15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be (a)fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 "For he was counted among us and received his (b)share in this ministry."
18 (Now (c)this man acquired a field with the (d)price of his wickedness, and (e)falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms, Ps 69:25 (f)'LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; and, Ps 109:8 (g)'LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.'
Predestination or Free Will?
v.16 (a) the Scripture had to be fulfilled. It was not a mistake that Judas was picked as one of the twelve. In fact, it was according to plan; a plan that was established before the foundations of the world. This plan was set forth in Scripture because God does nothing unless He first reveals it to His prophets, Amos 3:7. God knows the end from the beginning and makes His plans accordingly, Rev 22:13, Is 46:9-10, Jer 1:12.
Judas was predestined as the betrayer and the son of perdition, Jn 6:70-71, 17:12. So does this mean that Judas never had free will? No, we all have the freedom of choice and free will and Judas too always had free will; but God, being outside of time, knew the choices Judas would make and therefore it was prophesied the things concerning Him.
Predestination does not mean we do not have free will. It is the fact that God knew every decision we will make, even before the foundation of the world, and has set up His plan in conjunction with us. So yes, we all have free will, God just knows the decisions we will make and set up His plan according to those decisions.
A question might be asked, how God, being sovereign, can be swayed by our decisions. Does this mean that we control God? No, God forbid, God is all powerful and all sovereign, and it was His choice to bind Himself and His plan to us. God loves us so much that He wanted to include us in His plan of redemption for man. He not only wants us to live with Him forever, but also now, while we are on this earth; in every decision and in all things, He wants to fulfill His plan of redemption with us.
It would have been much easier for Him to send His Son, as the Savior of mankind, to the earth, die and be resurrected and redeem mankind from sin and death without the help and involvement of man. But He didn’t want to do that. He wanted the enjoyment of spending time with us. Fulfilling the plan of redemption and including us in the process. This is His plan, established before the foundation of the world, and His plan includes us because He loves us so much.
Peter refers to three scriptures proving that Judas was not a mistake and was foretold as a necessary part of the plan that had to be fulfilled.
Not only are the three verses above a description of Judas in the Old Testament, but also the thirty pieces of silver , the betrayal and the potter’s field are all foretold in the scriptures as well, Jer 19:1-13, Zech 11:11-13
v.17 (b) share- κλῆρον , kleron- lot, portion, asset
God established twelve tribes of Israel with twelve apostles to judge them in the next dispensation, Matt 19:28, Lk 22:30. This seat is the share that was attributed to Judas, but I don’t believe he ever obtained it. Judas was never a believer and will not enter into the kingdom of God. Therefore the seat was never his to begin with.
Death had nothing to do with the empty seat that had to be filled; if that were the case, all the seats would have needed filling eventually because all the apostles eventually died. The reason they needed to find a replacement and the reason it was foretold several hundred years prior, Ps 109:8, was because that seat was never filled from the beginning.
v.18 (c) this man- the subject of this event is no doubt Judas, but the man who actually purchased the potter’s field was the high priest because Judas threw the money back at the Pharisees and was so ashamed at what he had done, went out and hung himself. Below is a compilation of that account from the gospels:
Mt 27:3 Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5 And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed Mt 27:6 But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” Ac 1:18 Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, Mt 27:7 the chief priests conferred together and with the money bought the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Mt 27:5 and Judas went and hanged himself. Ac 1:18 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.) Mt 27:9 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”
v.18 (d) The price of his wickedness- This is referring to the thirty pieces of silver as a payment for the betrayal of Jesus. But Judas, feeling remorse and shame at what he had done, threw the money back at the Pharisees. The Pharisees then could not use this money in the treasury because it was blood money, so they bought the potter’s field, possibly in Judas’ name, as a burial place for strangers, Matt 27:3-10.
It is unclear exactly when Judas hung himself. He could have thrown the money back at the Pharisees and that same day hanged himself; or he could have waited and hung himself on the potter’s field. I tend to lean toward the latter argument because it says this land became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem as the Field of Blood, Acts 1:19. It was known by that name because this is the same field that Judas fell headlong and his intestines gushed out.
v.18 (e) falling headlong- γενόμενος, genomenos.
Some say there is a contradiction with Judas’ death. Matthew states that Judas hung himself, while Peter states that Judas fell headlong and his intestines gushed out. I believe both statements are true. Judas hung himself from a tree and either the tree branch or the rope broke and he was hurled to his death.
