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Acts 1:12-26, Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

Wednesday, May 16

Not Just a Crap Shoot

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

 casting lots

The disciples didn't just lose Jesus. They lost Judas, too. Not just his life, but his friendship with a betrayal that cut deep. But they knew that Jesus had chosen 12 with intention, and it would take 12 to continue the ministry Jesus had laid out for them. But how to choose? They looked among others followers that had been with Jesus since the beginning, who would know him well, who would be able to emulate him as any of these core disciples would. From those, they chose 2 who fit their criteria the best. 

Now it was up to God to decide They cast lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias as God's chosen to replace Judas. We don't put much stock in casting lots or rolling the dice, or any game of chance. Our sensitivities frown upon leaving such an important decision to chance. But casting lots was their way of including God in the conversation. By casting lots, they could be certain the decision was just.

I wonder what might happen if we gave up some of our own control over everything we say, do, and think. What might be some ways we could allow God to enter the conversation? How could we let God make decisions that we struggle to make? This is not to say we leave important things to chance. But how might we give God more say in the important things?

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.

Earlier Event: May 15
Acts 1:6-11, The Ascension of Jesus
Later Event: May 17
Acts 2:37-42, The First Converts