Acts 005 – How Firm a Foundation (pt. 3)Acts 1:12-19 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 7, 2022 • Acts
How Firm a Foundation, Part 3
December 7, 2022
Dr. Andy Woods
All right, Well, let’s open our Bibles this evening to Acts chapter 1. And I think this is our last Bible study for the fall corridor. So next week is the gingerbread competition. And then we have a couple of weeks off and then I think we reconvene January the 11th, if memory is right. Does that sound right? So what I’d like to do tonight is to get as far as we can into Acts chapter 1. I would love to finish Acts chapter 1 tonight. See, people are laughing when I say that. So we’ve just started this study on the Book of Acts. We spent the first two lessons laying the foundation of the book. You know, the who, what, where, when, why question. And after those two introductory lessons, we moved into a Verse-by-verse Study of Acts Chapter 1. So we’ve made it through verse 11. So we’ve looked at the Prologue. And then last week we saw Jesus ascend back to heaven. Prologue, verses 1 through 5. The ascension back to heaven, verses 6 through 11. And all of these things are taking place on the Mount of Olives, Jesus having just completed a forty-day ministry with the disciples in between His resurrection and ascension. And now He is ascended. He’s gone back to the Father’s right hand. And so now we move into verses 12 to 14, where the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.
And we pick it up there in verse 12. It says, “Then they return to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet,” Mount of Olives in other words, “which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.” So why did they feel the need to leave the Mount of Olives and go back to the city of Jerusalem? Well, Jesus told them not to leave Jerusalem, remember? If you look back at verse 4 of Acts 1 it says, “Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me.'” So He specifically said, do not leave Jerusalem until you receive the Spirit. And so they were just doing what Jesus taught them to do. And in the prequel, Luke’s Gospel, in Luke 24:49, Jesus told the disciples the same thing. He said, “Behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” And sometimes I wonder what would have happened if they had just disobeyed God and done their own thing. I mean, there would be no church and their human efforts would have gone nowhere and we wouldn’t have Christianity today. So there’s coming a change in the outworking of the Holy Spirit. So go to Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit to come upon you. So that’s why they returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem.
And it says here very interestingly, that the distance between the Mount of Olives and the city of Jerusalem is about “Sabbath day’s journey.” What’s a Sabbath day journey? Charles Ryrie helps us on this verse, he says, “A Sabbath day’s journey, about 2,000 cubits, or a little more than half a mile (almost one kilometer)-” if you’re into the metric system. This is “the distance the rabbis allowed Jews to journey on the Sabbath. This limitation was apparently arrived at on the basis of-” and he gives a couple of Old Testament scriptures, one from Exodus 16, another one from Numbers 35. So the Pharisees, the rabbis- because you’re not supposed to work on the Sabbath- imposed a rule that you can’t travel more than a certain distance, more than half a mile on the Sabbath. So this distance between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem is probably based on that- around half a mile. And once you understand this- what Jesus says to the Jews- then the tribulation period makes sense. In the tribulation period, he tells the Jews, when they see the temple desecrated by the AntiChrist, they’re to flee into the wilderness, a place that we believe is Petra, where they’re going to be supernaturally protected by God. But He says, as you flee, “pray that your flight will not be in the winter or on a Sabbath.”
So you’re going to have to make this terrible flight. And hopefully it’s not in the winter, because it’s going to be hard to travel from the land from Judea to Jordan in the winter. And you should pray also that it doesn’t take place on the Sabbath, because if it takes place on the Sabbath, then you’re going to have to violate the rabbinical law that you can’t travel more than half a mile on the Sabbath. So that’s what that language there means about a Sabbath day’s journey. So if I was going to argue that Luke was Jewish instead of Gentile, I would probably make the argument based on these little nuances he throws in here because he seems to have a lot of understanding of Jewish rabbinical law. I still believe Luke was a Gentile. But there’s a lot of people that think he was Jewish. I don’t know if it’s something worth starting a new church over necessarily, but people that argue he’s Jewish would argue from verses like verse 12. And then from there you move to verse 13. It says, “When they had entered the city,” So they’re now doing what Jesus said. They’re waiting for the s=Spirit to fall in Jerusalem. “When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying.” So the upper room is a place that they had been before.
