This is Luke’s companion volume to his gospel. He continues the explanation of Christianity by showing how the message of the gospel spread across the world. In fact, Acts 1:8 can be seen as an outline for the book. The gospel starts in Jerusalem, spreads through Samaria, and then reaches the farthest parts of the earth (Rome)!
The disciples are still confused as to their mission and ministry. They want to know if it’s finally time for the physical kingdom (1:6)! Jesus shares again that the Father is the one who controls the times and the periods, and it’s not time yet. They are to minister faithfully with the help of the Holy Spirit while they wait for His return. But His departure is depressing, and they stay there looking up at the sky until some angels remind them to get to work!
There were 120 gathered waiting for the promise of the Spirit. While they were waiting, Peter recapped what happened with Judas (according to Scripture) and proposed a replacement. They narrowed it down to two who had been with them from the beginning and who could testify to the resurrection: Matthias and Joseph. Matthias was chosen.
Some have difficulty with the differences in the death of Judas as recorded here and in Matthew. It’s possible to reconcile the accounts, but what is most important is seeing what they emphasize. Matthew shows us how Scripture is fulfilled even when those fulfilling it are driven by guilt and shame to self-destruction. And Acts reminds us that sin has consequences. Judas lost his office through his treachery and came to a shameful end, memorialized by the “Field of Blood.”
How will we be memorialized? Will we work for the kingdom? Will we be faithful while we wait? Or will we allow depression and discouragement to bring us to a bad end?