Luke is the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. In chapter one, Luke’s inspired story of Jesus and the story of his church dovetail. Luke summarizes the contents of his first volume and provides a brief outline of the contents of the second volume, the book of Acts (Acts 1:8). The church is established, the gospel spreads, and congregations are established throughout the world. Luke writes an inspired history of the beginning and spread of Jesus’ church. Acts covers about 30 years of church history.
The apostles of Jesus Christ are the primary evangelists in the book of Acts. The Lord continues to instruct them for 40 days following his resurrection. Jesus tells them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. They will be baptized (completely covered) with power given by the Spirit. It seems the apostles still expect a physical kingdom, but they will soon see more clearly, when the Holy Spirit guides them into all truth. Jesus had promised this guidance and revelation of the truth in the Upper Room conversation (John chapters 14-16).
After restating the Great Commission, Jesus is taken up to heaven in dramatic fashion from the Mount of Olives. Angels assure the apostles that Jesus will return in similar fashion someday. We must remain ready and watchful for his return (Matt. 24:42).
Jesus had taught that the kingdom would come within the lifetime of some who heard his voice (Mark 9:1). The kingdom would come with power, and power would come with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). As the apostles and others anticipated the coming of the Holy Spirit, “They all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14). Prayer plays a major role in the book of Acts. About 120 disciples were on vigil as the kingdom approached.
Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of his own apostles. The Lord had known from the beginning that one of his own would hand him over to be executed. But in keeping with the will of God, he allowed the narrative to play out. He still treated Judas as he treated the others, until the occasion of the Last Supper. Judas had been played by the devil, but he made his own choice. Luke makes it clear that Judas had truly been one of the inner circle, yet he fell. We all make our own choice.
It is apparent the apostles were led by the Lord to appoint a replacement for Judas, the son of perdition. Peter refers to Psalms 69:25 and 109:8 as the ground for replacing Judas. General principles guide the apostles to a specific fulfillment. The words, “Therefore it is necessary” indicate the apostles knew this choice to be the will of God (Acts 1:21). The apostles sought out one who had been with them from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
Although we learn all three names of one man who would qualify, the other man is chosen. Matthias becomes the 12th apostle of Jesus Christ, an authoritative witness to the story of Jesus Christ. The casting of lots was an ancient way of impartial choice, like drawing straws. By this means, God was called on to make the choice (Prov. 16:33). As chapter 1 ends, the full complement of apostles continues to await the promised Spirit (Luke 24:49).
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of the book of Acts. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.