Summary: This looks at the original Apostles and what made them who they were.
How would you like to have been in that job interview? “So, you want to be an apostle, what previous experience do you have? None huh, oh right this is the first time the position has been advertised for.”
“Yes, we do have a requirement, that’s right, just one: So were you with Jesus from the time he was baptized until the crucifixion and resurrection? You were? Perfect. That puts you on the short list, there’s just you and one other guy.
If you don’t know the story part of it was read earlier but to bring you up to steam. Jesus has ascended into heaven and the remaining eleven disciples are doing what they are supposed to be doing, they are waiting, remember what Jesus had told them in Acts 1:4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.
And so there they are, just sitting and waiting. You gotta hate that, just waiting, not sure what’s going to happen, just waiting. And like us when we are waiting not knowing what we should do they get into mischief, well they probably wouldn’t say that. Instead they would say they found something to do.
We are told there were one hundred and twenty in the room, we don’t know for sure who all was there but we could probably guess. We are told that the remaining disciples were there, and Mary Jesus Mother and several other women. Maybe Mary Magdalene and Salome, as well the brothers of Jesus. Presumably James and Jude. So that is 16. And you might remember from Luke 10:1 The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. So assuming that all seventy two were still hanging around that gives us 88, pretty good chance Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were there so there would still be another 30 that we don’t know their names.
And they are just waiting and then Peter came up with an idea why doesn’t that surprise any of us? He decides that they need to replace Judas. Now I don’t know why they figured there had to be twelve apostles. Some thoughts, perhaps it went back to the Old Testament and the 12 tribes of Israel, or perhaps they just felt that since Jesus had picked 12 that there was something special about that number. Or maybe because there were 12 cans of coke in a case and 12 hotdogs in a pack, made it easier when they went on BBQ’s. Personally I would have offered to eat the extra hot dog, but that’s just me. We don’t know their reasons but obviously they had a reason.
So from the 120 they were going to select someone who was qualified we are told in Acts 1:21-22 “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”
But as so often happens instead of getting one name they ended up with two, and apparently they had a tie in the vote because continuing along in the story we read Acts 1:24-26 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. Now personally I think that they should have prayed before they got to the point of Justus and Matthias playing rock, scissor, and paper for the position. And maybe they did. What we do know is this is the last mention that we have of Matthias in the Bible. Paul doesn’t mention him, James doesn’t mention him, John doesn’t mention him and Jude doesn’t mention him.
Even tradition is fairly silent on who he was and what he did. One account says “Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia.” Another account says he went to Colchis, which in modern day Georgia and was crucified there. While yet another tells us that he was stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem and that his remains were eventually taken to Germany by Charlemagne’s mother Helena. Both the Catholic and Anglican Churches have celebrated his feast day on February 24th, and that’s all she wrote.
The story is told in the book of Acts, which is the 5th book of the New Testament. The author is the same person who wrote the Gospel of Luke and that is Luke, who was probably a gentile doctor. Scholars place the writing of this book around AD 65. It was written to tell what happened after the resurrection. This is indeed the rest of the story. It is a great book, it’s here we meet Paul, the story of the church begins here and we are introduced to the personal power of the Holy Spirit. If you have never read the book of Acts you need to and that is why we have give each of you a reading card.