It’s mentioned in Luke 22 verse 12. It says, “And he will show you a large furnished upper room; prepare it there.” It’s mentioned in Mark 14 verse 15, “And he himself will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready; prepare for us there.”And it could be the place that’s spoken of in the next chapter, Acts 2:1. It says, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” Some would argue that that one place is the upper room. But the upper room is basically where Jesus gave the upper room discourse, John 13 through 17, prior to His death. And that’s where He told them that it’s actually to your advantage that I’m leaving. Because when I leave, the Spirit will come and the spirit will be in you forever. He had taught them all of that in the upper room prior to His crucifixion. And so now leaving the Mount of Olives, going back to Jerusalem, they went back to the same place, the upper room. And if you look at the second part of verse 13, it mentions the eleven disciples that are there in the upper room. It says, “that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon the Zealot, And Judas the son of James.”
Now, the Judas mentioned there is different than Judas Iscariot who has committed suicide at this point. And so we’re dealing here with eleven disciples. There’s four places in the New Testament where the disciples are all mentioned by name like this, in terms of a list. You’ll see it in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, and then the fourth place that’s mentioned is Acts 1 verse 13, which we just read. Except there’s not twelve, there’s eleven. And so why mention these 11 names? Because this is where it all started. What is going to be tracked through the Book of Acts as the birth of the church and its growth. And one of the ways Luke, in the Book of Acts, is going to track its growth is through- you can see it there in one of my earlier bullet points- through something called progress reports where Luke is actually going to give a numerical count concerning the development of the church. So the first bullet point I have there gives the clearest progress reports. We’re about to jump from 11, a few verses later to 120. And then by the time Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost, the number goes up to 3000. And as you keep moving through these progress reports, you’ll get the number 5000. And by the time you get to the Antioch ministry up north, Paul is going to be teaching. It doesn’t even give you a number anymore.
There’s so many people you know. So pay attention to those as you move through the Book of Acts, because Luke is including these for the benefit of his addressee, Theophilus, to show him the birth of the church and the maturity and the growth of the church. And here’s your first progress report. It starts with 11 people. And this is going to be developed by God into a world-wide phenomenon. And then you take a look there at verse 14. And it says, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” So as they were in the upper room, you see an intensity in their prayer life. I mean, what this best reads is they were continually devoting themselves to prayer. And they were also of one mind. One mind sometimes is translated, one accord. The Greek word for one accord is- let’s see if I can pronounce this right- homothumadon, if I’m pronouncing that right. And it’s basically speaking of unanimity. I mean, they were all of one mind in agreement with exactly what they were praying for. And that word translated, one accord, that Greek word is used about nine times in the Book of Acts. And what is very, very tragic is there is actually, in Greek- If I’m right on this- there’s a definite article in front of the word prayer.
Now that does not show up in most English translations. I’m reading from the New American Standard Bible. It just says “to prayer.” They were devoting themselves to prayer. But what it reads, the way it reads in Greek is they were not just devoting themselves to prayer, but they were devoting themselves to the prayer. In other words, they were praying something very, very specific. And so the issue is, well, what was the prayer? What were they- what was the one thing they were of one mind, one accord? What was the one thing they were praying for? And in the prequel, the Gospel of Luke, I think you have the answer in Luke 11:13, where Jesus tells His disciples what to pray for. Luke 11:13, it says, Jesus speaking to his disciples. He says, “If you despite being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” And that’s where Jesus says the Father is the giver of good gifts. And the Father must be the giver of good gifts because we know how to give gifts to our children and we’re tainted by sin nature. How much more does the Father in heaven know how to give good gifts to His children when He’s not, you know, tainted by a sin nature? It’s kind of the argument from the lesser to the greater. And the good gift among many good gifts, I believe, that the Father wants to give is the Holy Spirit.
And what Jesus says is, Ask for it. Ask for the Holy Spirit. And so I believe that that is the prayer that they were praying. And it fits the context pretty well because He told them, go back to Jerusalem, wait for the Father to fulfill His promise of giving you the Holy Spirit. Wait till you’re clothed with power from on high. And I think they were thinking backwards to what Jesus said in Luke 11 verse 13 which fits Luke’s writings because the Gospel of Luke is the prequel. The Book of Acts, as we’ve talked about, is the sequel. And they were together in one accord, one mind, and they were praying for the Holy Spirit. Now, very, very sadly, there are Christians that still pray that. And they don’t understand that the prayer request has already been answered. I mean, I don’t have to ask for the Holy Spirit because Jesus already answered that prayer request in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit has fallen on the church. And anybody that has trusted in Christ for salvation, their body is already the permanent dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. So the reason they’re praying this and we don’t have to pray it is because the Book of Acts is not prescriptive in cases like this, but it’s just describing what happened.
