Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17, 21-26
There was historical significance to the number 12. Jacob had twelve sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. Jesus may have chosen twelve disciples because each one of Jacob’s sons was the head of a tribe of the people of Israel.
You will remember that Jesus selected twelve men to be His disciples. They were Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James and Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. Twelve were still needed to do the disciples’ work, but when Judas betrayed and disappointed Jesus, that left only eleven men to serve.
Simon Peter gathered the disciples together and acknowledged that a disciple was needed to take Judas’ place. This person had to be special and he would bring special gifts needed to carry on the work Jesus had for the disciples to do.
Simon Peter said,
We miss Jesus, but we know that He still wants us to keep sharing the good news. The person who replaces Judas should know us and know Jesus. This person is someone who knows that Jesus came back to life!
Two candidates’ names surfaced, and they were: Barsabbas and Matthias. They had an important decision to make. Which man was the right one for the job? They did what all of us should do about decisions large and small that we need to make. They prayed and God guided their decision making. Matthias was chosen. This decision did not mean that Barsabbas was not special and that his gifts for ministry were not important. God could use him and his gifts elsewhere, meanwhile, Matthias was the best person to fill the twelfth position within Jesus’ group of disciples.
O Lord, each of us is special and to each of us You have given a variety of gifts to do ministry. When we are not selected for some position, help us to hold fast to our self-esteem. Remind us there are other positions for which we have the “right stuff” and are the right persons for the job. We thank You that Matthias joined the eleven and that together they shared the good news of Jesus which led to the growth and expansion of Christ’s Church. In His name, we pray. Amen.