Thursday: The Twelfth Apostle

The first administrative action of the early Christian community, which numbered about 120 believers (Acts 1:15), was to choose a successor to Judas.

Read Acts 1:21-22. What qualifications was the successor to Judas expected to have? Why would these be so important?

Not Boastful

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The need was for a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (compare with Acts 4:33); this is crucial because time and again the resurrection is viewed as powerful evidence for the Messiahship of Jesus and the truth of the whole Christian faith.

The choice, however, was to be made from among those who had accompanied the apostles throughout Jesus’ ministry. Paul would later insist that, despite not having been with the earthly Jesus, he was nevertheless entitled to the apostolic office because his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus qualified him to bear witness to His resurrection (1 Cor. 9:1). Though admitting to be as “one untimely born” (1 Cor. 15:8, ESV), Paul refused to consider himself less qualified than the other apostles (1 Cor. 9:2Gal. 2:6-9). Only the Twelve and Paul, then, were “apostles” in the technical, authoritative sense (Acts 1:25-26); yet, in its basic, general sense as envoys or messengers, the term also could be used for other gospel workers (Acts 14:4Acts 14:14Gal. 1:19).

Read Acts 1:23-26. How was Matthias chosen?

The method they used to choose Matthias may seem strange, but the casting of lots was a long-established way of making decisions (for example, Lev. 16:5-10Num. 26:55). In addition, the choice was between two previously recognized candidates of equal qualifications, not a step into the unknown. The believers also prayed to God, believing that the result would reflect His will (compare with Prov. 16:33). There is no evidence that the decision was ever challenged. After Pentecost, the casting of lots became no longer necessary due to the direct guidance of the Spirit (Acts 5:3Acts 11:15-18Acts 13:2Acts 16:6-9).

If someone were to come to you and ask, “How can I know what God’s will is for my life?” what would you answer, and why?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons