The First Community in Jerusalem
When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
The Choice of Judas’s Successor
During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, “My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all of his insides spilled out. This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is Field of Blood, for it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate and may no one dwell in it.’ And: ‘May another take his office.’
Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection. So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
JUST THE FACTS
Matching: Match the numerical phrase above with the lettered phrases below.
1. After the resurrection
2. Jesus ascended to Heaven
3. After the ascension
4. David prophesied Judas’ replacement
5. Matthias was chosen by
Match the above numerical phrases with these lettered phrases.
a. in a cloud on Mount Olivet
b. casting lots
c. in the Book of Psalms
d. Jesus appeared to His apostles
e. the apostles prayed in Jerusalem
Fill in the Blank
1. After Jesus ascended ________________ men appeared out of nowhere and told the apostles Jesus would return to earth, the ______________ _______________ He ascended to Heaven.
2. No one will know the ______________ or _______________ established by the Father to restore the kingdom.
3. Judas was _________________ among the apostles.
4. Judas bought a parcel of land with the wages of his _______________, where he committed his death.
5. Joseph called Barsabbas, also known as _____________________, was a possible replacement for Judas.
Luke authored the Acts of the Apostles.
Jesus told the apostles to stay in Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus gave the apostles power through His ascension.
Two men dressed in white came from Galilee to prophesy about the second coming of Jesus. After the ascension, the apostles discussed what had happened in preparation for the Holy Spirit.
David prophesied through the Book of Psalms.
The place where Judas died is also known as the Field of Blood.
The Holy Virgin Mary was with the apostles when they prayed together after the ascension.
The first Christian community began with about 120 people.
Peter chose Judas’ replacement.
SOUL SEARCHING INTERNALIZATION
* At the opening of Acts 1, Jesus promises the apostles baptism through the Holy Spirit. What does the promise of baptism with the Holy Spirit mean for you? How does it complete your baptism with water?
*At the ascension, Jesus declares power will be given to the apostles so that they can spread the gospel throughout the world. Through what power do you witness Jesus? How have the gifts of the Holy Spirit influenced your choices and changed your heart as a Christian?
After the apostles witnessed the ascension of Jesus, they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem to pray. Make it a point to meditate and focus silently on Jesus each day for 10 to 20 minutes. Sit in a comfortable chair, hands open, legs outstretched. Close your eyes and ask the Spirit to open your heart. When distractions come, and they will, repeat a sacred word of your own choosing to help keep your energy directed on your relationship with Jesus.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Word Scramble: Unscramble the words below. Then, answer the question using 7 letters from the words you made.
What was the role of the apostles? _______________
Definition Match: Match the word with the correct definition.
iniquity means dedicated
devoted means deprived
accord means papal
desolate means international agreement
apostolic means gross injustice
THE FINAL WORD
Write a journal entry explaining your role in Christianity today. Base your writing solely on the scripture of Acts 1. Explain similarities and differences that you have with the apostles and followers of Jesus. Discuss goals that you are working to achieve and obstacles that might prevent you from working toward those goals. Write down possible solutions to help you achieve your goals.
Answers to Just the Facts, Fill in the Blank, True/False and Games & Puzzles will be posted tomorrow. See you then!
That’s all for now kind people. Happy Sunday to you!
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Photo Credits: Distance Shores Media, Creative Commons Attribution