ACTS - CHAPTERE 1: 14-26 - THE APOSTLES

 

 

ACTS – Chapter 1: 14-26 – THE APOSTLES

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

January 18, 2022

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

I am anxious to get on to Acts, chapter 2, but like Dr. Luke, we must be faithful to the full story of the Book of Acts.

 

 Filled with wonder by the ascension, the disciples return to Jerusalem in obedience to the LORD’S words (Lk. 24:49). 

 

Acts 1:13-14:  When they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip. Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.  These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

 

The brethren are the brothers of Jesus. 

 

1:15:  Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about one hundred and twenty).

 

The list of the Apostles here is essentially the same as that in Luke’s gospel with some slight variation in order.  Bartholomew is the same as Nathanael.  Judas (not Iscariot) was also called Thaddaeus.  It was common in those days to have both Greek and Aramaic names.

 

Judas Iscariot has already killed himself (vs. 18).

 

Let us take some time and get acquainted with the apostles.

1.      PETER: “Peter’s call to be an Apostle was to immediately leave his fishing nets and go with Jesus. Peter’s weaknesses were that he argued, let his temper rage, bragged, cursed, slashed out with his sword, and finally---he denied Jesus Himself---imperfect?  Yes!  But this imperfect Simon, by the power of God, became “Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone.”  Through the Gospels, the books of Peter, and in the first half of Acts, we can see the leadership of this fisherman as he gradually carried the story of Christ beyond Judaism into the Gentile world.  Twice imprisoned in Rome, most historians agree, Peter was also martyred there.  He met his death by being crucified with arms extended but head downward.  Tradition tells us that Peter and Paul were put to death on the same day in Rome.”

2.      ANDREW: “Andrew was the first to proclaim, we have found the Messiah!  He was the first to say, Come and see.  Yet, in the inner circle of The Twelve, he was destined to play “second fiddle” to the more visible Peter, James and John.  Andrew is sometimes known as “The Usher,” for he was continually bringing, or ushering, people into the presence of our LORD.  He was the one who brought Peter to Jesus.  He ushered the Greek delegation who “would see this man,” before Christ. He is the one who brought a small boy with loaves and fishes to stand by the side of Jesus.  He was also a fisherman.  He left those nets from time to time, to follow John the Baptist.  It was one of those times with John when Andrew first met Jesus and was called to be “a fisher of men.”  After the death and resurrection of Jesus, Andrew stayed in Jerusalem and ministered there for several years. Upon leaving Jerusalem, tradition records that Andrew probably went to Southern Russia and then to Greece.  Ephesus is the third area where Andrew appears to have preached.”

3.      JAMES: “ James the Great was one of the three men who comprised the inner ring of the Apostles---Peter, James and John.  James was the elder brother of John the Beloved.  With John and their father, Zebedee, he plied his trade as a fisherman in the Sea of Galilee.  James was with Jesus from the beginning and like Peter, Andrew and John, he was the first to be called.  James is recorded as being involved during Jesus’ miracle works.  James was the first to be martyred.  He was murdered by King Herod Agrippa I about the year 44 A.D (Acts 12: 1-2). Legend places James in missionary work in India and Spain.  Most historians doubt that the Spanish tradition because his time was too short.  The Spanish tradition is, however, that the Apostle James founded the Christian church there.  James and John were given the surname “Boanerges,” which translated means “Sons of thunder.”

4.      JOHN: “Is identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved.  He wrote of love.  He lived his love, and he was loved.  John was one of the sons of Zebedee, a fisherman of Galilee.  He was a disciple of John the Baptist and one of the first to follow Jesus.  He probably owned a home in Jerusalem and was a partner in a fishing business.  He sometimes felt his importance which can be seen in his ambition to have one of the chief places in the Kingdom (Mark 10:35).   John lived into his nineties and was the last of the Apostles to die.  Tertullian (155A.D.-220 A.D.) places John with Peter in Rome, where, tradition tells us, John was boiled in oil and later poisoned.  He survived each attempt on his life by a miraculous deliverance.  In Ephesus, John was exiled to the island of Patmos, which was a penal colony off the coast of Turkey.  It was here he gave us the Book of Revelation.