The Book of Acts is a transitional book. What we need to do is we need to learn how to walk according to the power of the Holy Spirit. I need to learn not to quench the spirit and grieve the Spirit. But I don’t have to pray for the Holy Spirit because Romans 8 verse 9 tells me that I already have the Holy Spirit already because I’ve trusted in Christ. But this is pre-church age. The church hasn’t started yet, and I think this is what they were focused on. You’ll also notice the women praying. It’s right there in the passage: “along with the women.” So, you know, Luke is sort of tracing the worldwide influence of Jesus. He’s tracing the worldwide influence of Jesus, beginning in the Gospel of Luke and how Jesus continued that worldwide influence through the church. And you put Luke and Acts together and you learn Jesus is really interested in reaching the whole world, even those people that society has rejected. Because women, obviously at this time and you can see it in some of the rabbinical writings and things like that, were basically treated like second-class citizens. You know, a woman wasn’t even allowed to do, you know, all kinds of things within religious life. And here, Luke, as he’s talking about the women fitting with this theme of the worldwide influence of Jesus, he mentions the women there.
So the women are in prayer right alongside the men, praying the prayer for the falling of the Holy Spirit. And who else is there? Mary is there. Who is Mary? She’s the mother of Jesus. And it’s interesting that Mary is never mentioned again in the Book of Acts, to my knowledge. And that is something important to understand because Roman Catholicism has taken Mary and sort of put her on a pedestal. She’s not just someone that’s respected, but she’s actually someone that’s venerated in Roman Catholicism. And a lot of Roman Catholics to this day will pray to God through Mary. She’s kind of looked at as a mediator, a co-redemptress. So there’s two errors you can make with Mary- not giving her the proper respect that she deserves as the mother of Jesus, or you can go the other way and you can deify her. Roman Catholicism deifies her. And if she is a god or a goddess, I mean, why is she only mentioned here and never again in the Book of Acts? Doesn’t make any sense. So Mary is mentioned, but this is her last reference, I think, in the whole book of Acts, perhaps the whole Bible. So the women are praying. Mary is praying. Who else is praying? Oh, my goodness. The brothers of Jesus. Now, here’s another problem with Roman Catholicism. They teach that, Mary was a perpetual virgin.
Well, how can that work when Jesus has brothers? Or better said, half brothers. So following the virgin conception, following the virgin birth of Christ- which we’re getting ready to celebrate this month, obviously at Christmas- Joseph and Mary had a normal marital sexual relationship. From that sexual relationship came the brothers of Jesus. Better said the half brothers of Jesus, two of whom wrote books of the New Testament. And they are who? James and Jude. If you want some Bible verses on the brothers of Jesus, you can jot down this verse here: Acts 1:14. You’ll see a reference to these half-brothers of Jesus in Matthew 12:46-50 where someone said to him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” And who’s the mother? Mary. Who are these brothers? Those are the half-brothers of Jesus. Matthew 13 verses 55 and 56, it mentions the half brothers of Jesus. It says, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” And then he had sisters. “And his sisters, are they not all with us?” You’ll see a reference to them in Mark 3:31, where it says, “Then His mother and His brothers arrived, standing outside.” You’ll see a reference to Christ’s half-brothers in John 7 verses 3 through 5. It says, “Therefore, His brother said to Him, ‘Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works, which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For not even his brothers were believing in Him.”
So his own brothers really didn’t think He was the Messiah when He said He was the Messiah. I mean, I can’t really blame them for that, to be honest with you. If my brother said he’s the Messiah, I’d be like, What? What are you talking about? But they did believe after He rose from the dead. First Corinthians 15 verse 7 says, “then he appeared to James,” which was one of his half-brothers. “then to all the apostles.” So you start to see the problems that Roman Catholicism has with passages like this, and they have to really do a lot of exegetical gymnastics. Oh, well, these are just His spiritual brothers. And they have to say that to maintain Mary’s perpetual virginity. Well, that’s not what the text says. It doesn’t say His spiritual brothers. It just uses the normal word for brothers. So it’s kind of interesting as you go through the Bible, you see things in Roman Catholicism that just don’t work. I mean, Mary is to be respected, but she’s not to be deified and she’s not any kind of mediator. And by the way, Mary, contrary to Roman Catholic tradition, did not remain a perpetual virgin all her life.