Another conjecture I might add could be that the rope or the tree branch stayed in place, and something else broke. The Greek word genomenos, translated falling headlong, really means to undergo a change or development, to become something different. This might mean that he was decapitated by the rope and his body fell a long distance and burst open from the force of the impact. A gruesome thought, but that might explain the amount of blood that could warrant a name like Field of Blood.
v.20 (f) Ps 69:25- Peter cites two passages from the Old Testament, this one speaks of the removal of Judas from his place and position as apostle; the other regarding the filling of his vacant place by another.
Ps 69 is a prophetic message from the mouth of David about Jesus; verses 7-12 speak of the cloud of illegitimacy that hung over Mary and Jesus as a child born out of wed lock; verses 13-21 are a prophetic account of Jesus on the cross; verses 22-28, in which our text lies, speaks of the judgement of God on those that reject His Son Jesus. The Holy Spirit, thru Peter, tells us that this includes Judas; verse 25 was a prophetic message about the betrayer. God, in all His infinite wisdom and knowledge, explained the destruction of the betrayer, namely Judas Iscariot and all those who choose to reject the Messiah. These verses, 22-28, make it plain that Judas was not a Christian and is not recorded in the Book of Life.
v.20 (g) Ps 109:8- This Psalm is also prophetic of Jesus and the destruction of those that reject Him. Verses 6-8 specifically speak of Judas and explain that another must take his office- ἐπισκοπὴν, episkopen- position of authority and supervision.
These two prophetic Psalms, among hundreds of others, prove Amos 3:7- the Lord does nothing unless He reveals His secret council to His servants the prophets.
The Holy Spirit revealed thru Peter the destiny of the betrayer and it was revealed in such a slight way that if Peter would not have quoted these verses, we may have never known that these texts were about Judas Iscariot.
Every word and every letter in the Bible is written on purpose and is part of God’s plan. Seek His word and know Him and He will give you insight.
Those who have insight will shine brightly and understand.
Daniel 12:3a, 10b
These all with (a)one mind were (b)continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the (c)women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with (d)His brothers.
Continually Devoting Themselves to Prayer
v.14 (a) one mind- ὁμοθυμαδὸν, homothymadon- a group of people all having the same agenda and purpose. This word is used eleven times in the new testament; ten of the eleven by Luke in the book of Acts.
Luke begins to show the mindset, the behaviorism, the mentality of these early Christians with words like one mind, continually devoting themselves, all things in common, fellowship (koinonia).
Luke is describing the oneness of the body of Christ that Paul details in his epistles, Eph 4:1-5. 2:13-22.
(b) continually devoting themselves- προσκαρτεροῦντες, proskarterountes- attach oneself to, persist, be faithful; to walk in the Spirit constantly; always having communication with the Father in all things.
This one Greek word is translated by using three English words, “continually devoting themselves.” It is a present verb tense portraying an action with no assessment of the action’s completion. Thus the English word continually is used to describe that these Christians had started a good thing and more importantly, were continuing in it.
This is what Paul meant by praying without ceasing, 1Thes 5:17. Live in Him and abide in Him always.
Get off the starting blocks and finish the race
One of the facts of life is it is easy to start something but hard to finish it; whether that is starting a project around the house, starting a new diet, getting into a new hobby or endeavor. Whatever the case may be, it is always easier to start something than to follow it thru to completion. This is true with Christianity as well. This is why Paul says we must press on toward the goal of the prize of the high call of Christ Jesus, Phil 3:14. Paul is constantly comparing the walk of Christian life as a race; and unfortunately, some Christians never get off the starting blocks, 1Cor 9:24-27. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the most important decision you will make in your life, but it shouldn’t stop there. Once you are reborn into God’s family, you are called a Christian, one that is like Christ. This should be our goal, our main motivation for life; to please Him in everything we do, honor Him by being like Him, know Him and learn His likes and dislikes. The only way to know this is to spend time with Him. Involve Him in everything you do and read His word because it is life unto all that find Him in it, Prov 4:20-22.
Once you start to do this, you will find yourself pulling away from the world and worldly things that used to mean so much to you, and now the most important thing in your life is Jesus. This is running the race of life as a Christian. A Christian should not “blend in”, but rather be a light to the world. We are to let our light shine before men that they will see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, Matt 5:16, Phil 2:15. This is easy when your light leads them to Jesus, but there are those in the world who like the darkness and hate the light, Jn 3:19-21. Therefore they will hate you and revile you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you. So what should we do when this happens? Rejoice and be glad! For great is your reward in heaven, Matt 5:11-12.
There are plenty of Christians who never stand out and just blend into the world. They go along with their everyday lives, still doing the same thing as the world, and trying to fit Christianity into their busy lifestyles. This is a Christian who never gets off the starting blocks. In the end, if they believed that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, they will be with Jesus for all eternity, but they will have missed out on the true joy of life of getting to know Him and participating in His plan.
