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Let’s Hear It For Matthias!

Let’s Hear It For Matthias!

One of my New Testament heroes is Matthias. Who? You know, Acts 1. What? The substitute they brought on. Uh? Make no mistake; the followers of Jesus were at their absolute lowest, at this point.

All the indications are that they holed themselves up in some locked room or other.
Everyone was their enemy: arrest, torture, and lingering death could come with every knock on the door. These frightened former-followers were yet to become the founders of the “Christian Church”.

This was definitely not the time to be joining them; this was the time to be getting as far away from Jerusalem as possible.

Jesus had claimed to be sending his “Spirit”, the Comforter, but there was precious little evidence of it so far. In the midst of this scene of total gloom two people actually put themselves forward to fill the gap left by the traitor Judas.

But notice the requirement in the job specification: someone was needed who had been with the Lord from the beginning (verse 21) – and this is surely the key to why Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas came forward.

Having known Jesus was enough. Today, of course, some deluded people think of Jesus as just a man like ourselves; but nobody would do as the apostles were doing for just an ordinary man – they had known someone more than just a man – and certainly no one, at that stage, would choose to throw their lot in with them.

But what about Joseph? He was sure to have been disappointed not to have been chosen, it’s only human (he could perhaps be regarded as the first of all ecclesiastical rejects), and, being prepared to give all, I’ve little doubt that the Holy Spirit had something special in mind for him. What it was and how he did it, we do not need to know.

You and I were not around at the nadir of the church’s history, we’re not called to make Matthias’s choice; but rather, God has placed us in a different time in history when his church is again – at least in our Western society – at a low ebb.

We won’t be facing the possibility of a knock on the door from the agents of the authorities, probably, but otherwise we are a despised people, in many areas of life (the workplace, education/academia, “culture” and the media).

The first apostles had been promised the Holy Spirit, and we have His presence to help us, and the second coming of Christ to focus on, the long-awaited Day of the Lord. Until then, we just have to be faithful to Christ, and grit our teeth.

31/3/04