5.      PHILIP:  Philip was an Israelite, but his name was Greek.  Philp was asked by Jesus to go with him to Galilee (John 1:43).  This so excited the young liberal Israelite that he immediately went out, found his friend, Nathanael (Bartholomew) and persuaded him to come and meet this Jesus---the Messiah.  Philip preached in Samaria and Southern Russia.  He was translated after baptizing the Ethiopian.  Philip is then found at Azotus.  There is a strong tradition that he made it to France where he witnessed to the Gauls. However, it was in Hierapolis, Turkey that Philip was martyred.  The priests of the old god of war, Mars, took Philip, tied him to a cross and stoned him to death. 

6.      BARTHOLOMEW:  “He was a friend and companion of Philip.  He was brought to Christ by Philip.  Their names are always linked together in the gospels.  His first name was probably Nathanael.  He was first identified as a skeptic.  He is the one who said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”   It is said of Bartholomew in the ancient writings of by Abdias (one of the seventy Lk.10:1) it, “He prays a hundred times a day and a hundred times a night.”  When Jesus first saw him, he said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”  No deceit was in this man!  The apostle reportedly traveled to Ethiopia, Egypt and greater Armenia preaching the

Gospel.  In one legend, supported by the writing of Jerome (342 AD-420AD), Nathanael is said to have reached India and left there a leather-bound copy of the gospel of Matthew written in the Hebrew language.  In Armenia, Bartholomew healed the king’s daughter.   Although the king and many others were converted, the priests of the idols were not.   They convinced the king’s brother to have the evangelist arrested, flayed (or skinned alive) then beheaded.”

7.      MATTHEW:  “Tradition tells us that Matthew sometimes known as Levi spent most of his ministry after the resurrection of Jesus, in and around Judea.  He also traveled to Ethiopia to teach and preach.  He was reported to have met martyrdom by crucifixion on a Tau cross.  It was also reported that while Matthew was hanging on that cross, he was beheaded with a battle-ax.  Matthew was obviously well educated and rather wealthy.  Yet, he was a social outcast and a despised tax collector.  He wrote the Gospel of Matthew and recorded more of the exact words of Jesus than anyone else.  All apostles must have a willingness to teach.”

8.      THOMAS:  “:Thomas is the Apostle known as “The Doubter.”  On the night of the crucifixion, Thomas was still putting questions to Jesus.  He would not accept the witness of the others concerning the risen Christ, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails---I WILL NOT BELIEVE (Jn. 20:25).  After his encounter with the resurrected Christ, Thomas, also known by the name Didymus (The Twin), moved immediately into the work of the missionary.  It is said that he preached, worked, and built churches for the next thirty years.  He first traveled to ancient Babylon and established a Christian church in the land of his ancestors.  He then moved into India no later than 49 to 52 A.D.  Even though he preached in the lands of Babylon, Persia, and India (and some say Ceylon and China), it was in India that his work seemed to be everlasting.  Tradition tells us that a king’s lancer ran the apostle through because Queen Tertia had been converted.” 

9.      JAMES THE LESS:  “We don’t know that much about James the Less or “the younger.”  He was a brother to Matthew, Joseph an early Christian, and Salome, an unknown woman. He is unknown, but not totally.  He was certainly an apostle.  Almost as certain, he was a missionary.  Like so many of the Christians that have served the church since the crucifixion of Christ, his deeds, as well as theirs, have been mislaid by history.  One of the interesting beliefs I found was that this James had a striking physical resemblance to Jesus---so much so that Judas Iscariot had to stride into the garden and place a kiss on our LORD’S cheek for the soldiers to arrest the correct person.  Heggesippus (110 A.D.-180 A.D.), an early church historian, wrote that James lived the life of a Nazarene (even after becoming an apostle). He was a man of prayer.  In the story of his martyred death, the Pharisees threw James from the pinnacle of the temple; yet he was unhurt.  They then pelted him with stones, but he was still able to get to his knees and pray for his oppressors.  It was at this point that a fuller (laundryman) rushed out and killed James with a crushing blow to his head with a laundry stick.  His body was then sawn in half.