An imperishable crown given to the faithful
This is what Paul is so urgent over. He is not scared of losing his salvation. So what does he mean when he says “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”, 1Cor 9:27. Disqualified from what? From salvation? Or what is meant when he says “in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead”, Phil 3:11? Is he scared of not being resurrected and spending eternity with Christ? God forbid. He knew his salvation was secure, but there is obviously something else that is driving him. What is this urgency about Paul that he must attain? It is the reward of knowing Jesus. He is constantly driven by the need to know Him and to gain Christ; to finish this race of life well that the Father would be glorified in him, Phil 1:9-10, 21, 3:8-14, Col 1:5, 9-11.
Paul knows that when we spend eternity with Jesus, we will not all be equal. The status of our future with Him depends on the decisions we make while on this earth. In 1Cor 9:27, the thing he did not want to be disqualified from was the imperishable crown given to the faithful; and In Phil 3:11. He had an unquenchable desire to attain the resurrection of the dead. This is the first resurrection John describes in Revelation 20:4-6, and he could be referring to the resurrection at the rapture, the catching away of the saints. Only those that are faithful will be taken up with Him. Paul did not want to miss that event and we should all strive like Paul to attain to this joyous life in Christ.
We are all a part of the body of Christ, but to be the bride of Christ is only reserved for those faithful to Him. This is also determined by our actions and decisions and our desire for Him on this earth. For more on this topic, see my study notes called “the Bride of Christ, and elect group of Christians” at: http://www.insightoftheking.com/the-bride-of-chirst.html
v.14 (c) these are the women who supported Jesus in His ministry, Lk 8:1-3, 23:49, 24:1-11.
v.14 (d) Finally, His half-brothers believe in Him. According to Mark 6:3, Jesus had four brothers born of Mary and Joseph; James, Judas, Joseph and Simon. Up until the resurrection, His brothers did not believe in Him, Jn 7:5. There was a strong tension of illegitimacy hanging over that family for 30+ years. Many people believed that Jesus was born out of wedlock; making Him the illegitimate son of Mary, Jn 8:41. His brothers despised Him and didn’t really understand Him until Jesus appeared to James, His brother, after the resurrection, 1Cor 15:7. This one encounter turns James into a believer and he becomes the leader of the Jerusalem church, Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18, Gal 1:19. He also writes an epistle of the New Testament, the book of James.
Judas is also converted and becomes an outstanding member and a representative of the Jerusalem church. He travels back with Paul to Antioch from the Jerusalem council meeting as a representative of the church, Acts 15:22. He, like James, also has an epistle in the New Testament, the book of Jude.
There is not much said about His two other brothers, Joseph and Simon, but the fact that they are in the upper room shows that they had a change of heart as well.
Four things Christians should be continually devoting themselves to
1) the apostle’s teachings- this is the word of God spoken and inspired thru these men of God. Peter even says in his second epistle, “we have the prophetic word, made more sure”, 2Peter 1:19. This word of prophecy is the word of God that we hold today. It is more sure than God the Father speaking down from heaven or from any angel that might have a word from above. In any case, the word of God is final authority, and everything must be cross examined and scrutinized by the word of God.
2) fellowship- the act of sharing in the activities or privileges of an intimate group.
This is the Greek word koinonia. Used 19 times in the New Testament and only used in accordance with Christians in fellowship, sharing and having participation with each other. It is a special bond that we have in the body of Christ; so special, in fact that this word is also used for the same fellowship we have with Jesus, 1Cor 1:9.
We, as Christians, are the body of Christ; urged to be one with God and each other, Eph 4:1-16, Jn 17:20-23.
3)the breaking of bread- this is not necessarily the Lord’s Supper, but it can be a part of this fellowship. This Greek word is only used one other place in the Bible; it is used when Jesus broke bread with the disciples in Emmaus after the resurrection, Lk 24:35. It was at this point that their eyes were opened and the disciples realized it was Jesus.
4) prayer- communication to the Father in the name of Jesus. It is thru Jesus, our great High Priest, that we can now come boldly to the throne of grace, hold fast to our confession and find help in a time of need, Heb 4:16. This was the plan of reconciliation for man; that he would be redeemed from sin, able, thru the Son, to come talk and fellowship with God Almighty directly.
The veil into the holy of holies was torn in two and we now have direct access to the Father thru our Lord and High Priest, Jesus Christ.
