14 May 2022Acts 1:15-26
Then they prayed and said, 'Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.' (vs 24-25)
The Acts of the Apostles is in the New Testament and was written around 80-85 AD. It is believed to have been written by Luke, the same author as that of Luke's Gospel. He was a physician and the only Gentile (non-Jew) author in the New Testament. It is addressed to Theophilus, but it is not clear who this man was. It tells the story of the early church from its beginnings in Jerusalem and how it spread across the world all the way to Rome.
The focus passage comes after Jesus’ instruction for the apostles to wait in Jerusalem and a description of his subsequent Ascension and is followed by the account of the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
The apostles named in verse 13 were the ones whom Jesus had chosen. There were 11, since Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus and had died by suicide, after realising what he had done.
It was necessary for them to choose someone to replace Judas Iscariot and Peter took the lead. Two people were nominated. Then they prayed and cast lots. This was the way in which offices and duties in the temple were settled. The names of the candidates were written on stones which were placed in a vessel. Then the vessel was shaken and one stone fell out and the one whose name was on that stone was elected. The name Matthias means “gift from God” and he is commemorated on 14 May. His name is not found anywhere else in the New Testament.
- Casting lots as a method of election is strange to our contemporary experience. How do you respond to this method of election?
- How important is prayer in decision-making and elections in our own time?