Acts 1:12a, 14-15a, 16a, 20-26 - Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem ... All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers. In those days Peter ... said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas ... For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ... "'Let another take his office.' 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.
This story troubles me. Jesus' followers have just seen Jesus ascended into heaven. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit. So they pray and they wait.
But Peter believes that there is business to take care of right now. He thinks that the believers should choose a replacement for Judas. So they choose two men, and they pray, and they cast lots. And they end up with a man called Matthias.
I don't see anywhere in Scripture where Jesus told them to do this. I can't tell whether Peter was doing a good thing, or whether he was in too much of a hurry and they would have done better to wait ten days for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Maybe this was the right thing to do. Maybe this was a well-meaning mistake. Scripture tells us nothing about what happened to Matthias after that. It's a mystery.
And that's the way it often is in our lives as Christians, isn't it? We pray and we think and we make decisions, and we hope that God is guiding us. But we rarely get an angel to tell us if we are doing the right thing or not. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us, and if we do make mistakes, we trust that He will use even our mistakes to God's glory.
Following Jesus is not an exact science. It is more like sheep listening for their shepherd's voice, trusting him to lead them—and knowing that if they make a mistake, their shepherd will bring them back again. After all, what better shepherd could we have than the One who lay down His life for us, the flock He loves? The One who lives and reigns forever will watch over us and guide us, until He brings us safely home to Himself.
WE PRAY: Dear Lord, when I'm not sure what to do, guide me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you tend to be in a hurry most of the time, or do you act slowly and deliberately?
2. What do you do when you have to make a decision and you're not sure what to do?
3. Tell about a time when you trusted God to guide you.
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