lesson
2

Bible Class
Discussion Guide
by Edward Thomason

Picking up broken pieces
Acts 1:13-26

warm up

1. Jesus was not the only casualty at Calvary. After his arrest his disciples forsook him and fled (Mark 14:50.) Peter followed from a distance but later denied him. (Mark 14:72.) And Judas, the betrayer, hung himself. 

2. In the aftermath of the cross, the apostles were scattered and their hearts were shattered! But the resurrection had brought them together and lifted their hearts. The promise of Jesus (Acts 1:5) and then his awesome ascension (Acts 1:9) had left them with eager anticipation as they prayerfully waited and praised God.

wise up

The Apostles' housing arrangements vs13-14

The "upper room was" actually the "abode" of the men listed in verse 13.  Although it is a popular idea, It is not likely that the women mentioned in verse 14 were in the men's abode. In Luke 24:53, the author tells us that when the apostles returned from the ascension to Jerusalem they were "continually in the temple, praising and blessing God." Therefore we should probably conclude that it was in the temple that they gathered to pray with the women and the 120 (see vs 15) and it was while in the temple that they received the promise of the Spirit mentioned in Acts chapter 2. 

What do you think these men and women would have been praying about?  According to verse 14, was the family of Jesus there praising God with them? How reassuring do you think that was for the apostles? Why?

The Apostles' house keeping vs 15-26. 

Piece One:
    vs 15-17, 20-22
While they were waiting, Peter took the initiative to put a few more things back into order. Do you think talking about Judas and the gap he had left in their ministry was a pleasant thing for Peter to bring up? What kind of courage do you think it took for him to do this? How often do we find ourselves waiting for someone else to take the lead and bring up uncomfortable or unpleasant things that need to be discussed? Is such courage a mark of leadership?

Addressing his fellow apostles (cf., vs 16, 21 "us"), Peter indicated that the Psalmist David had in the long ago written about Judas. How does the fact that a prophetic scripture has been fulfilled help strengthen your faith in the gospel story? Why? (cf., 2 Pet 1:19.)

What had David said about the "office or bishoprick" of Judas (vs 20)?. What was it that the one who took the office of Judas was to do according to vs 22? How is this office described in vs 25? 

Piece Two: 
    vs 18-19.
Look back at these verses inserted by Luke and describe what had happened to Judas? Now look at Matthew 27:3-8 and explain how these two stories harmonize. Judas had sold his own soul for thirty pieces of silver. Where did Judas go when he died according to vs 25? Why do you think Peter was not more blunt about where Judas went? Is it possible he didn't know? Is it possible that he was being as respectful as possible of the deceased? Was this a very uncomfortable subject to be discussing? What do you think?

Piece Three:
    vs 23-26.
What two men were put forth as acceptable candidates? Which one was selected to be numbered with the eleven apostles? Who actually selected him and how? Was this a very unique situation? How do we know the Lord's will today? (hint: cf., 2 Tim 3:16) Although, the apostles could determine a lot about the character of these two men, who is the only one that knows the "hearts of all men?" (vs 24.) What bearing should that fact have upon the way we live and our judgments of others?

wrap up

1. Having taken care of some unpleasant but important business, the apostles were now "twelve in number" once again and united in prayer and patience. Their hopes and expectations were high. Their house seemed to be in good order as they waited for the promise of the Holy Spirit to be fulfilled. In those times within our own lives when it seems we must patiently wait, is it a good idea to spend that time setting our own house (life) in order? List or discuss as time permits, some of the unpleasant or broken pieces of life that some might need to be setting back in order. 

2. Most of Jerusalem continued to go back to the way things were before Jesus came. It probably seemed like nothing had ever happened as far as most were concerned. But for the apostles, life would never be the same again. 

Assignment

  Please read Acts 2:1-13 for next week        copyright 2001