Acts 1:12-26—A Short Commentary—Part 1

Posted: August 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Waiting is not necessarily idleness.  Waiting requires patience but it does not require inactivity.  There are many times in life in which we must wait.  As Christians there are occasions that God delays in showing us exactly what He is doing; at times we are waiting on Him to lead us through a tough decision, to reveal the meaning of a particular text, or open a door for us to share the gospel.  We wait for the Lord to lead and guide us through these events in life.  But as we wait on those things, we do not sit back and put our feet up.  We weigh our options and make decisions.  We read, think, and pray through a tough text.  And we build relationships, start conversations, and watch for doors to share Jesus.

My prayer is that these posts will show clearly how the early church waited on the Lord, but that their waiting did not equal idleness.

In Acts 1:12-26, the apostles have just spent time with the risen Christ Jesus.  They have been encouraged by their King who could not be held by death.  The Lord has given them their marching orders and told them to wait.  They are to wait on the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4); when this “promise” comes they will be empowered for ministry (1:7).  Until that time, however, they are to “wait.”  When the promised Holy Spirit comes, He will empower them to fulfill the mission.  The rest of the book of Acts flows from this introductory and preparatory passage.

Introduction to the Text:  Setting the Stage

This passage is set after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.  Jesus has come to do the will of the Father and pay the debt of sin.  His death on the cross has paid that debt.  Paul writes in Colossians 2 that the “record of debt that stood against us” has been nailed “to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).  After Christ sheds His blood for those who would come to faith, He goes to the grave; three days later the Son of God is raised.  For forty days He would walk and talk with His apostles.  Acts chapter one gives us glimpses into the last moments that Jesus would spend with these followers.

After His resurrection, Jesus gives the apostles their marching orders.  They are to be His “witnesses” (1:8).  The gospel is to be taken to the “end of the earth” (1:8) and these faithful few are the means by which it is to get there.  However, Jesus knows that they are not able to accomplish this task in their own power.  By themselves they are weak, but in their weakness God’s strength would be magnified.  They need power from on high.  They need the power only God could provide.  So, they are told to “wait for the promise of the Father” (1:4).  Where are they to wait?  Jerusalem.  That is where they are found in the present text. 

And that is where we will begin in the next post.

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