The followers of Jesus did great things
(The book in the Holy Bible called Acts)
About this book
Luke wrote this book. He was a doctor. This is the 2nd book he wrote. His 1st book is about the things that Jesus did when he was here on the earth. We have translated some of that book, see Some important parts of the good news about Jesus that Luke wrote. This 2nd book is about the things that Jesus’s followers did after Jesus went back to heaven. Luke wrote both of these books for a man called Thiofilus, but we can learn a lot from them too.
Luke was a friend of Paul, one of Jesus’s special workers, and he went with Paul to a lot of countries and helped him as he told people the good news about Jesus.
Some of the things that Luke wrote about in this book, are things he saw happen, and the rest are things that Paul and Jesus’s other followers told him about.
Luke wrote this book about 2,000 years ago, about 30 years after Jesus went back to heaven. It is now part of the Holy Bible, and it is important for us today. It tells us about how the first Christians lived for Jesus, and how they started the first churches in the towns where they lived. And it tells us how God’s Holy Spirit worked in them, and how they told everyone about Jesus, so that a lot more people believed in him. We can learn a lot today from this book that Luke wrote a long time ago.
I’m writing to you again, my friend Thiofilus. I wrote to you before, about all the things that Jesus did, and the things that he taught people.* He kept on doing those things, and the Holy Spirit helped him tell his special workers the things they had to do. After that, God took Jesus up to heaven.
You see, before God took Jesus up to heaven, when he was on the earth, people killed him. Then he came alive again, and his followers saw him a lot of times in the next 40 days. Jesus showed them that he really was alive, so they are really sure that it is true. And he told them a lot of things about God’s family.
One day, Jesus was eating some food with his followers in Jerusalem city, and he said to them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem yet. I already told you that my father promised to give you the Holy Spirit. Well, wait here until God does that.* Remember John the Baptiser. He baptised people with water. That means, he took them through a special washing ceremony. But in a few days time, God will baptise you with the Holy Spirit. That means, he will put his spirit in you.”*
God took Jesus up into heaven
You know, at that time, the Roman government people were the bosses over all the people there. So when Jesuss followers met together with him, they asked him, “Sir, are you going to fight the Romans at this time, and beat them, and give us back our own country, with our own boss for us Israel people?”
Jesus said to them, “My father controls everything. He knows the time that things will happen. You don’t need to know the time. But the Holy Spirit will come to you, and he will give you power, and then you will tell people about me in Jerusalem, and all over Judea country, and in Samaria country, and you will go to people everywhere in the world, and you will tell them about me.”*
9-10 After Jesus told them that, God lifted him up to heaven. His followers were looking at him as he was going up. Then a cloud came in front of Jesus, and his followers couldn’t see him any more. They kept on looking up into the sky, and suddenly 2 men wearing white clothes stood next to them.* 11 They said, “You men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking up into the sky? God took Jesus up into heaven, but he will come back again one day. You saw him go up into heaven just now, and he will come back in the same way that you saw him go.”
12 That happened at Olive Trees Hill.
They found a man to take the place of Judas
Then Jesuss followers left that place, and they walked about a kilometre back to Jerusalem, 13 and then they went upstairs to the room where they were living.
These are the names of Jesus’s 11 special workers,
– Peter
– John
– James
– Andrew
– Philip
– Thomas
– Bartholomew
– Matthew
– James. His father’s name was Alfius.
– Simon. He used to be one of the mob that wanted to fight the Roman government bosses.
– Judas. His father’s name was James.*
14 All those men met every day to pray together. Jesus’s brothers and some women met with them too. One of those women was Mary, the mother of Jesus.
15 After a few days, the people that believed in Jesus had a meeting. There were about 120 people at that meeting. Peter stood up and talked to them. 16-17 He said, “Listen, friends, a long time ago the Holy Spirit told David about Judas, the son of Iscariot, and David wrote that story in God’s book. Now it has happened. You know, Judas used to be with us, and he worked with us. He was one of Jesus’s special workers. But the Jewish leaders paid Judas to take a mob of bad men to catch Jesus. 18 After that, the Jewish leaders used that same money to buy some farm land. And Judas died in that place. His belly split open, and all his guts fell out. 19 Everybody that lived in Jerusalem heard about that, so they called that place Akeldama in their language. That means the farm land of blood.”*
20 Peter kept on talking. He said, “God also told David to write about Judas in the part of God’s book called Psalms. He wrote,
‘Empty out his house, God, and don’t let anybody else live in it.’
And he also wrote,
Let somebody else have his job.’ ”*
21-22 And Peter said, “So now we have to pick somebody else to have Judas’s job and be one of Jesus’s 12 special workers. He will help us tell people the true story, that Jesus is alive. Yes, Jesus died, but then God made him alive again. The man that we pick has to be one of the men that went around with our leader Jesus. He has to be somebody that was with us from the time that John baptised Jesus, right up to the time that God took Jesus up into heaven.”*
23 So they all talked together, and they found 2 men that were with them all that time. One man was Joseph Barsabbas. He also had another name, Justus. The other man was called Matthias. 24-25 Then Jesus’s special workers prayed. They said, “Judas left his job, and went his own way, and now he is dead. He went to that bad place. And God, you know everyone properly, and you know the way they think. Please show us the man that you want to take Judas’s place, and to do his job, and to be a special worker of Jesus.”
26 So they put the names of those 2 men into a jar, and one man shook it. Then one of them closed his eyes and took one of those names out of the jar. That name was Matthias. So Matthias joined Jesus’s 11 special workers, to work with them.
* 1:1 Luke 1:1-4 * 1:4 Luke 24:49 * 1:5 Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33 * 1:8 Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47-48 * 1:9-10 Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51 * 1:13 Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16 * 1:19 Matthew 27:3-8 * 1:20 Psalm 69:25; 109:8 * 1:21-22 Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:9; 16:19; Luke 3:21; 24:51