Matthias and Barsabbas—Was it luck that made one the 13th?

Matthias and Barsabbas—Was it luck that made one the 13th?

(Acts 1:15-26)

Anyone who has ever replaced a very popular person in a leadership position knows that feeling of never being able to measure up.Much easier is replacing someone who left a mess behind. In Matthias’ case, Judas’ mess was absolute.What kind of feelings were being felt by Matthias and Barsabbas as they stood waiting to see which of them would be selected as the replacement 12th apostle, we don’t know. We do know that both these men were of high spiritual calibre. They both met the stringent qualifications laid out for an apostle—they were disciples (beyond the 12) of Jesus since John’s baptism, and witnesses of the resurrection and ascension of Christ. These men had proved themselves faithful and resilient to the Kingdom of Heaven. Probably never having dreamed that they might be considered for apostleship.In this case, the exact meaning of the practice of ‘casting lots’ is unclear. It has been suggested that they put two tablets, inscribed each with a name, into one urn; and into another urn they put one tablet blank, and one inscribed with the word Apostle. They then drew one from each urn, and the concurrence of the two decided the case. Other similar ideas have been put forth.They prayed that God would decide between the two and were satisfied that He had made His decision when the lot fell to Matthias. This was not a gamble in the dark. It was a divine answer provided.As quickly as Matthias’ name appears it disappears. He is obviously one of the12 who received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and would be among the apostles on subsequent occasions. These men were ready. Their qualifications were obvious to all. There was no sense of last minute scrambling for reasons as to why or why not they might be apostles. Each man’s life, to date, was his resume. We praise God for men whose lives and reputations are characterized by faith and hard work. The humble were indeed exalted.


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