In Luke 22:28-30, Jesus notes that the Twelve will rule over the “twelve tribes of Israel.” With the death of Judas, the “wholeness” of the Twelve is incomplete—eleven is one too few. So the disciple community prepares to select Judas’s replacement. Peter emphasizes the need for a personal relationship with Jesus. The two candidates put forward, Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas, have been with Jesus and his followers from the time of John’s baptism through Jesus’ ascension, living together in community, witnessing to the Resurrection, and experiencing a change in heart and life.
The two candidates understand the call to share, to serve, and to live in faithful community, loving God and loving neighbor. I expect that’s why they are the top two candidates for the spot of disciple number twelve. They aren’t seeking the limelight; they are faithfully serving, as they have been all along.
The community casts lots, and Matthias becomes the new number twelve. Oddly enough, the New Testament doesn’t mention either man again. Does one go off to pout? Does one flaunt his new position? We can only assume, given their background, that both men go on to serve in love, bearing witness to the kingdom of God among them.
We are all allotted a share in Jesus’ ministry. Sometimes we feel unfit or unready. We may not feel that we have the personal history with Jesus. Maybe the call to mission seems too difficult. The Lord knows our heart; we simply love God and love neighbor.
Loving God, help us to serve faithfully—loving you and loving our neighbors—in our ordinary, everyday lives. Amen.
Scripture tells us that in our lives in general, and especially in our spiritual lives, we need to distinguish what is true from what is false. The psalmist admonishes us to follow the truth of God and flee wicked ideas. This week we read about Judas, who did not follow the psalmist’s advice—with disastrous results. In Acts the apostles seek to replace Judas among their number with a witness to Jesus who has not been led astray. In John’s Gospel, Jesus bemoans the loss of Judas and prays that his followers will cling to his words. The author of First John testifies that God’s words are trustworthy above all others. They bear witness to the life that comes through Christ, whose legitimacy was confirmed by his ascension into heaven.
• Read Acts 1:15-17, 21-26. When have you experienced the disruption of a meaningful relationship through death? How did you eventually recover?
• Read Psalm 1. When have you allowed the world to define you? How do you avoid that?
• Read 1 John 5:9-13. How have you come to know the testimony of God in your heart?
• Read John 17:6-19. What helps you sense God’s presence and protection?
Respond by posting a prayer.