Summary: Walking in the Wonder of God
Acts 1:12, “The apostles were at the Mount of Olives when this happened, so they walked the half mile back to Jerusalem.”
Here then we turn our attention to an event that is of utmost importance for us in our study of Acts thus far. We have surveyed thus far, the Kingdom of God, going to the nations to our neighbors and such. Here now the attention moves to a very important part. The focus of Acts 1:12-26, is of course the choosing of Matthias as an Apostle, but it is the reasoning behind this that is of importance for us today. We know there were twelve apostles who were with Jesus, one murdered himself, and we will look into that today. Here then we see something of significance the fact that they were at the Mount of Olives is important. The Mount of Olives rises to overlook Jerusalem from across the Kidron Valley to the east (Zech 14:14). More a hill than a mountain, it rises some 400 feet above the floor of the Kidron Valley. That makes it only about 200 feet higher in elevation than Jerusalem itself. It was from the backside of the Mount, near the little village of Bethany that the Lord ascended (Luke 24:50). The reference here to half a mile can also be translated from the Greek as a Sabbath day’s journey, in which case the maximum distance one was permitted to travel on the Sabbath under rabbinic law. This rabbinic law was fixed at 2,000 cubits or about one half to three quarters of a mile (Josh 3:4). This distance derives, according to tradition from Israel’s encampments during the forty years of wilderness wanderings. The farthest tents were held to have been 2,000 cubits from the tabernacle, although Scripture nowhere specifies that distance. Hence 2,000 cubits would equal a Sabbath’s day journey.
Acts 1:13a, “13Then they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying.”
Jesus has just told them in Acts 1:4 to not leave Jerusalem till the coming of the Holy Spirit. It goes to reason that this house could not have been far from the Eastern gate of the city cause a Sabbath’s journey from the backside of the Mount of Olives would have put the apostles just inside the city walls. The key to the power the Apostles were about to experience was found in them meeting together in being together As we are working together as believers let us not forget that we must spend quality time not only with God in study and prayer, but with each other in heart to heart fellowship.
Acts 1:13b-14, “Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), and Judas (son of James). They all met together continually for prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.”
While it was James who was the Leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17;15:13), it is Peter’s name here mentioned first. This is an obvious indication that the Lord had restored him as the leader of the Apostles. Much of our attention will be focused upon Peter during our study of Acts up until the end of Acts 8 when we encounter Paul. Honoring Mary is important; however all worship is clearly not what our Lord intended for her. Luke 11:27-28, “As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, "God bless your mother--the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!" He replied, "But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice." Those who desire to follow Christ must not only count the cost of obedience, but push towards the mark of obedience to Christ’s commands, and hear the thus the Lord hath spoken to them and observe it from His Word. It is important as these believers were together and meeting together, they devoted themselves to praying more than likely for the coming outpouring at Pentecost to occur.
Acts 1:15-20, “15During this time, on a day when about 120 believers were present, Peter stood up and addressed them as follows: 16"Brothers, it was necessary for the Scriptures to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided the Temple police to arrest Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. 17Judas was one of us, chosen to share in the ministry with us." 18(Judas bought a field with the money he received for his treachery, and falling there, he burst open, spilling out his intestines. 19The news of his death spread rapidly among all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means "Field of Blood.") 20Peter continued, "This was predicted in the book of Psalms, where it says, `Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ And again, `Let his position be given to someone else.’”