When they had entered the city, they went up to the (a)upper room where they were (b)staying; that is, (c)Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
Gathering in the upper room
v.13 (a) upper rooms were generally larger in size because of the structure of the houses back then. The lower levels had more walls and smaller rooms to support the weight of the second and third stories above. Upper room rooms like this were usually on the third floor and reached by outside steps. They were often used as dining rooms, as study places for students, or were sublet and rented as I believe is the case with the apostles.
This might be the same upper room that the disciples and Jesus had their Last Supper, Lk 22:7-13; it is interesting to think that maybe Jesus rented this room not just for the night, but for the next couple of months in anticipation of the events that would follow.
v.13 (b) the disciples were obeying the Lord’s command to wait in the city until they receive the Holy Spirit and are clothed with power from on high, Lk 24:49, Acts 1:4.
v.13 (c) this is the same list of apostles as in Lk 6:14-16 with the exception of course of Judas Iscariot. There is however a change in the order and placement of the names. In the Bible, it is very common that the order of a name in a list, like a genealogy, is not necessarily the order from oldest to youngest, but instead the order is made by importance.
We see that here, as compared to the list in Lk 6-14-16. In the list in Acts, Peter and John have been elevated to a high standing as leaders among the apostles, thus they are listed first instead of with their brothers as we see in the list from Luke.
The amount of persecution they were experiencing is more than can be imagined. The Pharisees wanted to kill them and Romans wanted to arrest them for causing a disturbance.
They had just spent forty days on and off with Jesus after the resurrection, but they did not yet have the power of the Holy Spirit to give them confidence and boldness. My guess is they were following the Lord’s command to stay in Jerusalem, but still being very discreet and quiet; probably still behind locked doors.
Jesus had spent the last 40 days opening their eyes to the scriptures; showing them that His suffering that had just taken place was, in fact written hundreds of years before as prophecy. He was building their faith and confidence in the word; giving them insight and understanding to His plan.
So that when the power of the Holy Spirit would come, they would already have the word in their hearts to boldly preach the gospel of Christ, even unto persecution, arrest, tribulation and even death.
Then they (a)returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a (b)Sabbath day's journey away.
Returning from the ascension
v.12 (a) the disciples, probably more than just the twelve, were in Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, where He ascended into heaven, Lk 24:50. Before that, Jesus had met them in Galilee. Many people confuse the great commission in Galilee as His ascension, but it is clear that the ascension took place in Bethany, Lk 24:50, and the great commission was in Galilee, Matt 28:16-18.
v.12 (b) a Sabbath’s day journey was 2,000 cubits, about 3,000 ft., according to Num 35:5. The Mount of Olives was within this travel limit, Acts 1:12, but Luke 24:50 states that He led them to Bethany and was ascended into heaven; according to John 11:18, Bethany was about 9,000 ft. from Jerusalem. So we have a discrepancy of 6,000 ft. Any time you come across something that seems like a contradiction in the Bible, use it as a chance to dig deeper because the Word of God does not contradict itself.
John 11:18 is focusing on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived in Bethany and this was a common place for Jesus to stay when He was in Jerusalem. The town of Bethany was not big, but was at least bigger than 2 miles. I believe that Mary and Martha’s house was in Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, while the Mount of Olives and the place of the ascension and Bethpage, were within a Sabbaths day journey from Jerusalem, but still within the borders of the town of Bethany. So when the Bible states that Bethany is two miles from Jerusalem, Jn 1:18, and also states that the disciples were a Sabbaths day journey away from Jerusalem, but still in Bethany, these statements agree because the town of Bethany was bigger than two miles.
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a (a)cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, (b)two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, (c)will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."
v.9 (a) This wasn’t an ordinary cloud. I believe this was the presence of God, presented in a cloud just as He did with Moses, Ex 19:9, 16-19 ; a cloud representing the Glory of God, Ex 24:16, 40:38.
The text says the cloud received them out of their sight. Jesus didn’t just ascend into the clouds so high that they could no longer see Him. I think the cloud, the Glory of God, actually took Him into another dimension and vanished out of their sight.
v.10 (b) the text says these were two men, not two angels. Could these be the same two men that Luke writes about in his gospel at the empty tomb?, Lk 24:4. I am convinced that these two men were Moses and Elijah. God set up a meeting between Jesus, Moses and Elijah on Mount Hermon to discuss Jesus’ departure from this world, Lk 9:28-31. I believe these two men at the tomb and at the ascension were Moses and Elijah as well. Moses and Elijah have a meeting with Jesus to discuss His death and resurrection, we call this the transfiguration, but it really was a secret meeting to review the plan of redemption for man. Moses and Elijah become witnesses for Jesus in both post-resurrection events. They are there to tell the women at the empty tomb that Jesus had risen from the dead. And here they are giving the disciples hope for the return of Jesus Christ. I also believe that the roll of these two men being a witness for Jesus doesn’t stop there. They will be the two witnesses in Revelation preparing the world for the return of Jesus, Rev 11:3-12, Zech 4:2-3, 11-14.
