Theophilus, I wrote about Jesus in my earlier book. I wrote about all he did and taught
until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before Jesus left, he gave orders to the apostles he had chosen. He did this through the Holy Spirit.
After his suffering and death, he appeared to them. In many ways he proved that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days. During that time he spoke about God's kingdom.
One day Jesus was eating with them. He gave them a command. "Do not leave Jerusalem," he said. "Wait for the gift my Father promised. You have heard me talk about it.
John baptized with water. But in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
When the apostles met together, they asked Jesus a question. "Lord," they said, "are you going to give the kingdom back to Israel now?"
He said to them, "You should not be concerned about times or dates. The Father has set them by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem. You will be my witnesses in all Judea and Samaria. And you will be my witnesses from one end of the earth to the other."
After Jesus said this, he was taken up to heaven. They watched until a cloud hid him from their sight.
While he was going up, they kept on looking at the sky. Suddenly two men dressed in white clothing stood beside them.
"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. But he will come back in the same way you saw him go."
The apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. It is almost a mile from the city.
When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Peter, John, James and Andrew were there. Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew were there too. So were James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas, son of James.
They all came together regularly to pray. The women joined them too. So did Jesus' mother Mary and his brothers.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers. About 120 of them were there.
Peter said, "Brothers, a long time ago the Holy Spirit spoke through David's mouth about Judas. What he said in Scripture had to come true. Judas was the guide for the men who arrested Jesus.
But Judas was one of us. He shared with us in our work for God."
Judas bought a field with the reward he got for the evil thing he had done. He fell down headfirst in the field. His body burst open. All his insides spilled out.
Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this. So they called that field Akeldama. In their language, Akeldama means The Field of Blood.
Peter said, "Here is what is written in the book of Psalms. It says, " 'May his home be deserted. May no one live in it.' (Psalm 69:25) The Psalms also say, " 'Let someone else take his place as leader.' (Psalm 109:8)
So we need to choose someone to take his place. It will have to be a man who was with us the whole time the Lord Jesus lived among us.
That time began when John was baptizing. It ended when Jesus was taken up from us. The one we choose must join us in giving witness that Jesus rose from the dead."
So they suggested two men. One was Joseph, who was called Barsabbas. He was also called Justus. The other man was Matthias.
Then they prayed. "Lord," they said, "you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen.
Show us who should take the place of Judas as an apostle. He gave up being an apostle to go where he belongs."
Then they cast lots. Matthias was chosen. So he was added to the 11 apostles.