Peter thought he had a good idea. He even backed it up with Biblical quotes. He thought that the disciples should choose someone to take Judas’ place. The pool of candidates wasn’t large. They had to have been with Jesus and the disciples from the time of Jesus’ baptism until Jesus’ ascension. The disciples cast lots (in order to ensure that the choice was God’s and not theirs) and Matthias was chosen. Verse twenty-six is the last we read of Matthias. Later in the book of Acts we read about God’s real choice to replace Judas—Paul. Once again the Lord moved outside the reasonable, normal and expected and raised up a disciple whom no one would have considered.
Peter certainly was a godly man. He was a leader among the disciples and wanted to do what he thought was best. Peter, however, was wrong. The Lord didn’t punish Peter for being wrong and Peter was not rebuked for discerning the Spirit incorrectly. Later in the book of Acts the writer records that Peter supported Paul before the other apostles.
Like Peter, we’re not perfect, and we will make wrong decisions. This fact should not deter us from seeking to discern the Spirit’s leading or making bold decisions. Instead we can be reminded of God’s steadfast love and our ability as disciples of Jesus to confess, repent and walk in forgiveness.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.