Stuff Changes, But We Keep Going
The twelve ate, slept, and worked side by side for three years. They had a mission and a ministry, and they were dedicated and devoted to the cause. But they suffered a devastating loss when Judas betrayed Jesus. Not only did they lose their leader, they lost a brother disciple as well. But the work was still calling, and they needed a full house to do the job. They cast lots to see who would take Judas' place among the twelve.
(An aside -- did you notice that these early Christians cast lots to determine the future of their group? It's a little like flipping a coin. So... they relied on luck to choose the next disciple? Sounds a little iffy, if you ask me. Or maybe they knew something about seeking signs that I don't know. Just a thought.)
There's a symmetry to their decision to replace Judas -- to keep their core group of apostles to 12, even as they trained others to continue the work of Christ. It must have seemed different without the original 12. But that's the ebb and flow of life, isn't it? Nothing stays the same forever. People come and go from our lives, jobs change, we move. Change is uncomfortable sometimes, but it is a necessary part of living. The choice Judas made affected them all. But they rolled with it and moved on.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 1:12-26
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
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.