In the nine days of waiting between Jesus’ Ascension and the Day of Pentecost, the disciples remained together in prayer. During this time, Peter reminded them that the defection and death of Judas had left the fellowship of the Twelve with a vacancy. The Acts of the Apostles records Peter’s proposal that “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us – one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). Two men were nominated; Joseph called Barsabbas who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. After prayer, the disciples cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias, who was then enrolled with the eleven.
Nothing further is told of Matthias after his selection. According to tradition he was an exemplary Apostle, but we know nothing more. Matthias seems an appropriate example to Christians of one whose faithful companionship with Jesus qualifies him to be a suitable witness to the resurrection, and whose service is unheralded and unsung.
The reason I chose a relatively unknown saint for this article is two-fold. Sharon recently preached about “doing things in secret”. That seems somewhat contradictory to what we, as Christians, typically believe to be our duty. We’re taught to shine forth the light and love of God and how can we do that if we don’t talk about it or don’t demonstrate to others what we’re doing because of our love of the Lord. But there is also a sense of doing what we do “secretly” or another word could be” personally”, to honor God in a way that doesn’t bring attention to us but focuses our attention on Him. When I read about Matthias, I thought how what little we know about him describes perfectly a person who is “secretly” or “personally” going through his days in quiet faith and steadfast commitment to God; which leads to the second part of my reason for choosing Matthias. Matthias is not known for having done great and glamorous things. He’s no Joan of Arc or Francis of Assisi; he was just a man who loyally and faithfully followed Christ as he was bid to do. He was there from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to the time that his Lord was taken up from his presence. He showed up, he fellowshipped with the other faithful, he heeded the messages and the teachings of Jesus. This should give us all great hope and great comfort and also be a lesson for us. Christ is not necessarily calling us to a literal battle; he’s not requiring us to perform miracles; for which I am grateful because I don’t think I’m capable of those things. What He is doing is calling us to show up (come to church), to fellowship (come to church, join or form a small group, have coffee with a friend you know who is hurting), to heed His teachings and messages (spend time with scripture). All of us are capable of that! All of us have the ability to be a Matthias, to be faithful witnesses of all that Christ has done and continues to do in our lives. So in a sense, we’re all saints! What a wonderful thought that is!
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve; Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Psalm 15 Acts 1:15-26 Philippians 3:13-21 John 15:1, 6-16