- Jesus commanded his disciples to “stay
in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
After the Lord's ascension they returned to Jerusalem, and waited for the
promise. These apostles spent most of their time in prayer as they awaited
the events to come, and were joined by other disciples including the women,
Jesus' mother and his brothers (including James and Jude who would write two
of the books of the New Testament). The number of them was about 120. (Acts
It was decided that one would be selected to take Judas' place. We simply
are not told why they decided to do this, or how they decided the means of
doing this. Perhaps it was according to Jesus' instructions, since it was
Jesus who personally selected all His apostles. This is a very unusual case
when it comes to appointing an apostle, but the Bible is very plain about
Jesus being the One who selected them, and this is even true with Paul
later, so it is probably the case that Jesus selects this apostle through
A New Apostle Chosen
Peter spoke to the others concerning Judas (Acts 1:15-26). Judas had
betrayed the Lord by becoming a guide to those who arrested Jesus for the
sum of thirty pieces of silver. Following the arrest of Jesus, Judas very,
very quickly grew to regret what he had done and committed suicide a short
time later. This betrayal had been prophesied by the mouth of David. (Acts
1:16). Concerning the betrayer if was said, "Let his dwelling place be
desolate, and let no one live in it" (Acts 1:20; Ps. 69:25). This
prophecy, while speaking of Judas, is not about Judas alone, but of the
enemies of the Messiah in general, of which Judas was one" (Barnes).
Shortly after Judas had left Jesus and the apostles to go and get the armed
men of the high priest in order to lead them back to Jesus, Jesus prayed,
"While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given
Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of
perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” (John 17:12).
Additionally, it was prophesied, “Let another take his office" (Acts
1:20; Psalm 109:8). In this Psalm, David was saying that his enemy is
unworthy of his office and that it should be given to another, applying it
to one of his own enemies about nine centuries before Christ. However, the
application of David's words by Peter was that Judas was unworthy of his
office, and that it should be given to another, just like David has said
So, one was selected to replace Judas. He first had to meet some very
certain and definite qualifications. It was to be a man (vs. 20,21).
Also, it had to be a man who accompanied the other apostles "all the time
that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of
John to that day when He was taken up from us" (Acts 1:21, 22).
Finally, he had to be a witness of the resurrection of Jesus. There were two
“candidates” to take the place of the twelfth apostle. They were
Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias.
The selection: process began with a prayer to Jesus the Lord: "And they
prayed and said, 'You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of
these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from
which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place'"
(Acts 1:24, 25).
Then, they cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. This was whom the Lord
The Scripture Must Be Fulfilled
- I do not know if you have noticed this,
but there is a great appeal to the Old Testament prophecies in this section
of Scripture, for both the utter ruin of Judas as well as the rising of one
to take his place. The Scripture must be fulfilled. “Brethren, the
Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth
of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.”
Much of the time Jesus had spent with His apostles following the
resurrection was explaining how He had and was fulfilling them. Later, Peter
would explain, "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth
of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order
that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts
Jesus Himself spent the forty days between His resurrection and His
ascension preparing His apostles, a part of which included showing them how
He had fulfilled the Scriptures. “Now He said to them, "These are My
words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which
are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms
must be fulfilled.'” Then He opened their minds to understand the
Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would
suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for
forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations,
beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke
Witnesses to the resurrection were essential. Jesus Himself hand picked all
the apostolic witnesses, including Matthias and later Paul. Our faith rests
upon both the fulfillment of Scripture as well as the eyewitnesses'
testimony given in their words, deeds and sacrifices.
Both the testimony of the Old testament Scriptures as well as the eyewitness
accounts of the disciples to these things work together to confirm that
Jesus is the living Son of God. "And so, because he was a prophet, and
knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants
upon his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the
Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer
decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.”
In the later half of the first century, Peter makes the same point. “For
when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as
this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with
whom I am well-pleased" -- and we ourselves heard this utterance made from
heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic
word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp
shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in
your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:17-19).
Yes, Amen! We would do well to “pay attention as to a lamp shining in a
dark place” the things of God. Matthias' message was the same as the
others: I was there. I saw Him. He was dead and is now alive. He is the Son
From The Bradley Banner 7/29/2007
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway