“It is necessary” Part 2

Acts 1:15-26

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For 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. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
    and let there be no one to dwell in it’;


“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

3 Goldenmane Tickseed, and More on the Way | Mercer Arboretum | May 2023

I’ve had some further thoughts about our little Greek word, “δεῖ.” That’s one of the advantages of taking a portion of Scripture at a time, meditating on it for a week, and writing reflections. The little Greek word, “δεῖ” is small but powerful. It’s the word behind the phrase, “Scripture must be fulfilled,” specifically the “must be,” in that phrase. Another way to translate the word is “it is necessary.” The word crops up in the gospels time and again. And this is what came to me since yesterday’s post.

Matthew reports that Jesus told his disciples, that “he must go [it is necessary] to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” This begins it all. Jesus’ destiny on earth was to be enthroned on a Roman cross, the culmination of a life of teaching, serving, calling people to repent and believe, healing and forgiving sin. All that was necessary for you and for me and our salvation. Jesus did what was necessary for us because he loved his Father and us.

Then we have the necessity of Judas’ replacement, spoken of here by Luke. God’s plans must move forward. The Apostles are  an essential part of that plan. They would be the ones proclaiming the message of Jesus in the languages of the many people gathered in Jerusalem for this grand Pentecost Celebration, the Feast of Weeks. They would also be instrumental in opening the doors to the Gentiles at the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15. Having seen the work of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, they would surely be open to the idea that the Gospel message was open to all people.

Then comes the Prodigal Son parable when the father says, “‘We had to celebrate and rejoice because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’” (Luke 15:32). This echos the celebration of the angels of God when one sinner repents, says Jesus. (cf. Luke 15:7, 10) Joy is a necessity in the Kingdom of God. It is our source of truest strength. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and a beautiful adornment for all the faithful. 

So here is the progression: Jesus’ suffering and death, secures our salvation. That mission continues through the Apostles and all believers who share the gospel message of salvation.  Then comes the ultimate celebration of joy, and the praise of God’s glorious grace. Reminds me of a favorite song I’ve shared before, but worth sharing again…

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