Acts 1:22

Sunday, 17 October 2021

beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:22

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). 

To get a better sense of the contents of this verse, it is good to read it together with the previous verse –

“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

The idea is that a selection to replace Judas was to be made from someone who had witnessed the entire time of Jesus’ ministry “beginning from the baptism of John.”

The intent of Peter’s words is that of the time when Jesus was baptized by John, not from the time that John began to baptize. John already had a ministry to the people of Israel, calling them to repentance and preparing the way of the Lord. But the focus of Peter’s words is on the time of Jesus’ ministry, not John’s. Thus, he is referring to the moment when the two ministries came together in John’s baptism of Jesus. The one selected as an apostle should have a personal knowledge of this event “to that day when He was taken up from us.”

This is referring to the ascension of the Lord recorded in Acts 1:9. What seems probable is that this means that there were more than just the eleven apostles on the Mount of Olives with Jesus at that time. If that were not the case, Peter would not make this statement. Though the focus was on the apostles (see Acts 1:2), it is clear that they were a part of a larger group to have been with the Lord as He ascended.

From this larger group, Peter then says, “one of these must become a witness.” The word translated as “witness” is martus. It means a witness, but it not only conveys the sense of having seen, but of “bearing testimony of.” The act of witnessing (the seeing) is to be proclaimed (bearing the testimony).

As such, the word eventually also takes on the meaning of being a martyr. The one who bears the testimony of the Lord may even be martyred for that testimony. But in such a case, it would certainly be worth it. For the one selected to replace Judas, Peter says he is to be a witness “with us of His resurrection.”

This is the central point of the Christian faith, upon which all else either stands or falls. Of this, John Gill says –

“…the resurrection of Christ from the dead, which supposes his incarnation and life, and so his obedience, ministry, and miracles in it; and also his sufferings and death, with all the benefits and advantages thereof; and is particularly mentioned, because it not only supposes and includes the above things, but is the principal article, basis, and foundation of the Christian religion; and the sign which Christ gave to the Jews, of the truth of his being the Messiah.”

Concerning this great and prominent act of the Lord, Paul says –

“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Life application: Everything about the record of the Person of Jesus Christ would be pointless if there was no resurrection. If He came, lived a perfect life, and then was crucified and buried, it would be of no value to us without His victory over death.

This is why the New Testament goes to such great pains to not only record the event as it happened, but to validate it through the recording of all of the surrounding events, including who saw it, how many saw the risen Lord, the things He did afterward, and so on. In reading and believing these things, we then can have faith that the other things recorded in the Bible are true as well, including the promise of eternal life.

And if the promise of eternal life is true, then why should we allow our faith to be shaken? Why should we be fearful? What does it really matter if things don’t go well for us now? We have a hope that transcends those things because of our trust in the promises made to us. Let us be faithful witnesses to the hope we possess, even if that means that we must also become martyrs for it. Christ is risen! What can man truly do to us? Press on in the goodness of God that is found in the giving of His Son, JESUS!

Heavenly Father, what sure and wonderful promises we possess in Christ. You have laid out the details in Your word so precisely that we can be absolutely certain in our hearts that it is true and what it tells us will come to pass. No fear here. We are grounded in Your word, and our eyes are fixed on Jesus. Amen.