Peter is speaking to the disciples about Judas and how his betrayal fulfilled Scripture. “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and ‘Let another take his office’”(Acts 1:20). The first prophecy is a curse on those who do evil while the second speaks to the need for someone to replace him in his work. Peter urges them to select some men who have been present throughout Jesus’ life to “become with us a witness to his resurrection”(Acts 1:22). While many (if not all) of the disciples have witnessed Jesus’ resurrection, this one will become an apostle.
Two men meet these criteria: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. “And they prayed and said, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles”(Acts 1:24-26). There is a blending of human and divine choice here: the disciples select these two men, while God decides which of the two he wants. The casting of lots is simply a way of making an unbiased decision (like flipping a coin), yet the focus here is on God receiving the credit for the decision. Early Christians believe that God is behind even everyday occurrences like which way the lot falls.
This is an important moment. The movement must overcome the staggering betrayal of Judas. The message must go forward. Sometimes our faithful brothers and sisters lose their faith. While we work to restore them, it may be that (like in Judas’ case) we must instead work to fill their shoes. Matthias is proof that the work of God will not be stopped, even when God’s people abandon him.
------------- One Thing to Think About: How have I seen God raise up people to carry on his work?
One Thing to Pray For: Faithfulness to the Lord “who knows the hearts of all”
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