Acts 1:15-16a, 21-26 - In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled ... So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the Baptism of John until the day when He was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to His resurrection." And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, 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.
I feel uneasy when I think about the events in Acts 1. Oh, not Jesus' ascension! But after His followers returned to Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit, they had a meeting. Peter stood up and announced that it was time to replace Judas with another apostle. He quoted Scripture, they prayed, they nominated two men, and then they cast lots, asking God to make the decision. Matthias was chosen, and they counted him as the new twelfth apostle.
Here's what bugs me—I'm not entirely sure they should have been doing this, before the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told them to wait. As far as I know, He didn't tell them to do anything about the vacancy Judas left! And Peter had a history of rushing things. And we never hear anything more about Matthias in the Bible. So ....
But then, I think, who am I to criticize the apostles? Maybe this is what God wanted. Peter did base his decision on Scripture. The group did pray, and they did leave the final choice in God's hands (via lot). And the author of Luke never says they were wrong. So maybe ....
I can't make up my mind. Neither can a lot of other Christians. But maybe that's okay. Because God is still in charge, no matter what.
There are a lot of decisions in our lives where we ask God to guide us, consulting the Bible and praying and talking with other Christians. We do the best we can with what we think we understand at the time. But in the end, things happen. They might be what we expected; they might not. But it's okay, because God's in charge no matter what happens.
Some things God never makes clear. But other things—the most important things—He makes absolutely sure we can never misunderstand. It's not clear whether the Matthias episode was a mistake or not. But it's abundantly clear that Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection were no mistake—that He did all of these things, knowingly and freely, according to God's will, to save us. This is how much He loves us. And no matter what mistakes we make, He will never let us go.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, when I am confused and don't know what to do, please guide me. And if I make mistakes, help me to trust in Your forgiveness and Your guidance in the mercy in Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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