So that’s verses 12 to 14. And now we come to verses 15 through 26 where they have to choose a replacement for Judas who is no longer with the group because he has committed suicide. Now, why- And there’s a long process that goes on here, verses 15 through 26, as they have to make a decision to replace Judas. Why go into this? Because the church is about to be born. And the church, Ephesians 2 verse 20, was built on the cornerstone Jesus and the foundation stones of the Apostles. The cornerstone in a- and I’m getting this language from Ephesians 2 verse 20- the church’s analogized to a metaphorical building or temple. The cornerstone, Jesus, is the first stone that goes into the ground. And you use it sort of to orient yourself to where everything else goes in the temple. I mean, where does everything else go? It’s all measured by the cornerstone. So the cornerstone goes in first. The church is built on Jesus. But Ephesians 2 verse 20 says, It’s built on the Apostles. And according to- I’ll show you the verses a little bit later- Revelation 21 around verse 14, there’s got to be 12 apostles. We’ve got 11 here. So we need to add somebody. Judas is gone. There’s an empty chair. We need to add an apostle. And why would Luke explain all this? Because a building is only as good as the foundation that is built on, right? I mean, if the foundation is wrong, the whole building will be wrong.
So when we were living in the Dallas area, you know, we would wake up in the morning and there would be like a giant crack right through our wall that wasn’t there before. Even though the drapes were beautiful, the carpet was beautiful, the paint job was beautiful, because my wife was in charge of all that stuff and not me. But the crack appeared. Why did the crack appear? Because in the Dallas area, if you know that area, it has foundation problems. And so because the foundation was shaky, it didn’t matter how beautiful the rest of the house was, it was still problematic. So the church, which is about to be born, is only as good as the foundation it comes from. And so Luke is trying to explain that this foundation had to be perfect for the building to be erected over the last 2000 years. And we have a problem because we need 12 apostles and we only have 11. So now they go through this whole process of how they’re going to fill the empty office, the empty chair, or the vacancy left by Judas’s suicide. So verses 15 through 26, a man named Matthias is going to be chosen. And so we have Peter’s proposition, verses 15 through 20.
The apostolic qualifications for the replacement are enumerated, verses 21 and 22, and then Matthias is selected verses 23 through 26. So notice Peter speaking up and what does Peter say here? Verse 15, “At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren.” Now I want you to see something here- that Peter is going to do this all the way through Acts 1 through 10. Peter is the leader. Peter is the main man. Peter is going to preach the opening sermon on the day of Pentecost, and 3000 people are going to be saved through that. It’s going to be Peter who is going to lead the first Gentile to Christ, a man named Cornelius, Acts chapter 10. Peter is going to speak up at the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15. I mean, if you don’t have a Peter, you don’t have a progressing, moving church. I mean, Peter is the man that God is using in early Acts, and this is the beginning of it. And I hope you see all over that verse the grace of God. Cause this is the same guy as you know, that just denied the Lord three times. This is the same guy who, when Jesus summoned him to walk out on the water, you remember in the Gospels, he did well for a while, and then he got his eyes off the Lord and he began to sink. This is the same guy that opened his mouth up there in Caesarea, Philippi up north and Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan.”
I mean, this is a guy that I mean, by and large, failed at so many different things. And yet this is the guy that God is using. So all of that to say you may have- we may have totally messed things up as Christians. You may have, in your life, pre-Christ, even post-Christ, done dumb things, made bad decisions, sinned against God. You know, in the denials of Christ, I mean, Peter- one of those denials, I think it was number three, if I remember right- was intimidated by a slave girl, the Bible says. I mean, this is a guy that was filled with anxiety, filled with fear, filled with worry, filled with doubt. And, you know, you would think someone like that had so many missteps, he would say, Well you know, I guess I’m, you know, disqualified. But that’s not how God works. You know, God takes people that are broken and He will use them, if they’re open to it, to advance His purposes. So all of that to say you shouldn’t, in your own mind, disqualify yourself because of some decision or some choice you made last month, last year, last week, yesterday, ten years ago, five years ago. Oh, God could never use me, you know. Look at what I’ve done. Well, look at Peter.
And if you don’t like the example of Peter, look at the example of Jonah. Jonah, the seventh-century, eighth-century prophet could not have been more outside the will of God. Because God said, go to Nineveh- which is in the east- and preach grace. And he went west. He went to Spain. And if you look at a map, you’ll see Nineveh is over here and Tarshish or Spain is over here. Totally 100% in rebellion against God. And you know the story there. God got a hold of him. God has all kinds of tools that He can use. Even putting someone in the belly of a fish for three days, vomiting him out on dry land. And probably what is rapidly becoming my, perhaps my favorite verse in the whole Bible. I believe it’s in Jonah 3:1, where it says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.” That’s what’s going on here with Peter. The word of the Lord came to Peter a second time. And that’s what’s maybe going on in your life. Maybe the word of the Lord is going to come to you a second time. Just be ready for it when it comes. And don’t think to yourself, Well, I’m just- I must be outside the reach of God. That is contrary to everything we understand about God’s grace. So Peter’s the main man. Peter stands up. And we have a numerical account.
