Confessions of a Questioning Christian

Acts 1

Posted on: August 29, 2012

I didn’t realize I’d finished Matthew already (I kept trying to look up Matthew 29). I had initially planned to go through the gospels, but to be honest: I’m bored. I decided to jump forward to Acts.

I’m not making any promises about updating daily like I did (for the most part) with Matthew. Especially because Acts has always been a more trippy book to me than some of the others. It’s like, whoa, let’s take what Jesus said and mix it with some unicorn magic. Presto! We have a new religion! I don’t really understand much of what’s happening in Acts, and I still don’t have a firm grasp on the Holy Spirit. I remember asking my Sunday School teacher once, “We pray to God, and we pray to Jesus, but we don’t pray to the Holy Spirit. If they’re the Trinity, then why don’t we? What’s that about?” She didn’t know how to answer me, so that’s still frustrating me.

Al’ight. Let’s go.

Acts 1

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.  He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Who is Theophilius? Wikipedia says

Theophilus is the name or honorary title of the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are addressed (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1). It is unanimously agreed that both Luke and Acts were originally written in a refined Koine Greek, and that “θεόφιλος” (“Theophilos”), as it appears therein, means friend of God[1] or (be)loved by God or loving God[2] in the Greek language. No one knows the true identity of Theophilus and there are several conjectures and traditions around an identity.

Luke writes that he’s been with Jesus from the beginning. Sometimes people tell me they don’t trust the bible because all the books were written like, 50 years after the fact. But is it possible that the books were written sooner, and we only found the copies that were around 50 years later? Just curious.

The Ascension

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

So, up until Acts, Jesus is kinda like, you guys all suck, stop being stupid, just love each other and help make society better. And he also says things like, “I’m the son of god.” And that’s cool, because what does that even mean? I guess what I’m trying to say is, you could certainly interpret the Jesus parts of the bible as this amazing Jew who was like, a prophet or genius or someone like MLK, Jr. But Acts makes him into a super hero, flying into the sky.

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[c]

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers,the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong[d] he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;


“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22  beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

First he’s like, Judas’s actions happened for good reason. Does that mean he’s forgiven? But then he’s like, that field is cursed. Kay.

Okay, the last part is really crazy. Because we would NEVER use something like lots (or dice or cards or whatever else magical-seeming) in modern day Christianity. We’d say it’s evil, a window to demons, or something like that. When did it suddenly become wrong to pray and then ask God to let his answer be however some dice roll? Kinda don’t know what to think about all of this.


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