Daily Word

Matthias or Paul  | Acts 1:21-26

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.

24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:21-26 (ESV) 中文

Together in prayer

We saw in a previous post that the disciples are obedient to Jesus’ command to get together and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This would power their discipleship and evangelism to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) – just as He powers ours. As they were praying together, Peter gets up and says they need to replace Judas Isariot. This passage continues the narrative of the previous one.

Apostle criteria

As the 11 apostles thought about the daunting task and responsibility before them, they knew they needed criteria to select a suitable, God-honoring, replacement for Judas. This shows wisdom and desire to please the Lord. The criteria are obviously unique to their selection. But it’s something similar the Apostle Paul later does for selecting leaders (elders) in the body of Christ (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-8). In this replacement of Judas, they wanted someone who had been with Jesus for His whole ministry – since they would be a witness of Jesus and His resurrection and ascension.

Tie breaker

They come down to two, Justus and Matthias. Now what? They used a method God describes in the OT for deciding spiritual matters. Casting a lot. Some would say it’s leaving it up to chance. “The act of casting lots alludes to Proverbs 16:33 and adds to the emphasis on God’s sovereignty throughout this unique account.” (TGC

God’s choice?

Most would say that their approach and reasoning was spot on scripturally as we saw in the previous post and continued today. But was it God’s choice? Some (who favor Paul) argue that since the Spirit had not yet been given, if they had waited for the Spirit, God’s will would have been discerned to select Paul. It is not conclusive either way. And it certainly is not worth arguing over. Whose name will be on the 12th foundation in Heaven (Revelation 21:14) we can’t know for sure.


  • How do we go about discerning God’s will in a matter? Do we start with casting a lot (flipping a coin)? Or do we follow more of the pattern of these guys? For more on this consider this article.  
  • Have you made a choice that you know now was wrong, even disobedient? We encourage you to confess this to the Lord and repent. Get your relationship with Him restored. This is probably more important than the decision.
Referee flips a coin. Image from pxfuel.com

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