What does Acts 1:21-22 really mean?

Acts 1:21-22 is about the crucial process of selecting a new apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, emphasizing the importance of eyewitnesses who can testify to Jesus’ resurrection from his baptism by John to his ascension to heaven.

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.”


Setting the Scene for Acts 1:21-22

The scene in Acts 1:21-22 takes place in Jerusalem, shortly after the ascension of Jesus. The disciples are gathered together in the upper room, which is a familiar meeting place for them. The room is dimly lit by oil lamps, casting a warm glow on the faces of the twelve men present. The air is heavy with anticipation and uncertainty as they grapple with the recent events of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

Among the disciples present are Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They are joined by other followers of Jesus, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers. The group is in deep discussion, reflecting on the teachings of Jesus and trying to make sense of what has transpired.

As they gather in prayer and contemplation, the disciples realize that they are now missing one of their own, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. They understand the importance of replacing him to fulfill the prophecy in the Psalms. Thus, they begin the process of selecting a new apostle to take Judas’ place, someone who has been with them from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and can testify to His resurrection. The atmosphere is charged with a sense of purpose and unity as they seek God’s guidance in this crucial decision.

What is Acts 1:21-22 about?

The selection of a new apostle to replace Judas in this verse emphasizes the importance of firsthand witnessing of Jesus’ ministry. The criteria set for choosing the new apostle highlights the significance of having a personal connection and direct experience with Jesus. This selection process ensures that the chosen individual would have a deep understanding of Jesus’ teachings, actions, and the significance of his ministry.

Imagine the profound impact that witnessing Jesus’ ministry would have on a person. The chosen apostle would have seen the miracles, heard the teachings, and experienced the transformative power of Jesus firsthand. This firsthand experience would not only strengthen their faith but also equip them with the knowledge and understanding needed to effectively spread the message of Jesus to others. It reinforces the notion that personal experiences and interactions with Jesus are fundamental in carrying out his mission. Let us consider the importance of our own personal witness to Jesus’ ministry in our lives as we reflect on this verse. How have we experienced Jesus’ presence, teachings, and miracles in our own journey of faith? How can we strengthen our connection to Jesus and deepen our understanding of his ministry to become more effective disciples in spreading his message of love and salvation? Let us strive to be true witnesses of Jesus in our words, actions, and interactions with others, just as the apostles who were chosen to carry on his mission did.

Understanding what Acts 1:21-22 really means

In Acts 1:21-22, we delve into the narrative where the apostles are in search of a replacement for Judas Iscariot. The criteria outlined for the new apostle stress the significance of having been a firsthand witness to Jesus’ ministry and resurrection. The phrase “Men who have accompanied us” underscores the communal aspect and shared experiences within the early church, highlighting the importance of unity in faith. Moreover, the mention of being with Jesus “all the time” stresses the necessity of direct involvement in His teachings and actions, emphasizing the depth of personal connection required.

The specified timeframe from “the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up” sets a clear boundary for the required witness, emphasizing the continuity of Jesus’ ministry and the need for a comprehensive understanding of His teachings. Additionally, being a “witness to his resurrection” is deemed crucial as it serves as the cornerstone of Christian faith, requiring the new apostle to testify to this fundamental truth. These criteria align with the broader biblical theme of the apostles serving as witnesses to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, as reiterated in Luke 24:48 and John 15:27.

For contemporary believers, the call to witness and testify remains relevant. Just as the apostles were tasked with sharing their experiences and faith, modern Christians are also encouraged to testify to the transformative power of their faith. The emphasis on community and continuity in Acts 1:21-22 can inspire believers to value their faith communities and appreciate the collective journey of faith they are on. Furthermore, the criteria for apostleship highlight the importance of authenticity and integrity in leadership and witness, serving as a timeless reminder for believers today.

To illustrate the significance of shared experiences and authentic testimony, consider a small community that has weathered a significant event together, like a natural disaster. The bond formed through shared experiences and the stories of resilience and support create a powerful narrative. Similarly, the apostles’ firsthand experiences with Jesus and His resurrection gave their testimony authenticity and strength, emphasizing the power of genuine witness. Reflecting on these criteria can help modern-day believers understand their roles as witnesses to the enduring impact of Jesus Christ in their lives and communities.

In conclusion, Acts 1:21-22 prompts us to reflect on the importance of being genuine witnesses to our faith, cherishing our faith communities, and upholding integrity in our testimonies. By considering the criteria for apostleship, we can gain insight into our own roles as contemporary witnesses to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

How does God guide in choosing spiritual leaders?

God guides in choosing spiritual leaders by allowing individuals to be witnesses to the qualifications and characteristics of potential leaders. Peter emphasizes the importance of selecting a leader who has been with the disciples since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Acts 1:21-22 to ensure that they have firsthand knowledge and experience of Jesus’ teachings and actions. This indicates that God values leaders who have a strong foundation in faith and who have demonstrated commitment and loyalty to the faith community over time.

Through this passage, we can understand that God guides the selection of spiritual leaders by prioritizing individuals who have a personal relationship with Him and a deep understanding of His teachings. The emphasis on firsthand witness and experience underscores the importance of authenticity and integrity in leadership. God ensures that His followers are led by individuals who are grounded in faith, have a clear understanding of His will, and are equipped to guide and nurture the spiritual growth of the community by placing value on these qualities. God’s guidance in choosing spiritual leaders is evident in the emphasis on character, experience, and faithfulness to Him. God ensures that those entrusted with leadership positions are capable of representing Him effectively, leading by example, and guiding others towards a deeper relationship with Him by highlighting these qualities. God ultimately aims to establish strong, faithful, and spiritually mature leaders who can effectively shepherd His people and uphold the values and teachings of the faith community through His guidance in this process.


Believers, our mission is clear – we are the messengers of hope and love in a world that needs it more than ever. Each one of us is called to be a beacon of light, sharing the message of Jesus Christ with everyone we encounter. Will you rise to the challenge and be a source of inspiration in a world that yearns for compassion and faith?