We Are Witnesses - Week Six


It’s Eastertide (Season of Easter)

We will conclude the Book of Acts to learn more about the first witnesses of the Resurrection and what we can apply to our own time and place.  

Today, we will read a story from Acts chapter 1. The apostles had to replace Judas and took an unorthodox approach to picking between two people. One got picked, the other didn't.  

Before we jump into that, let me ask you something.  Do you remember when you were a kid, and at P.E. or on the playground… and there was always someone picked last.  

Was that kid, by chance, you?

What is it like to be the one always picked last?   

It's the dashing of hope, the realization that you were an afterthought, that the politics of groups isn't fair, that you have a lot to contribute but won't get the chance.  

The rejection of it is hard, isn't it?  

If you're like me, you might start daydreaming of a day when you will show them all up. You'll get your chance.  

You may work hard, start striving, and practice a lot.  You might have gotten picked last, but you know you don't want to stay there, and if you do get your chance, you will be ready. 

When getting added to the team late is different… 

Coming off the bench can be one of those moments. I'm using sports metaphors, but they can apply to many other things: getting added to a project at work, finding a new relationship late in life, discovering your faith and having it deepened when you never thought it would. 

When you get the call, how ready are you to play? And even when you don't get exactly what you thought you wanted, what do you do then?  

The story we will read today is from Acts 1, where the Apostles pick someone to replace Judas.  

And here is what I want us to hold on to today: 


A little bit of background on this story

Acts 1:15-17; 21-26 

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,[d] the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”

Judas and conflicting stories, including the Acts account 

There were obviously a number of people who followed Jesus closely 

21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

They cast lots to determine (the connection to Jesus), and Mathias gets the call. 

A little about these two: “Justus” Blessed Joseph Barsabbas 

Matthias?  Not much. 

Side note—Mary Magdalene ought to have been the 12th 

But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, "Say what you think concerning what she said. For I do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are of other ideas."[19]

Peter also opposed her in regard to these matters and asked them about Jesus. "Did he then speak secretly with a woman, in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?"

In response Levi said to Peter, "Peter, you've always been angry. Now I see you debating with this woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you then to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That's why he loved her more than us.
Both of these men were called—but to different things.  Both stepped off the bench and went into the game in their own way.  

What Does This Story Teach Us?
  • The way of redemption is paved with intentions.  
  • Hanging back to learn is one thing, but when the call comes, be ready. 
  • Sometimes the way we want isn’t the way that gets chosen.  


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