It says, “At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren,” and then it has a little parenthetical statement. “(a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons were there together), and [then Peter] said,” So you’ll notice that the upper room must have been a lot bigger than most of our pictures of it. Um, you know, we kind of put it like it’s a little attic or something. You know, they’re kind of huddled around this table. But it seems to me it’s a lot larger than we give credence to because it had to be big enough for 120 people. And you’ll notice the progress report. We just jump from eleven to how many now? One-hundred and twenty. So you look at the bottom bullet point I have there. I’ve got the less clear progress reports, Acts 1:13, eleven. Now we’re up to One-hundred and twenty, Acts 15. And you go down to verse 16, and this is what Peter says. “‘Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled,” And he’s speaking now of the suicide of Judas- how the suicide of Judas was actually predicted in God’s Word. And notice the word fulfilled, verse 16. It’s the Greek word, pléroó, fulfilled. You probably should underline it. And the reason I bring this up is Luke and Peter know how to use the word fulfilled. Why is that a big deal? Because eventually, probably next year we’re going to come to Acts 2.
And it’s going to say there, “It should come to pass in the last days, God says, ‘That I will pour forth my spirit on all mankind; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall [see visions], Your old men shall dream dreams; Even on my bondslaves, both men and women, I will pour forth in those days My Spirit And they shall prophesy. I will grant wonders in the sky above And signs on the earth below, Blood, fire, and vapor [of] smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” Now, when we get to that reference to Joel 2 in Acts two, I’m going to be making the case that Joel 2 was never fulfilled in Acts 2. This is a major difference with the Charismatic movement. They think Joel 2 was fulfilled in Acts 2. But the problem is in Acts 2, the Sun did not turn into darkness and the moon did not turn into blood red. So then why is Peter quoting Joel 2 in Acts 2? He’s basically saying that something similar or analogous is happening now on the day of Pentecost in comparison to what will happen in the Tribulation period and the Millennium. So I’m going to be arguing that Joel 2 is being used in Acts 2 as an analogy.
And almost everybody in modern Christendom will reject that interpretation. I will try to make the case that it’s not a fulfillment, but an analogy. And I have a very simple point to make when we get there, if we get there before the rapture. If Joel 2 was fulfilled in Acts 2, why didn’t Peter just use the word fulfill? He doesn’t use it in Acts 2, and yet he uses it in Acts 1. I mean, Peter’s pretty good at using the word fulfill in Acts , concerning the scriptures pointing to the suicide of Judas, but he doesn’t use the word in Acts 2. So you should probably underline fulfilled and just put a little asterisk or something by that because it’s actually going to become important down the road. So verse 16, Peter says, “‘Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.'” Now we know what Judas did. He sold out not for thirty pieces of gold, but for a mere thirty pieces of silver. And he actually guided the authorities to arrest Jesus. That’s when Jesus said, Are you going to betray me with a kiss, friend? Which is heartbreaking because Jesus called Judas a friend. He looked at him as a friend, you know, to the absolute bitter end, you know, even as Judas was betraying Jesus.
And Peter is making the case here that that very act of betrayal was predicted in the Old Testament. And he’s going to make reference to a couple of Psalms, which we’ll see in just a minute. But what you see in verse 16 is a beautiful example of what we call dual authorship. As Peter is referencing these songs, look at how he describes the Psalms. “which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.” So who wrote the Psalms? Well, David wrote the Psalms. But wait a minute, it says David wrote the Psalms, but it also says the Holy Spirit wrote the Psalms. It’s right there in the passage. Both are mentioned. So what we believe in is what is called dual authorship. A divine author, capital A, who carried along a human author, little a, and as capital A carried along little a, capital A did not subjugate the human author. Did not subjugate the human author’s temperament. Did not subjugate the human author’s personality, background, but strategically used it, carried him along to pin God’s word. I mean, it’s an amazing thing what God did in the inspiration of the Scriptures- how He worked in this way. Why would God subjugate a human author when God is the author of what’s in that human author as well, such as their character, their personality, their temperament, their life experiences?
