Thursday, 7 April 2016

Acts 1: 3-14

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Acts 1, we've seen, opens (verses 1-2) with a brief introduction from the human author (St Luke).  Verses 3-8 describe the forty days after the Resurrection; verses 9-11 focus on the Ascension, and verses 12-14 on the return to the Upper Room thereafter.

Acts 1 continues (you can hear the Latin read here:

3. He had shewn them by many proofs that he was still alive, after his passion; throughout the course of forty days he had been appearing to them, and telling them about the kingdom of God; 4 and now he gave them orders, as he shared a meal with them, not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the fulfilment of the Father’s promise. You have heard it, he said, from my own lips; 5 John’s baptism, I told you, was with water, but there is a baptism with the Holy Spirit which you are to receive, not many days from this.6 And his companions asked him, Lord, dost thou mean to restore the dominion to Israel here and now? 7 But he told them, It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 Enough for you, that the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will receive strength from him; you are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem and throughout Judaea, in Samaria, yes, and to the ends of the earth. 
quibus et præbuit seipsum vivum post passionem suam in multis argumentis, per dies quadraginta apparens eis, et loquens de regno Dei. 4 Et convescens, præcepit eis ab Jerosolymis ne discederent, sed exspectarent promissionem Patris, quam audistis (inquit) per os meum: 5 quia Joannes quidem baptizavit aqua, vos autem baptizabimini Spiritu Sancto non post multos hos dies.6 Igitur qui convenerant, interrogabant eum, dicentes: Domine, si in tempore hoc restitues regnum Israël? 7 Dixit autem eis: Non est vestrum nosse tempora vel momenta quæ Pater posuit in sua potestate: 8 sed accipietis virtutem supervenientis Spiritus Sancti in vos, et eritis mihi testes in Jerusalem, et in omni Judæa, et Samaria, et usque ad ultimum terræ.

St John Chrysostom: ...It appears then that He also taught the Disciples after His resurrection, but of this space of time no one has related to us the whole in detail. St. John indeed, as also does the present writer, dwells at greater length on this subject than the others; but none has clearly related every thing (for they hastened to something else); however, we have learned these things through the Apostles, for what they heard, that did they tell...

Being seen of them during forty days. He was not always with them now, as He was before the Resurrection. For the writer does not say forty days, but, during forty days. He came, and again disappeared; by this leading them on to higher conceptions, and no longer permitting them to stand affected towards Him in the same way as before, but taking effectual measures to secure both these objects, that the fact of His Resurrection should be believed, and that He Himself should be ever after apprehended to be greater than man. At the same time, these were two opposite things; for in order to the belief in His Resurrection, much was to be done of a human character, and for the other object, just the reverse. Nevertheless, both results have been effected, each when the fitting time arrived...

And what did He, when appearing unto them those forty days? Why, He conversed with them, says the writer, concerning the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3 For, since the disciples both had been distressed and troubled at the things which already had taken place, and were about to go forth to encounter great difficulties, He recovered them by His discourses concerning the future. He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father. Acts 1:4 First, He led them out to Galilee, afraid and trembling, in order that they might listen to His words in security.
.Afterwards, when they had heard, and had passed forty days with Him, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem. Wherefore? Just as when soldiers are to charge a multitude, no one thinks of letting them issue forth until they have armed themselves, or as horses are not suffered to start from the barriers until they have got their charioteer; so Christ did not suffer these to appear in the field before the descent of the Spirit, that they might not be in a condition to be easily defeated and taken captive by the many...
9 When he had said this, they saw him lifted up, and a cloud caught him away from their sight. 10 And as they strained their eyes towards heaven, to watch his journey, all at once two men in white garments were standing at their side. 11 Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand here looking heavenwards? He who has been taken from you into heaven, this same Jesus, will come back in the same fashion, just as you have watched him going into heaven. 12 Then, from the mountain which is called Olivet, they went back to Jerusalem; the distance from Jerusalem is not great, a sabbath day’s journey. 13 Coming in, they went up into the upper room where they dwelt, Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James. 14 All these, with one mind, gave themselves up to prayer, together with Mary the mother of Jesus, and the rest of the women and his brethren.
 Comment: Twelve people named, Mary 'completes' the apostles.

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