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The Promise of the Holy Spirit


In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension of Jesus

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

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. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, 16“Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17for 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, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his homestead become desolate,

and let there be no one to live in it’;


‘Let another take his position of overseer.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning 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.” 23So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

18. And he truly It seemeth unto me a thing like to be true, that this narration of the death of Judas was put in by Luke; therefore, it seemeth good to me to include it within a parenthesis, that it may be separated from Peter’s sermon. For to what end should Peter here reckon up unto the disciples those things which they already knew well enough?

Secondly, it should have been an absurd thing to have spoken after this among them, that the field which was bought with the money that was given to betray Christ was called of the Hebrews, in their own mother tongue, Aceldama. But whereas some do answer, that Peter spoke this unto the Galileans, whose speech did disagree with the Jewish tongue, it is but vain and frivolous. In very deed they did somewhat disagree in pronunciation; yet not so much but that they did well understand one another; like as do these of Paris and the men of Rouen.

Furthermore, how could this be a fit word for Jerusalem, where Peter made his sermon? To what end should he interpret in Greek among the Hebrews their own mother tongue? Therefore doth Luke of himself put in this sentence concerning the death of Judas, lest Peter’s words might seem strange 6262     “Lectoribus obscura essent,” might be obscure to his readers. through ignorance of that history.

He possessed a field This word hath a double signification, which, in my opinion, doth rather signify in this place to possess than to get; yet because it skilleth little whether way we read it, I leave it indifferent. And he speaketh after this sort, not because Judas had the use of the field, or that he himself did buy it, seeing it was bought after his death. But Luke’s meaning was, that his burial was the perpetual note of ignominy; was the reward which he had for his falsehood and wicked act. Neither did he so much sell Christ for thirty pieces as his apostleship. He enjoyed not the money; 6363     “Argento potitus non est,” he did not obtain the money. he only possessed the field. Furthermore, it came to pass through the marvelous providence of God, that the very common name of the field should be a note of infamy for the priests, which had bought (the) innocent blood of [from] the traitor. He saith that the Hebrews did call it by that name in their tongue, because he himself was a Grecian born; and he calleth that the Hebrew tongue which the Jews did use after the captivity of Babylon, namely, such as was mixed of the Assyrian tongue and of the Chaldean tongue.

It is written in the book of Psalms He taketh away, by authority of Scriptures, all offense which might have happened by reason of the falling away of Judas. Yet might this place seem to be greatly wrested: First, in that David did not wish that these things might befall any particular person, but (in the plural number) he wisheth them unto his enemies. Secondly, it seemeth that Peter doth apply these things amiss unto Judas, which were spoken of the enemies of David. I answer, that David doth there speak after this [afterwards] of himself, that he may describe the condition and state of Christ’s kingdom.

In that Psalm (I say) is contained the common image of the whole Church, which is the body of the Son of God. Therefore, the things which are there set down must needs have been fulfilled in the head, which are indeed fulfilled, as the evangelists do testify, know, if any man object that those things which there were spoken against the enemies of David do not fitly agree unto Judas, we may easily gather that they do so much the rather agree with him, because David doth not respect himself as being separated from the body of the Church; but rather as he was one of the members of Christ, and so taking upon him his image, he steppeth forth in his name.

Whosoever shall mark that this singular person was attributed to David, that he should be a figure of Christ, will not marvel if all these things be applied unto him which were prefigured in David. Although, therefore, he doth comprehend the whole Church, yet he beginneth at the head thereof, and doth especially describe what things Christ should suffer by the hands of the wicked. For we learn out of Paul’s doctrine, that whatsoever afflictions the godly suffer, they are part of the afflictions of Christ, and serve to the fulfilling of the same, (Colossians 1:14.) This order and connection did David observe, or rather the Spirit of God, who meant by the mouth of David to instruct the whole Church. But as touching the persecutors of Christ, all that which is commonly spoken of them is by good right referred unto their standard-bearer; whose impiety and wickedness, as it is most famous, so his punishment ought to be made known unto all men. If any man do object again, that that which is recited in the Psalm is only certain cursings, and not prophecies; and that, therefore, Peter doth gather improperly that it was of necessity that it should be fulfilled, it is soon answered. For David was not moved with any perverse or corrupt affection of the flesh to crave vengeance; but he had the Holy Spirit to be his guide and director. Therefore, what things soever he prayed for there, being inspired with the Holy Ghost, they have the same strength which prophecies have, because the Spirit doth require no other thing than that which God hath determined with himself to perform, and will also promise unto us. But whereas Peter doth cite out of the Scriptures two diverse testimonies; by the first is meant, that Judas, together with his name and family, should quite be extinguished, that his place might be empty; the other, which he fetcheth out of the 109th Psalm, tendeth to this end, that there should be another chosen to supply his place. These seem at first to be contrary; namely, a waste habitation and succession. Yet, because the Spirit saith only, in the former place, that the adversaries of the Church should be taken away, that their place might be empty, and without one to dwell therein, in respect of themselves, this is no let why another may not afterward supply their empty place. Yea, this doth also augment their punishment, in that the honor, after it was taken from him that was unworthy thereof, is given to another.

And his bishopric The Hebrew word could not be translated more fitly. For פכודה (pecudah) doth signify a jurisdiction or government, so called of the overseeing and beholding of things. For as for those which interpret it wife, the text 6464     “Contextus,” context. refuteth them; for it followeth in the next verse, of his wife, that she may be made a widow. Therefore, after that he had wished that the wicked may be deprived of his life, he addeth, moreover, that he may be spoiled of his honor; neither doth he stay here, but also he desireth that another may succeed him, whereby, as I have said before, his punishment is doubled. In the meanwhile, he noteth by the way, 6565     “Oblique,” indirectly. that this false, treacherous, and wicked person, whereof he speaketh, should not be some one of the common sort, but such an one as should be indued with honor and dignity; from which, nevertheless, he shall fall. And out of this place must we learn, that the wicked shall not escape scott free, which have persecuted the Church of God; for this miserable and wretched end is prepared for them all.

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