Replacing Judas

Originally there had been twelve apostles. Jesus had made it that way. The number was significant. Twelve men, like the original twelve sons of Israel, chosen to restore their fallen country. Now there were only eleven. Peter, suddenly finding himself with a lot of time to think, pondered Judas’s empty position. Even though they now numbered more than a hundred ((Acts 1:15)), the vacancy bothered him.

Peter remembered that Jesus had gotten a lot of information about his ministry from the Psalms, so he also went to them for guidance. Soon he found a couple that echoed his own pain and anger at a friend’s betrayal. It didn’t take him long to find a verse he could use: “Let him die quickly and give someone else his position.” ((Psalms 109:8))

Peter interrupted the prayers of the others to unveil his revelation. ((Acts 1:15)) He formed a committee to find the best replacement candidate for the inner circle. The new man must be respected and entirely loyal. ((Acts 1:21-22)) Peter would not risk another Judas incident. Eventually they narrowed it down to two candidates. To ensure that they got the best possible man, and also gave God his proper due, they prayed for blessing on their endeavor ((Acts 1:24-25)) and flipped a coin. ((Acts 1:26))

Matthias was welcomed into the inner circle. Joseph, and the rest, remained outside, as mere disciples. ((Acts 1:26)) Peter felt content. He had ensured that Jesus’s carefully laid plan hadn’t been damaged by Judas’s action. The disciples resumed praying.

Down in the temple, a young but powerful Pharisee named Saul went about his business. He was as unlike the disciples as a Jew could be, and both he and the disciples liked it that way. Neither side could have imagined that Jesus would choose him as an apostle.

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