Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our New Testament reading this week is from Acts 1:15-26. Normally we have an Epistle at this point in the readings. Acts is a little different as it is really a history. However, it is sometimes used for the first or second reading.
Something really important happens in this passage. For the first time in recorded history, one of the apostles takes a passage of Scripture and applies it to a current situation. In the past, this was the work of a prophet, including John the Baptist, or of Jesus. But here Peter finds a passage in Psalms which tells him they should have another apostle. He then suggests some qualifications, which are not stated in the Old Testament but seem important and are agreeable to all the apostles. Matthias is eventually chosen at random of the two people proposed.
There’s a debate about whether twelve is the right number, about how to think of replacement apostles, and whether the apostolic office is restricted to those who had been present since Jesus’ baptism. The New Testament does not spell those answers out specifically. We can’t know with 100% confidence about the modern implications. What we do know is that Matthias was duly selected as an apostle and that he served as such in some way. We also know that Matthias is never again mentioned in the New Testament. He gives a model of someone who was recognized later than most and who is apparently working in obscurity. Is he any less valuable than the other apostles? Not at all, simply different. May the Lord continue to make us willing to live and die for him, regardless of our station in life.
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