20 May 2012

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

"Lord you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry." (vv. 24-25)


Peter was addressing the believers about choosing a replacement for Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. We don't know whether the Apostles were bitter towards Judas for what he did, but the qualification given here for a replacement is primarily someone whose heart is right with God. They should have been a companion of the disciples "throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us" (v. 21), and someone who would have also witnessed the resurrection. Some translations put verses 18-19 in brackets indicating that this may not have been part of Peter's speech, but rather Luke's (the writer of the book of Acts) explanatory note of what happened to Judas and how he ended his life.

The process for finding the best candidate to replace Judas required all the believers to meet for the task together. It seems odd that they had to cast lots in order to specify who the replacement would be. However, it is interesting that the first move was to submit prayerfully the decision-making process to God's will. Then after the two most suitable candidates were picked, a lot was used as the final indicator of the chosen Apostle. Matthias was the one that got it. A clean pick? You decide, but the parties concerned were less likely to fight over why one was chosen and not the other, trusting this was the Holy Spirit's choice.

To Ponder

The Church's process of selection for ministry and service - to what extent is it prayerfully submitted to God's will?

It was imperative for the believers who gathered that they found someone who was a companion to the other Apostles, was with Jesus in his ministry, and witnessed Christ's resurrection together with the rest of the believers. Relationship-Involvement-Witness. How far do you think this is a fitting qualification for leadership in ministry?

What part does God and God's will play in your decision making?


Bible notes author

Tevita and Meleane Siuhengalu

Tevita Maliepo Siuhengalu is an ordained minister with the Methodist Church in Tonga, who taught at Sia'atoutai Theological College for seven years. Tevita and his wife Meleane were mission partners with the World Church in Britain Partnership Programme between 1996 and 2001, and Tevita continued as minister in the High Wycombe Circuit, until 2004.