Peter looked around the room at the crowd. What seemed like such a large space for a meal with Jesus was now crammed with His followers.
A man stood at the door searching until he saw Peter and John. He marched up to them. “I have news of Judas.”
“He hanged himself. We know.”
The man shook his head. “His body fell. He burst open all over the field. The priests are using the money he returned to buy that field to bury the poor and unknown.”
Peter placed a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Thank you for letting us know.”
The days turned into weeks with nothing new. They sang Psalms to pass the time.
A few lines stood out in Peter’s mind. Then another one brought a thought to him.
Peter tried to not think about them, but they wouldn’t leave.
Peter stood and spoke over the din of the crowd.
“As you know Judas Iscariot was with us the entire time of Jesus’s ministry until he led those who arrested Jesus. David spoke of him in the Psalms when he wrote, ‘Let his dwelling be desolate, let nobody live in it.’ David also wrote. ‘Another shall take his office.’
“There are some among us who have been with us from the baptism by John until Jesus’s ascension to heaven. We should at this time fill the number of us back to twelve. Let’s find a man qualified to take Judas’s place as a witness to Jesus’s resurrection.”
People looked at each other. Conversations grew.
Andrew raised a hand. “I propose Joseph, also called Barsabas, surnamed Justus. He’s followed us the whole time.”
Matthew stood. “Matthias has also been with us to help as needed. He’s a good candidate as well.”
Heads nodded. Conversations added comments about events how each man aided Jesus and His disciples.
Peter held a hand up and waited for silence. “Are there any others who qualify?”
After a long silence Peter continued. “Very well then, we’ll cast lots to determine who will be counted among us. Let’s pray for God’s guidance first.”
Everyone who was sitting stood. They all closed their eyes.
Peter prayed. “Lord of all. You know how Judas fell away to lead men to take your Son. Now that he’s gone we need Your wisdom to guide us to the best replacement. You know every person’s heart. Show us who You want to take Judas’s place.”
Someone stepped forward with the lots. “An odd number will be in favor of Joseph, even for Matthias.”
He cast them to the floor. “Eight.”
A cheer rose as men slapped Matthias on the back.
The choosing of Matthias is the first recorded event of the Apostles after the ascension of Jesus. It’s the only thing they did, other than prayer and waiting, before the giving of the Holy Spirit to them.
I find it interesting that only two men are brought up for the vote to replace Judas. The qualifications were basic enough: they needed to have been with the group of Jesus’s followers from His baptism to His resurrection. Only two stood outside the circle of twelve as witnesses to the miracles and parables, the teachings and the confrontations.
The crowd was recorded to have dwindled significantly after Jesus talked about people needing to eat His body and drink His blood. The final meal in the upper room showed them the true meaning of that statement.
How torn were Joseph and Matthias when the crowd walked away shaking their heads that day?
They apparently held their ground to follow the Messiah no matter what He said. Only two men.
Fortunately only one was needed. Prayer was used before lots were cast to determine who God wanted to take Judas’s place.
But, was this the man God actually chose as the twelfth Apostle?
I think when the twelve thrones are filled to judge the twelve tribes of Israel Matthias won’t be on one of them.
I think it will be a man who wasn’t even near that room that day. As a matter of fact that room is the LAST place Saul would have wanted to be that day.
God’s choice was being groomed in an unexpected way as they waited for the Holy Spirit to be given.
Saul’s passion was to end this sect called “The Way” then.
God let that passion burn until Jesus stepped in on his way to Damascus.
After the Holy Spirit entered Saul his passion did a 180 degree turn as he became their chief spokesperson and missionary.
The transformation was so dramatic he changed his name to Paul.
Jesus never told His followers to replace Judas. He merely told them to wait in Jerusalem.
This choosing was their idea. Fortunately it was a harmless one since God will sort out who sits where in the kingdom to come.
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Have you ever walked ahead of God in a matter?
Did you fill a ‘need’ that you later discovered wasn’t necessary?
Was your choice for an office not vetted enough before you filled a vacancy?
If you’re expecting a guaranteed formula for discovering God’s will in every matter I’m afraid you came to the wrong blog.
My life is filled with too many mis-steps and wrong choices to hold that promise for you.
I will tell you that we have a huge advantage that the people in that room didn’t have. We have the Holy Spirit’s guidance and a more complete scripture than they had.
The New Testament is chocked full of guidelines and wisdom that hadn’t been written then.
Prayer is always an important element in discovering God’s will, but it must be tempered with the Bible’s wisdom and guidance.
Too many people pray about a matter without leaning on biblical insight for their situation. If they feel a peace about what they decide to do then they follow that course of action.
This life isn’t about our happiness or peace. It’s about becoming more like Jesus Christ.
I’ll see you later. Wade