Posted by: genelnicholsblog | September 20, 2015

the twelfth

I would challenge you to name him. He is mentioned only once (and very briefly) in Scripture. We know nothing of his ministry from either God’s Word or historical records. Yet we should not conclude a study of the twelve apostles without a look at a man by the name of Matthias. Let’s take a closer look at Acts chapter 1.

During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them. “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.”
Acts 1:15-17 (NIV)

To set the context, the suicide of Judas had not been that long ago; neither had the ascension of Christ. The believers are meeting to make a decision about who will replace Judas and Peter is the leader. In his speech, he gives a brief recap of Judas’ demise and then quotes the Old Testament as to the decision which must be reached.

Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ (referring to Judas) It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’
Acts 1:20 (NLT)

There needed to be a replacement for Judas.  There needed to be Twelve, not eleven, apostles. Again, this has to do with the Old Testament. The number twelve was significant to God’s chosen people, the Jews. There were twelve tribes of Israel. And if you do a study of Heaven, the number twelve is quite significant as well (we won’t get into that right now); Jesus had explained to the twelve apostles that they would sit on twelve thrones in Heaven. So, there had to be a twelfth man … who should it be? Now remember, there was one undeniable and necessary qualification to be an apostle … one had to have seen the risen Jesus Christ. Let’s continue on in Acts to see how the nominees were chosen.

“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus — from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”
Acts 1:21-22 (NLT)

We sometimes forget that many others believed and followed Jesus during His ministry on earth. Apparently, some had also followed John the Baptist – and, of course, notice the last words there – these men had also been a witness of the Resurrection. So two men were nominated…

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.
Acts 1:23-26 (NIV)

Matthias was chosen as the Twelfth … and we never read about him again in Scripture! Even more puzzling is there are no historical accounts of his ministry or death (can we assume he also was martyred?). One vote, one mention and one anonymous ministry. I have always thought of this apostle as the “almost famous one,” and yet Matthias sits on a throne of honor in Heaven forever. God’s plans are perfect; they will never be thwarted.  And he uses anyone with a willing heart and faith to follow Him.

Can’t wait to meet Matthias … I have a few questions for him!


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