10.  SIMON THE ZEALOT:  A zealot is one who is zealous or full of zeal, especially to an extreme or excessive degree, a fanatic.  Zealot is also defined as “one of a Jewish sect which struggled openly against the Roman rule in Palestine.”  This was Simon---an open fighter for a cause he felt was right, a cause which would place an Israelite on the throne of Israel.   We do not know why or when Simon the Zealot chosen to follow Jesus of Nazareth and become an Apostle, but after the resurrection, he was with the apostles when they asked Jesus: Will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts. 1:6).   The fiery, enthusiastic evangelist set out on a missionary journey which may have even eclipsed the travels of Paul.  He left Jerusalem and traveled first to Egypt, then through North Africa to Carthage, from there to Spain, and then probably north to Britain.  The next that history and tradition tells us is of his appearance throughout Persia in the company of St. Jude.  It was in Persia that he probably was martyred by being sawn in half. 

11.  JUDE:  The man with three names!  In Matthew he is called Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus (Mt. 10:3).  In the Gospel of Mark, he is called “Thaddeaus(Mk. 3:18).  Luke refers to him as Judas (Jude), the son of James. (Lk. 6:16 and Acts 1:13 RSV).  Jude was probably the son of James the Great and therefore the grandson of Zebedee, a rather successful fisherman of Galilee.  It is most likely Jude was a missionary to Armenia and legend tells us that he met death by being shot “full of arrows.

 

I will talk about the Apostle Paul later on in the Book of Acts.  For this chapter, only eleven of the twelve are mentioned in verse 13. 

 

Besides the apostles there were three other groups of people present (1) Jesus’ brethren.  Apparently, they became convinced he was the Messiah and are now unquestioned believers.  Formerly, they challenged Him to prove Who he was, refusing to believe in Him (Jn. 7:5).  (2) The women, some of the apostles were married.  Also, Jesus’ mother is included among them.  She is seen here for the last time. (3) Numerous other disciples.  These made up the rest of the 120 who watched Jesus ascend.  The entire group returned to the city to wait on the LORD.

 

Acts 1: 16-20:  Peter stood up and said, Men and brethren, this scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. “For he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministryNow this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.  It became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is field of Blood.:  For it is written in the Book of Psalms:  let his dwelling place be desolate and let no one live in it; and, let another take his office. 

 

So now we come to Judas Iscariot.  I did a sermon on Judas 12/15/2009 – see Sermon notes. However, today I am taking the simple text from The Apostles by Kenneth White.

 

JUDAS ISCARIOT:  This past Sunday evening, the subject came up did I think Judas was in Heaven?  I do not.  Because Satan entered him. 

 

John 13:27:  Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him.  Then Jesus said to him, “what you do, do quickly.”

 

John 6:70: Jesus answered them, have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spoke of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

 

Betrayal and Treachery, part of the work of the Cross. 

 

Kenneth White: “I have found two truths to be most evident.  First, what Jesus did was right! “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15;13).  What Judas did was wrong!  “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me (John 13:21).  One time Paul said, the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Ti. 6:10).  Judas, the treasurer, started by taking from the purse.  This greed spread from the material to the spiritual, and destruction followed.  There is one verse of scripture that states emphatically the sadness of an Apostle perverted, He went away and hanged himself

 

Let another take his office

 

Acts 1:21-26: “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 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.”  They proposed two: Joseph call Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  They prayed and said, “You O Lord, who know the heart of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place.  They cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias.  And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

 

Even the appointment of the 12th apostle was above the pay-grade of the eleven.  Jesus still chooses His apostles. 

 

1:2: Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.

 

 

MATTHIAS:  History records him as a Godly man.  According to Nicephorus, Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judaea, then in Aethiopia, what is now modern-day Georgia.  He was crucified in the city of the cannibals in Aethiopia.  A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio in the modern Georgian region claims that Matthias is buried at that site.  Dorotheus stated that Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia.  There are different accounts of his death; but no one disputes that he faithfully preached the gospel (Wikepedia).

 

As you know the LORD blessed me with a vision and visitation of the twelve apostles.  It was Paul who walked over and laid hands on me.

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from NKJV.  I entered into the labors of The Apostles by Kenneth Wyatt. I paraphrased certain passages to shorten to fit within a teaching.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Kenneth Wyatt.   

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