Acts 1:21

Saturday, 16 October 2021

“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Acts 1:21

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).

Peter has just stated his words, right from Scripture, concerning God’s foreknowledge of what would occur in relation to Judas. He affirms that Scripture itself testifies to the fact that someone else should replace him in his office. As such, he next says, “Therefore.”

He is making a conclusion based on his reasoning. What follows will be a decision concerning the avenue that he recommends to be followed. Instead of “Therefore,” the KJV incorrectly states, “Wherefore.” Peter is not asking why, or for what reason, something should happen. Rather, he is affirming that Scripture has spoken, and it is to thus be acted upon.

Hence, the idea is, “Scripture says, ‘Let another take his office,’ therefore, of these men who have accompanied us…” He is obviously looking for one of “these men” to take the office of Judas. However, he continues to qualify his words in order to ensure certain necessary conditions will be met. As such, he says, “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.”

Peter has set forth the condition that whoever fills Judas’ office should be someone who had actively been a participant in the ministry of Jesus, seeing all that He had done and who had been faithful to not depart from Him when things got tough. An example of what he has in mind that should be avoided is found in John 6 –

“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” John 6:66-69

The words “many of His disciples” indicate that not all of them departed. Some held fast, just as the apostles did. It is such a person that Peter is looking for as a replacement. The words “in and out among us” signifies just that. It is a way of saying that He was in constant interaction with them and that it was as if they dwelt in the same house together. As naturally as one would come in and go out of his own house, so the Lord came in and went out among the apostles.

Life application: Peter was obviously looking for someone who was qualified in the knowledge of the Lord and thus capable of continuing on in the ministry of the Lord in a competent manner. Paul alludes to this necessity himself in 1 Corinthians –

“Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?” 1 Corinthians 9:1

But Paul was not with Jesus as the other apostles were. Therefore, he again states –

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

Paul notes that he was different from the other apostles in that he had seen the risen Christ, but that his selection was not in the same way as the others. And yet, he clearly states that the gospel he preached was the exact same gospel as was presented by the other apostles –

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11, 12

Everything that Paul says in the surrounding verses and chapters of Galatians clearly reveals this. There is one gospel that is proclaimed to both Jew and Gentile. The difference is not in the message, but in the audience. The reason for the selection of Paul to proclaim this message to the Gentiles (even though he always first presented it to the Jews) is because he was gifted to do so. The other apostles were limited in their interaction with Gentiles and would have been less effective in conveying what needed to be said. Paul had the ability they lacked, and so he was chosen to be the main apostle for this ministry.

The selection of Barnabas, who was first a disciple under Peter, but who was later a witness to Paul’s conversion and who eventually became a minister to the Gentiles along with Paul demonstrates this. The same is true with Silas (Silvanus) who ministered with Paul and who then later was commended by Peter (1 Peter 5:12).

The point of this is that the heretical doctrine which teaches there are two gospels, one to the Jew and one to the Gentile, must be firmly spoken against. What Peter is conveying concerning the apostleship is as applicable to Paul as it is to the one to replace Judas, but Paul’s conversion came about in a different way, and by the Lord’s personal intervention. Again, the difference between Peter’s gospel and that of what Paul presents is not in the message (it is the same gospel), but in the audience who receives it – who is best qualified to present it to the particular audience. Paul was well-suited to do what Peter was not fully qualified to do.

Lord God, when Your word is properly analyzed, the wisdom of who You selected to do certain things is always evident. You chose a young shepherd boy to slay a giant, and You chose a persecutor of the church to proclaim the message of the church to the Gentiles. Each time a person is commissioned by You for a particular purpose, we can see how perfectly that person filled the need. Great are You, O God. Amen.