Friday 15 May 2015

Bible Book:

“One of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us – one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” (vv. 21, 22)

Acts 1:15-26 Friday 15 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm 15



In the immediate days after the Ascension (see yesterday's notes) the believers gather toorganise themselves, as Judas is no longer with them. Peterdescribes Judas' fate using Scripture, There was a strong tendencyin the post-Resurrection community to use and interpret Scripturein this way, tying it in with what was happening currently. Luke iskeen on this, using the example of Jesus on the road to Emmaus inLuke 24:13-35 as the original example -"beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to themthe things about himself in all the scriptures" (Luke24:27).

In this passage, Scripture ties in both with Judas' death and alsoapparently urges the appointment of his successor, "let anothertake his position of overseer" (v. 20, quoting Psalm109:8). We know very well that this was a patriarchal age, butit is striking to reflect on the place of women amongst thissmallish group of early Christians. Judas' successor is to be a'man' who is part of the core group, one of the 70 evangelists (seeLuke 10) perhaps, who was also present whenJesus ascended. Of course we know nothing about the men in eitherof these groups, except for these two - Joseph Barsabbas andMatthias - and we do not hear of them again. However, there musthave been women in both groups, as well as two other places wherethe men were not present - at the foot of the cross (apart from the"beloved disciple") and at the tomb, seeing either angels (Matthew,Mark, Luke) or Jesus himself (John).

The significant role of these women as supporters of Jesus and theearly Christian movement, hosting the first house church (see Acts12) and as the first witnesses of the Resurrection is not fullyrecognised. This is another reminder of the message of today'sfocus verse - in the early Christian community there were a numberof people who were with Jesus for the whole of his ministry,without us knowing who they are. Most of us fall into this group astoday's witnesses who are not famous but are Jesus' ongoingrepresentatives.

To Ponder

  • What is your take on Scripture being fulfilled, both then andnow?
  • How do you relate to biblical patriarchy and the more inclusiveoutlook of many churches today?
  • How would you tell the story of women's important role in theearly Christian community?
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