Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Acts 1:20-22 one of those is to become a witness

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, August 16, 2019

20 For it is written in the book of Psalms:

  May his dwelling be deserted.
  Let no one live in it.

Both of the Psalm verses Peter quotes were written about enemies of David. Psalm 69 foreshadows Jesus’ suffering in several ways, especially his hours on the cross: “I am worn out from calling for help; my throat is parched” (Psalm 69:3, cp. John 19:28). “I am forced to restore what I did not steal” (Psalm 69:4) suggests the men he was crucified with (“They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left,” Mark 15:27). “I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face” (Psalm 69:7) foreshadows the insults Jesus endured on the cross (Mark 15:29). “I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s sons” (Psalm 69:8) foreshadows Matthew’s words: “All the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). There are other examples in this Psalm, but let’s come to David’s words: “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Recall the drinks offered to Jesus, wine mixed with gall (Matthew 27:34) and vinegar (Luke 23:36; John 19:29).

Peter’s quote brings us to a verse about David’s enemy, his betrayer. This is a prayer for God to bring justice down on that man, and yet it is also a statement that this would not be done by David’s own hand. He would let God bring his justice down. Peter sees this as being fulfilled by Judas’ death, which was not by the hand of God, but by Judas’ own hand as he turned away from Jesus’ forgiveness altogether.

And,
  Let another man take his office.

This second Psalm verse is from Psalm 109, a song by David about enemies who brought false charges against him, led by some individual. Regarding that man, David said, “Let another man take his office” (Psalm 109:8). Peter quotes this passage to show that Jesus’ choice of twelve apostles should not be marred by Judas’ betrayal, and another man should take Judas’ place in those early days of the church to be a witness. Jesus had chosen his twelve in part to “eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:30; Matthew 19:28).

21 “Therefore this is necessary: Of the men who have been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from his baptism by John until the day Jesus was taken up from us, one of those is to become a witness of his resurrection along with us.”

There were many men who became followers of Jesus in the early days, when John was baptizing. After Jesus preached his Bread of Life sermon, quite a few turned away and no longer followed him (John 6:66), and Jesus recognized that the devil had entered into the heart of Judas already (John 6:70-71). But a few stayed with Jesus and with the Twelve right up to the crucifixion, and they were still there to see Jesus ascend into heaven.

This group of witnesses was important in its time, but of course, there are no longer any living eyewitnesses who were with Jesus from the first week of his ministry until the last. Today, you and I stand as witnesses for Jesus, witnesses who have heard the gospel, who know that faith is alive in our hearts, and who want the world to trust in Jesus for forgiveness, rescue, relief, and eternal life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



Browse Devotion Archive