This introductory material (
) connects Acts with the Gospel of Luke, shows that the apostles were instructed by the risen Jesus (
), points out that the parousia or second coming in glory of Jesus will occur as certainly as his ascension occurred (
), and lists the members of the Twelve, stressing their role as a body of divinely mandated witnesses to his life, teaching,
and resurrection (
Appearing to them during forty days:Luke considered especially sacred the interval in which the appearances and instructions of the risen Jesus occurred and expressed
it therefore in terms of the sacred number forty (cf Dt 8, 2
). In his gospel, however, Luke connects the ascension of Jesus with the resurrection by describing the ascension on Easter
Sunday evening (Lk 24, 50–53
). What should probably be understood as one event (resurrection, glorification, ascension, sending of the Spirit—the paschal
mystery) has been historicized by Luke when he writes of a visible ascension of Jesus after forty days and the descent of
the Spirit at Pentecost. For Luke, the ascension marks the end of the appearances of Jesus except for the extraordinary appearance
to Paul. With regard to Luke's understanding of salvation history, the ascension also marks the end of the time of Jesus (Lk 24, 50–53
) and signals the beginning of the time of the church.
The promise of the Father:the holy Spirit, as is clear from the next verse. This gift of the Spirit was first promised in Jesus’ final instructions
to his chosen witnesses in Luke's gospel (Lk 24, 49
) and formed part of the continuing instructions of the risen Jesus on the kingdom of God, of which Luke speaks in v 3
The question of the disciples implies that in believing Jesus to be the Christ (see the note on Lk 2, 11
) they had expected him to be a political leader who would restore self‐rule to Israel during his historical ministry. When
this had not taken place, they ask if it is to take place at this time, the period of the church.
This verse echoes the tradition that the precise time of the parousia is not revealed to human beings; cf Mk 13, 32; l Thes 5, 1–3
Just as Jerusalem was the city of destiny in the Gospel of Luke (the place where salvation was accomplished), so here at the
beginning of Acts, Jerusalem occupies a central position. It is the starting point for the mission of the Christian disciples
to “the ends of the earth,” the place where the apostles were situated and the doctrinal focal point in the early days of
the community (
). The ends of the earth:for Luke, this means Rome.
Luke records a popular tradition about the death of Judas that differs from the one in Mt 27, 5
, according to which Judas hanged himself. Here, although the text is not certain, Judas is depicted as purchasing a piece
of property with the betrayal money and being killed on it in a fall.
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