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Acts 1:12-26 (web)

The Twelfth Apostle

1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, 
which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 
1:13 When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; 
that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew,
Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 
1:14 All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication,
along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. 

1:15 In these days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples 
(and the number of names was about one hundred twenty), and said, 
1:16 "Brothers, it was necessary that this Scripture should be fulfilled,
which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, 
who was guide to those who took Jesus. 

1:17 For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry. 
1:18 Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, 
and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out. 
1:19 It became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem that 
in their language that field was called 'Akeldama,' that is, 'The field of blood.' 
1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms,
'Let his habitation be made desolate, Let no one dwell therein,'  Ps 69:25
and, 'Let another take his office.' Ps 109:8
1:21 Of the men therefore who have accompanied us all the time 
that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 
1:22 beginning from the baptism of John, to the day that he was received up from us, 
of these one must become a witness with us of his resurrection." 
1:23 They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 

1:24 They prayed, and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, 
show which one of these two you have chosen 
1:25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away,
that he might go to his own place." 
1:26 They drew lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias,
and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. 


The end of the Gospel of Luke mentions they stayed at the temple. Thus the view is that they didn't simply lock themselves away in the upper room in prayerful meditation, but were already quite vocal in their praise.
"Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 
And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God." Luke 24:52,53
But rather than obey the Lord and wait for the Holy Spirit as the Lord commanded in Acts 1:4, Peter (typical of his impulsive nature) refused to wait and felt it necessary to make a significant (and in fact inappropriate) institutional decision prior to receiving the Holy Spirit. That decision involved the replacement of Judas as the 12th apostle. Before he even received the Spirit he wanted to deal with a leadership issue. One is reminded of their same concerns during Jesus' ministry. Even after the Last Supper in Luke 22:24 they obsessed over which of them was the greatest and one wonders if their anticipation of the kingdom wasn't heavily motivated by their desire to be in recognized positions of authority. For Jesus had told them, "At the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."Mt 19:28

If I were present I may have asked Peter the following:

1. Yes Judas will be replaced, but why do you think it's necessary RIGHT NOW? Can't the Lord chose the timing, just the Lord choses the timing concerning the coming of the kingdom and not us?
2. Why not wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit before making such a decision?
3. In fact why not let the Holy Spirit make the decision rather than ourselves choosing the candidates?
For each apostle was not chosen by mutual consent, but by the Lord himself.

And after the Lord Himself fulfilled the scripture personally chosing Paul as the 12th apostle, as he writes in many places of his experience in being chosen in Acts 9 saying, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" I would ask Peter "what's up with that?"

So if there are only 12 recognized apostles in the coming kingdom as Jesus spoke of the 12 thrones in Matt 19:28 and of the names of the 12 apostles on the walls of the New Jerusalem in Rev 21:14 then who would be the 12th name? Would it be Matthias or Paul? 

I would say that they were presumptuous in their choosing of  the Twelfth Apostle. They gave God only two choices, either Joseph or Matthias. But God chose the Apostle Paul instead! It is not that their choosing by lot was unBiblical. For that was a method commonly used in the Old Testament. But rather it was the idea that they choose the candidates. However after they receive the Spirit we find that the Holy Spirit speaks explicitly, such as in Acts 13:2 "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

The Apostles should have learned by now that God does things his own way. But the history of Institutional Christianity has often been filled with the assumption that God only does things in accordance with institutional leaders. Such people should be careful not to be too presumptuous, as many in the history of Christianity have been. 

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources