The Acts of the Apostles is Luke’s second letter to Theophilus, which means “a friend of God.” The purpose of Acts is similar to that of Luke’s gospel account. Whereas Luke’s gospel recorded “all that Jesus began both to do and teach,” Acts records the works and words of the apostles, primarily Peter and Paul.
What lesson do we find in this? Like Jesus and the apostles, we must also be both doers and teachers. The multitude present for the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1) gathered because Jesus was a doer and a teacher (Matthew 4:23-25). “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).
Note also the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles and not to all believers generally. It is the apostles who are under consideration beginning in verse 2, thus it was the apostles who were given the promise beginning in verse 5. A common mistake is to attribute the receiving of the Holy Spirit to the 120 or to those present on the day of Pentecost.
This is further evidenced by the end of the chapter, where Matthias is recorded as being “numbered with the eleven apostles” just before the promise was brought to fruition in Acts 2:1ff. All references to “they” and “them” in Acts 2:1-4 refer to the apostles at the end of Acts 1:26.
Consider also the process and qualification to replace Judas Iscariot. First, the candidate had to be a male. The one chosen would be “of these men.” I find this interesting, since Mary the mother of Jesus was present as were several other women of prominence. Yet, none of them were given consideration.
Second, the candidate had to have been a disciple going all the way back to the ministry of John. The new apostle had to be a man of considerable and consistent faith, believing the preaching of the Lord’s forerunner. He had to have remained faithful throughout the entire work of John and Jesus. The text records many who walked with Jesus no more (cf John 6:66; John 8:31-59). No doubt some of these were brought back to the faith after Pentecost.
Finally, he had to be a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. So what then may we conclude about the apostles and their work? It was concluded in the first century. There are no apostles today and no one with apostolic power or authority.