And so as you read the Bible, you’ll see the personalities of the biblical writers coming out. And yet at the same time, it’s understood that God, somehow- I’m not sure exactly how He did it- but He guided them along in such a way, respecting who they were, that they ended up penning God’s Word. And that is the difference between how God uses somebody and how Satan uses people. When Satan uses someone, in the case of demon possession in the Gospels, he completely comes into a person and he completely subjugates who they are. So it’s not even them anymore. You know, that’s why as Jesus is conversing with the demons, who are you? They’ll say, you know, speaking through a person, we are legion, for we are many. And you get the idea that these demons have completely subjugated the individual. That’s how Satan works. But that’s not how God works. God uses people as they are. So obviously the canon of Scripture is shut and new books of the Bible aren’t being written today. But you’ll see the same pattern in your own life when God starts to use you. What you’ll see is He begins to use everything about you. Conversations from the past. Your own personality type. You know, your own characteristics, mannerisms, way of expressing yourself. And I’ve seen that in my own life through experiences God has taken me through, you know, particularly in the legal profession. Because people say to me, you know, when you teach the Bible, you remind me of a lawyer.
It’s like you’re arguing your case. And it’s like God gave all that to me just to use it in a different, different way. So you’ll see that in your life as well. And you see that in the development of the Scripture, the progress of Scripture. So this is what it means in second Timothy 3:16-17 when it says all Scripture is inspired by God. Theopneustos, I think is how you say that. It’s a hapax legomenon, meaning a word used only once. You only find this word here in the whole Greek New Testament. In other words, hapax, once, legomenon, spoken. Spoken once. And basically what it means is God-breathed. And when it says God breathed, what it’s speaking of is the dual authorship of Scripture. Capital A guiding little a to record God’s Word in such a way that in the original manuscripts, there’s not one single mistake or error in it. And yet somehow God sovereignly used the individual to write His word. This is what second Peter 1:21 means when it says, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men,” not subjugated, “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Now that Greek word moved- I got it in brackets there- is pheró.
And that is the same word that you’ll find in Acts 27:15 and verse 17 concerning wind that comes into the sails of a sailboat. And when that wind comes upon the sails of a sailboat, the boat is propelled. That basically is how the Scripture came into existence. The Holy Spirit, just like when filling up sails on a sailboat, thereby propelling the boat. The Holy Spirit came upon David and every other writer of Scripture and somehow supernaturally moved them, not overriding them, but using who they were in terms of their life experiences, characteristics, temperament, etc. Capital A influenced little a, and somehow this happened so that the Truth of God was recorded in the original manuscripts without any mistakes or error in it whatsoever. And so this becomes really a very, very powerful verse on bibliology, which is the doctrine of the Scripture. Because you see there in verse 16, “which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas.” So there’s a couple of scriptures that seem to predict the suicide of Judas. And who gave us those scriptures? Was it David or was it the Holy Spirit? And the answer is yes. The answer is both. Dual authorship. You’ve got both names mentioned there. So the betrayal of Judas apparently was predicted in the Old Testament. And where was it predicted? We’re going to see two Psalms in just a moment.
And then you drop down to verse 17. And it’s speaking of Judas. It says, “For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” So this is a description of what Judas had before he betrayed Christ. Who was Judas in his previous position? Well, he was one of the twelve. He had actually obtained a part in the ministry. And so when he sold Jesus out for not even thirty pieces of gold, but thirty pieces of silver, this is where he lost. He lost his position, his office, as one of the twelve. That’s why he has to be replaced by Matthias. And he lost his part in the ministry. And so it’s really a tragic thing, when you think about it, what Judas gave up for some quick money or whatever the motive was in the betrayal of the Son of God. And then you continue on in verse 18, and you’ve got two major problems in verse 18. I mean, verse 18 is a big problem. Big problems, plural. Verse 18, “(Now, this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness,” and then it says, “and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.” Now, why- why do I care about the intestines? Why do I care that his intestines gushed out? Oh, Luke was a physician. Yeah. Colossians 4:14, says “Luke, the beloved physician.” So dual authorship of Scripture. Do you see how Luke’s personality comes out here? I mean, if I was writing this, I wouldn’t care about intestines because my background has nothing to do with medicine or biology or anything like that.
