Sunday, 10 October 2021
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, Acts 1:15
Note: You can listen to today’s introduction courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
It was just noted that all of the apostles, and those who joined them, were in one accord. Understanding there is a lack in the apostleship, it now says, “And in those days.” This defines the period between the ascension and the time when the Promise of the Father would come. It is during this interval that “Peter stood up.”
This is a general way of saying that someone is presenting himself to do something, be it speak, read, or so on. A couple of examples from Luke will show this –
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.” Luke 4:16, 17
“And behold, a certain Lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” Luke 10:25
In this posture of presenting himself, it next says, “in the midst of the disciples.” Some translations say “brethren” instead of “disciples.” Either way, the words “in the midst” are a way of saying that all attention is directed at him and that he is now the center of focus in the narrative. With that stated by Luke, he then – as he so often does – makes a careful recording of those gathered, saying, “altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty.”
There are a variety of ways of translating this –
the company of persons
number of names
multitude of persons
multitude of the names
It seems unlikely that the word “number” would be used to identify a group just about to be numbered, so “multitude” may be better. The word “name” is used at times to refer to individuals, and so “persons” is also an acceptable translation. The major point is that Luke is being specific in the number, regardless as to whether he is being specific about the individual identification of each person.
It is in this large gathering that Peter will address an issue that he believes needs to be resolved. This is indicated by the words, “and said.” What will be said is to be found in the coming verse.
Life application: The early church started slowly, and it was a small body of believers. But their faith in what they had seen was unshakeable. The bonds of their fellowship were also strong because they had a united purpose based on their faith.
Eventually, disputes and troubles will arise in the book of Acts. However, some of them will be resolved while others have no indication of that being the case. If things don’t work out on an earthly level between people, the main thing is to still be determined in the set goal of promoting faith in Christ and fellowship among one another.
It is rather easy to cut oneself off from the body because of being hurt, but this solves nothing. If a personal disagreement can’t be resolved, it should not be allowed to destroy all other aspects of one’s walk with the Lord. Hold fast to Jesus above all else, and let everything else take second stage to that. In this, everything will find its proper place.
Heavenly Father, we have troubles, and we have trials, even within the church. This can’t be helped at times. But help us to stand strong in our faith despite these things. May our focus be on You and on what You have done through Jesus. If we can do that, then everything else will work out as it should. Help us to keep this perspective. Amen.