God's Will, Witness and Waiting on Him | James Stevenson
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”
18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:
“‘May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,’
“‘May another take his place of leadership.'
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
God’s will, witness and waiting on him
Luke leaves the book of Acts unfinished – Paul was in prison at the time but the gospel was still being spread and would continue throughout history. We find ourselves today still involved in the outworking of what began here in the first century.
The apostles looked out to God to guide them in choosing a replacement for Judas. They cast lots and Matthias was chosen. However, there would be no more casting lots once the Holy Spirit had come. From then on, they would be able to discern God’s will through the words, pictures and inner impulses that he gave to them.
Looking at the news and seeing suffering all over the world, we can feel helpless. What can we do? To this and to any anxious situation we can respond by asking God ‘How will you use me in this situation?’ God wills to work in us.
Peter and Judas had betrayed Jesus, but whereas Judas killed himself in despair, Peter was restored by grace, assured of Jesus’ forgiveness and love. God wants to restore us from any unconfessed sin. When we bring it to him, admitting what we have tried to keep hidden, we can know a new sense of freedom to tell others about God’s amazing love. Godly witness flows from restoration.
Jesus had told the disciples to wait for the gift he would give them, which they did together, praying and worshipping God. The more we wait on God prayerfully, becoming aware of his presence, the more we hunger for his presence out in the world. And the more we want to be part of spreading the news of his love.
So how do we pray? Do we send our requests out there to God, hoping he will respond? How much better to lay out our hopes and fears to him, listening and waiting for his response until we sense what he wants us to do.