v.11- (c) the return of Jesus will be in a similar fashion to how He was taken up. We know Jesus was taken up in the cloud of the glory of God into heaven escaping the physical eyes into another dimension. In the book of Revelation, John describes Jesus coming back at His second coming. He says “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True”, Rev 19:11-16. Again, this confirms that heaven is a place outside of our dimensionality and just like Jesus was taken into that other dimension by the glory of God, He will come back from heaven in the same fashion, only we, His Bride, will be with Him too!, Jude 14, Rev 19:14.
but you will receive (a)power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My (b)witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
The Power of the Holy Spirit
v.8 (a) the apostles had already received the Holy Spirit and were born again back in John 20:22. This is now when they were baptized in the Spirit and received power. This Greek word is δύναμις, dynamis. This is where we get the English word dynamite. This is the power of God; His strength, force, might and ability. God has given us this power thru His Spirit.
v.8- (b) This is the main reason for this endowment of the power of the Spirit; to be His witness to the world.
Jesus gives specific instructions to the progression of the dispersing of the gospel; first to Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then the rest of the world. Again this goes back to God’s plan. It was always the Jew first and then the Gentile. Jesus followed these same orders, going to Jerusalem, Judea, then Samaria and then the Gentiles, and now He is relaying these same marching orders for His disciples.
The way it plays out is fascinating because the disciples didn’t take these orders and make a plan to spread the gospel in this fashion. It was the hand of God that directed them thru the chaos of life and thru this, fulfilled His plan.
After Jesus ascended, they waited in Jerusalem, as Jesus instructed. They really did not know what they were waiting for. They knew Jesus promised they would receive the promise of the Father and be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but I don’t think they really knew what all that meant; but they were faithful and patient and on the day of Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had promised.
This day, the Feast of Shavout (weeks), was established thousands of years prior, as the exact point in time the Holy Spirit would be given to the Church.
The Day of Pentecost
There is some discussion as when the Day of Pentecost actually took place. There are three events that decide the date of the Day of Pentecost; the Passover being the starting point. Passover is always on the 14th of Nissan. The High Sabbath, always the day after the Passover, the 15th of Nissan, is called the Day of Unleavened Bread. This is a High Sabbath and no work can be performed, Lev 23:5-7. And the third event called the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Firstfruits is always the day after the first weekly Sabbath that followed the Passover. In the year of Jesus’ death and resurrection, since Passover was on a Thursday, the first weekly Sabbath was on the 16th of Nissan, making the Feast of Firstfruits just a few days later on the 17th of Nissan, Lev 23:10-15.
Leviticus 23:15 tells us from the day after the Sabbath, count 50 days to the day after the seventh Sabbath, this is the Day of Pentecost; basically 50 days from first weekly Sabbath after the Passover or 49 days from the Feast or Firstfruits.
Jesus was crucified on April 10th, 32AD and rose from the dead and presented Himself to the Father on the Feast of Firstfruits, 17th of Nissan, Sunday, April 13th.
On the Feast of Firstfruits, the priest is to sacrifice a male lamb and bread made from the firstfruits of the land as a grain offering and wine as a drink offering. All this is done and presented as a wave offering to the Lord, Lev 23:10-13. This is fascinating because Jesus is all three, the Lamb, the body, and the blood. He presented Himself and His blood in heaven, in the holy of holies not made with hands, to the Father as the final sacrifice for sin, Heb 9:11-28. The wave offering of the firstfruits was a foreshadowing of Jesus presenting Himself as the Lamb slain to the Father.
The Day of Pentecost is always 49 days from the Feast of Firstfruits. In the year 32AD, the Holy Spirit came down on Sunday, June 5th.
After the apostles received the Spirit they immediately start to preach the gospel in Jerusalem with boldness. In a matter of days, thousands of Jews receive Jesus. Persecution from the Pharisees arises. Peter and John are thrown in prison, but the hand of God releases them, finally Stephen is stoned to death and this forces the disciples to disperse and travel to other places in the world. It is this persecution that leads to the spread of the gospel in the exact order that Jesus commanded. This is what I think is so amazing. Even thru all the chaos, because of this persecution, it actually enables the disciples to reach out to other parts of the world, Acts 8:4, 11:19-21, to the Jew first in Jerusalem and Judea, then Samaria, then the Gentiles in the rest of the world.
Satan was trying to stop the spread of the gospel by killing Stephen, but instead it actually launched the gospel to the whole world!