If Matthew was writing this, he wouldn’t talk about intestines either. You know what Matthew talks about? He talks about money all the time. The parable of the talents. A monetary denomination. Jesus and Peter go fishing. And Jesus says, Grab the fish. There’s going to be a coin in the fish’s mouth. I want you to pull the coin out and use it to pay the temple tax. That story, by the way, only occurs in Matthew’s gospel. Why would Matthew talk about it? No one else does. Because his background is a tax collector. See how the dual authorship is working here? Peter- this is a talk I just gave earlier this week at the Pre-trib Study Group. Peter, in First Peter and Second Peter, talks more about the flood than any other apostle. Did you know that? And you get the impression that Peter likes to talk about water. Well, that makes sense because his occupation is a fisherman. Dual authorship. So God- see how God is using these people as they are, not overriding them, not subjugating them? Capital A influencing little a. So Luke is going to talk about intestines. Luke, by the way, also talks about the pre-natal- as we’re coming up to Christmas time, right? The prenatal activities of the mother of Jesus and the mother of John the Baptist.
What’s going on in their wombs. Only Luke talks about that. You know, John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. Why did only Luke talk about that but no other gospel writer? Because Luke likes to talk about pre-natal activity because he is a physician. So besides the intestines gushing out- that’s a- that’d be a great sermon title, wouldn’t it? I mean, you’ve got two major problems. If you look at verse 18, it says, “(Now this man,” that’s Judas, “acquired a field with the price of his wickedness.” Now we’ve got a big problem because this gives you the impression that Judas and the money that he used to betray Christ purchased the field. And the problem is, Matthew’s gospel doesn’t say that. It says the chief priest bought the field. Matthew 27:6-8 says, “The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.’ And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.” Well, Acts says Judas bought the field. “This man acquired a field.” Matthew’s gospel says the chief priests bought the field. So who’s right here? Well, they’re both right. One is giving it from the perspective of the facts. Another one is giving it from the perspective of the law.
Matthew is talking about it from the factual level. Luke in Acts is talking about it from the legal level. So Arnold Fruchtenbaum rushes to our rescue here. “The price offered to him was thirty pieces of silver. This bribe was the money used to purchase the field, and according to Matthew, it was the [chief] priests who purchased [it]. Yet Luke [stated]: Now this man [Judas] obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity. From a Jewish viewpoint, both statements are true. By Jewish law, money wrongfully gained could not be put into the Temple treasury: It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood… However, in the case of Judas and his bribe, the donor was dead.” Meaning that Judas’s name was still connected to the money. It was on all the legal documents. “Although the money could not be placed in the Temple treasury, it could be used for purchasing something to benefit the whole community in the name of the donor.” So you can’t put the money into the Temple treasury. But here’s what we can do: We can use it to purchase something for the benefit of the community. You can throw it into the Temple treasury for that reason. And that’s how they bought this field, you know, to bury strangers.
“So, the religious leaders purchased the field for the public, as a place to bury strangers, and despite Judas’s death, all legal documents of sale reflected his name.” Cause Judas is dead. So, Matthew records the events as they occurred.” The chief priest bought the field. But, Luke documented the fact that, legally, Judas was still the purchaser of the field. So, Voila, no more contradiction. Just understand that Matthew is recording the events in fact and Luke is recording the events in law. Because, apparently, you could take money from some terrible act, which normally couldn’t go into the Treasury, but you could use it to purchase something for the community. And that’s what the chief priests did. And since the donor was dead, Judas’s name was still on the documents. So in actuality, even though he didn’t factually buy the field, legally he did. Put your hand up if that makes sense. All right. Okay. Thank you. I need a little confidence booster there. And then one other quick problem here concerning the death of Judas. It says, “and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.” So we have another problem because Matthew’s gospel tells us that when Judas died, he hung himself. Acts says he kind of, I don’t know, it looks like he fell off some kind of ravine and as he was tumbling down the ravine, his intestines- his body was ripped open and his intestines gushed out. And so I’m bringing these things up because people will come to this and they will say the Bible is filled with contradictions.
And yet a good attorney will show you how to harmonize alleged contradictions. That’s what I’m trying to do here. I’m showing you that these aren’t contradictions if you have all of the information. If you have all of the information, it’s not what you would call a logical contradiction. A logical contradiction is like saying something is both black and white at the same time. I mean, that’s a contradiction. And when you fill in all the details, you see, it really isn’t a contradiction at all. I mean, the guy that really did great work on all these alleged Bible contradictions is a Bible scholar by the name of Gleason Archer. And he wrote a book called Bible Difficulties. And he goes through about every possible contradiction people bring up in the Scripture showing that it’s not a contradiction. So how do we resolve this contradiction? I mean, one passage says he hung himself, another passage says his body fell down a cliff or a ravine of some kind, and his body was torn open, and his intestines gushed out. I mean, is that a contradiction? No, it’s not a contradiction if he hung himself over a cliff and the branch broke. Contradiction disappears, right? Notice what Dr. Constable says here.
