After Jesus’s death, his betrayer, Judas, is filled with remorse and commits suicide. The twelve disciples are now only eleven in number. Peter stands before them and quotes two passages from Psalms. The second verse says, “May someone else replace him.” Though this may seem vague to us, the eleven disciples see this as a command—or a prophetic word—to find a replacement for Judas.
To do this they nominate two men who followed Jesus, from his baptism through to his ascension. They seek men who know all about Jesus and his ministry, including his resurrection from the dead. (Unfortunately, the verse specifies men. Personally, I would have loved for them to have considered Mary Magdalene as the twelfth disciple.)
They nominate two men: Barsabbas (1) and Matthias. To us, the next logical step is to vote. But they don’t. Instead they pray for God—who knows everyone’s hearts—to choose which man should take the place of Judas. Then, in faith, they cast lots, believing that the winner is God’s choice. The lot falls to Matthias. Again, we have twelve disciples.
What’s perplexing is that this is the last time we hear about Matthias. We don’t know if he becomes a loyal disciple or fizzles out. We don’t know if he helps advance the kingdom of God or abandons the cause. Does he finish strong or falter?
What do we need to do to make sure we finish strong for Jesus?
[Discover more about Matthias in Acts 1:15–26.]
Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.