Summary: Peter decided to replace Judas as apostle. Matthias "won" & Joseph "lost" when the lots were cast. This must have been an great disappointment to Joseph. This sermon examines if Peter did the right thing, but focuses on how to handle disappointment.
Disappointments: God’s Blessings in Disguise
April 27, 2014
TEXT: Just after Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1:9-11, we read, beginning in verses 14-26 – “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
Illus. – The story of Joseph in the Old Testament is one of the most remarkable stories in the Bible.
It’s also a story of a man of God who, despite His faithfulness to God, experienced great betrayal and disappointment.
• His own brothers’ betrayed him and sold him into slavery (and you thought your siblings were bad!)
• He was falsely accused by his master’s wife of rape because he rebuffed her sexual advances to him, and his master, believing his wife, had him thrown into prison.
• There, a fellow prisoner who made a solemn promise to mention him to Pharaoh to secure his release totally forgot him when he got out.
• So Joseph floundered away in prison until finally, if you know the story, he’s called upon by Pharaoh to interpret his troubling dreams, when his old friend finally mentions Joseph to Pharaoh.
• Only after years of betrayal, disappointment, servitude and waiting did Joseph rise to the second highest office in the land to lead Egypt through a 7-year famine.
Joseph’s story illustrates the key thought of our sermon today: that God superintends our lives so that even the bad things that happen to us work out for good in our lives. Let’s look at this truths in our text this morning.
I. FIRST WE SEE IN THIS TEXT A “SELECTION.”
You might say that this was the Jerusalem church’s first business meeting. Jesus had told the disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. So they did—120 of them. They tarried (that is, they waited,) and prayed and sought God’s face.
But apparently Peter got a little antsy with all this waiting and praying stuff. He was a man of ACTION! Suddenly, he sees a need and instantly launches into action. He gets up and says, “Folks, we need to find a replacement for Judas.” Judas had committed suicide after betraying Jesus, which left them with 11 apostles. Feeling there needed to be 12, he tells the disciples they need to choose a stand-in.
Now Bible scholars differ as to whether Peter did the right thing.
• Some believe PAUL was really the 12th apostle, so Peter jumped the gun on God here.
• Others believe God was forming a new spiritual “people of God” called the church, and in order for Jews to accept a new entity not based on Jewish ethnicity, it needed to be patterned along the lines of God’s earthy people, the Jews, who had 12 tribal leaders.
I won’t argue over whether Peter was right or wrong; I just want us to observe what happened.
So the disciples found two men who met the qualifications of an apostle, namely, verses 21-22 say, that he had to have been with Jesus throughout all his earthly ministry, beginning with His baptism by John; and he had to have been a witness of Christ’s resurrection. The two men who met these qualifications were Joseph Justus and Matthias. After prayer, the disciples cast lots to see which one of the two should be chosen.