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Ac 1:1-11. INTRODUCTION--LAST DAYS OF OUR LORD UPON EARTH--HIS ASCENSION.
1, 2. former treatise--Luke's Gospel.
2. after that he, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments, &c.--referring to the charge recorded in Mt 28:18-20; Mr 16:15-18; Lu 24:44-49. It is worthy of notice that nowhere else are such communications of the risen Redeemer said to have been given "through the Holy Ghost." In general, this might have been said of all He uttered and all He did in His official character; for it was for this very end that God "gave not the Spirit by measure unto Him" (Joh 3:34). But after His resurrection, as if to signify the new relation in which He now stood to the Church, He signalized His first meeting with the assembled disciples by breathing on them (immediately after dispensing to them His peace) and saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (Joh 20:22) thus anticipating the donation of the Spirit from His hands (see on Joh 20:21, 22); and on the same principle His parting charges are here said to have been given "through the Holy Ghost," as if to mark that He was now all redolent with the Spirit; that what had been husbanded, during His suffering work, for His own necessary uses, had now been set free, was already overflowing from Himself to His disciples, and needed but His ascension and glorification to flow all forth. (See on Joh 7:39.)
3-5. showed himself alive--As the author is about to tell us that
"the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" was the great burden of
apostolic preaching, so the subject is here filly introduced by an
allusion to the primary evidence on which that great fact rests, the
repeated and undeniable manifestations of Himself in the body to the
assembled disciples, who, instead of being predisposed to believe it,
had to be overpowered by the resistless evidence of their own senses,
and were slow of yielding even to this
4. should not depart from Jerusalem--because the Spirit was to glorify the existing economy, by descending on the disciples at its metropolitan seat, and at the next of its great festivals after the ascension of the Church's Head; in order that "out of Zion might go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa 2:3; and compare Lu 24:49).
6-8. wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?--Doubtless their carnal views of Messiah's kingdom had by this time been modified, though how far it is impossible to say. But, as they plainly looked for some restoration of the kingdom to Israel, so they are neither rebuked nor contradicted on this point.
8. receive power--See
9-11. while they beheld, he was taken up--See on Lu 24:50-53. Lest it should be thought He had disappeared when they were looking in some other direction, and so was only concluded to have gone up to heaven, it is here expressly said that "while they were looking He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." So Elijah, "If thou see me when I am taken from thee" (2Ki 2:10); "And Elisha saw it" (Ac 1:12). (See on Lu 9:32.)
10. while they looked steadfastly toward heaven--following Him with
their eager eyes, in rapt amazement. Not, however, as a mere fact is
this recorded, but as a part of that resistless evidence of their senses
on which their whole subsequent testimony was to be borne.
11. Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven, &c.--"as if your now glorified Head were gone from you never to return: He is coming again; not another, but 'this same Jesus'; and 'as ye have seen Him go, in the like manner shall He come'--as personally, as visibly, as gloriously; and let the joyful expectation of this coming swallow up the sorrow of that departure."
Ac 1:12-26. RETURN OF THE ELEVEN TO JERUSALEM--PROCEEDINGS IN THE UPPER ROOM TILL PENTECOST.
12-14. a sabbath day's journey--about two thousand cubits.
13. went up into an upper room--perhaps the same "large upper room"
where with their Lord they had celebrated the last Passover and the
14. continued with one accord--knit by a bond stronger than death.
15-26. in those days--of expectant prayer, and probably towards the
close of them, when the nature of their future work began more clearly
to dawn upon them, and the Holy Ghost, already "breathed" on the Eleven
was stirring in Peter, who was to be the leading spirit of the infant
20. his bishopric--or "charge." The words are a combination of Ps 69:25 and Ps 109:8; in which the apostle discerns a greater than David, and a worse than Ahithophel and his fellow conspirators against David.
22. Beginning from the baptism of John--by whom our Lord was not only
Himself baptized, but first officially announced and introduced to his
24. prayed and said, Thou, Lord, &c.--"The word 'Lord,' placed
absolutely, denotes in the New Testament almost universally THE SON; and
the words, 'Show whom Thou hast chosen,' are decisive. The apostles are
just Christ's messengers: It is He that sends them, and of Him they bear
witness. Here, therefore, we have the first example of a prayer offered
to the exalted Redeemer; furnishing indirectly the strongest proof of
His divinity" [OLSHAUSEN].
25. that he might go to his own place--A euphemistic or softened expression of the awful future of the traitor, implying not only destined habitation but congenial element.