“This account of Judas’ death differs from Matthew’s, who wrote that Judas hanged himself. The two events are easy to combine, and undoubtedly both [accounts] were true. Perhaps Judas hanged himself and in the process also fell ‘headlong’ (lit. flat on his face) and tore open his abdomen. Perhaps the rope or branch with which he hanged himself broke. Or [perhaps] when others cut his corpse down, it fell and broke open, as Luke described.” Now, he says another view, and here he’s quoting Arnold Fruchtenbaum. “Another view is that Judas defiled the city when he hanged himself,” And they were getting ready, I think, for a religious activity here. I think it was Passover if I’m not mistaken. I could be wrong on that. But there was some sort of religious ritual in Judaism that they were getting ready to embrace. And Jewish law basically talked about how you can’t do that in a defiled city. And here we have this guy that just hung himself. The city has been defiled, according to Jewish law. So, Constable, quoting Fruchtenbaum, says, “Another view is that Judas defiled the city when he hanged himself, so the priests threw his body over the wall facing the Hinnom Valley,” and when they threw his body out of the city, that’s when his abdomen was ripped open and his guts or his intestines gushed out. So what we have on the table are a lot of different ways for trying to harmonize these alleged contradictions. Therefore, they do not fit the law of contradiction that something is both black and white at the same time.
It’s like taking three people that are blind and getting their testimonies as to what they’re touching. If they’re all touching an elephant and one person who- let’s say they’re not blind, but they have blindfolds on. One person is touching the elephant’s foot, the toes, and he says in his testimony, I feel five lumps here. And another man that’s blindfolded is touching the elephant’s trunk and he’s saying it feels like a giant tube. And another one is touching the elephant’s side and he’s saying, you know, it feels like a giant wall. And at first glance, it looks like all three of them, touching the same animal, are contradicting each other until you take everyone’s blindfold off and you realize they’re all touching different parts of the same animal. That’s what’s happening here with these alleged contradictions. With the acquiring of the field, Matthew is touching the factual side. Luke in Acts is touching the legal side. With Judas hanging himself and his intestines gushing out, Matthew, he is talking about how he died. Luke in Acts is talking about how the priests got rid of the body, which was already dead so that the city wouldn’t be defiled so they can continue on with their religious activity. So that’s what we mean by handling these contradictions. Verse 19, “And it became known to all who-” This is my last verse. Everybody’s laughing again. “It became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)”
So basically what happened with Judas’s blood money, because he felt guilty and he wanted to just get rid of it, and they couldn’t throw it into the Treasury because it was blood money unless they brought a community project with the blood money. This is what they bought. The inhabitants of Jerusalem knew about this purchase of the field and the source of the money. And they began calling the field that was purchased by the Aramaic name, Hakeldama. That means Field of Blood. You’ll notice that as Luke is talking about the Aramaic language, verse 19, he doesn’t say our language. He says their language. And you might recall that when we introduced the book, I said, that’s one of the reasons that Luke might be a Gentile. Because that’s a strange way to refer to Aramaic as their language when that kind of language was spoken of in the land of Israel. So with all of that being said, when we get together in January, we’ll look at the apostolic qualifications. I mean, what is an apostle, exactly? Because they’ve got to replace one deceased apostle with another. And then how Matthias ended up being selected. And is suicide the unpardonable sin? We’ll talk about that as well.
So with all that being said, we will dismiss the jury. And we will see you next week for gingerbread houses and January 11th for Bible study. And our church is meeting Sunday morning, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. But we’re just meeting from 10:30 to 12:00. So normally we have two sessions on Sunday but because those particular Sundays land on Christmas morning and New Year’s Day, we’re just going to have one session, but it’s going to start at 10:30 and go to noon. So it’ll be a normal church service, but we won’t have Sunday school accompanying it. And on Christmas Eve, we’re going to have a service from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. So it will be traditional Christmas songs. We’re not going to rock the house on you or anything. And we’re going to have a, believe it or not- and you’re going to start laughing again- a short message from me which will last roughly ten minutes. And so- was that- was that Anne that was laughing like that? See, a prophet is without honor in his own house. And we will have you out within under an hour. And we’ve done it in the past. And some of you don’t think we could do it. And you have to come just to witness the miracle. So it’s really a- it’s a great way to keep Christ in your Christmas, but we’re going to restrict it so it doesn’t interfere with family Christmas Eve celebrations. That sound all right? All right. You guys are dismissed.