We provide a short weekly devotion to encourage us in God's Word. The authors of these devotions are members of St. John's. Check back here every week for the next devotion! May they be a blessing to you.
"So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us...must become with us a witness to His resurrection" (Acts 1:21,22).
One might wonder, "Why twelve?" Could not the disciples have continued on with only eleven? Why did Judas' place need to be filled? Surely it was not a problem of manpower.
It was more a matter of deep and important symbolism. Israel, the original people of God, was formed of twelve tribes. The new "people of God" would be "descended" from twelve apostles who would be the instruments of the Spirit to bring about the "birth" of this new Israel.
But more important than the symbolism was the way the "new people of God" would be created. We are told the candidate to replace Judas had to have known Jesus as the eleven did, so that he could "become with us a witness to His resurrection." It was the witness to His resurrection that was of greatest importance. As Paul was to write later on, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins ... If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19)." The proclamation of the Good News is all about hope, certain and sure. Without the resurrection of Jesus there is no hope. It is no accident that the early Church did not get around to celebrating Christmas until a few centuries after the resurrection. They celebrated Easter from day one. (How sad to see we seem to have it backwards today.) It was and is the proclamation of the hope of the resurrection (and all that brought it about, of course) that is at the heart of the love of God that is at the heart of the Good News that brings new life for a new people of God.
So the disciples put forth two candidates, with the Lord making the choice. Matthias became Judas' replacement. The creation of the new Israel from the Twelve was on its way. It continues still. Praise the Lord. He is risen!
Something to ponder: What am I witnessing to?
- Pastor Henry
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