Another Apostle

Posted: May 6, 2018 in Acts, Uncategorized

Acts 1:12-26, “Another Apostle”

Fans and alumni of Texas A&M University are more than familiar with the concept of the 12th Man. Aggies know the history of E. King Gill, who stood on the sidelines, dressed out & ready to play, as the small A&M football team in 1922 battled with multiple injuries – only to pull an outstanding upset and victory. But Gill had remained ready to go at a moment’s notice, vigilant with purpose. In the years that followed, the entire student body became the proverbial “12th Man,” all them now, ready to play if the need arose.

With the deepest respect to our Aggie friends, the original 12th Man was not found in 1922 with the football team of A&M, but around 33AD among the disciples of Jesus. It was then that a man was found to fill the vacancy left by a traitor (Judas Iscariot), and it was the first time after the ascension of Jesus that the church saw how God led them and would continue to lead them. Jesus had physically departed, but He had not left them alone. As He had said to them in Galilee, with His Great Commission, He would be with them always, “even to the end of the age.”

Of course, those were the events that had led up to this moment. Just barely a month earlier (40+ days), Jesus had been rejected by the Jewish nation, brutally crucified by the Roman Gentiles, and buried in a rich man’s tomb. Three days later He rose, and in the weeks that followed, Jesus had provided abundant proofs that He was alive. He physically appeared to many, ate food in the presence of witnesses, continued to teach the Scriptures to His disciples, and more. In the end, Jesus commanded the disciples two things for the immediate time: to wait & to witness. They were to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Who (being the 3rd Person of the Godhead) would empower them to be Jesus’ witnesses to the world. They would testify of the Risen Lord Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. With this final command, Jesus demonstrated one more miracle: His physical ascension straight up into the clouds (a visible manifestation of the glory of God). Staring into the sky, lost in wonder, the disciples were spurred back into the present by two angels who told them although Jesus had gone up miraculously, He would return in the same way. (We weren’t there to see Jesus rise, but we will be with Him at His return…and it will be glorious!)

So what now? Now the disciples needed to be obedient to the first part of their command: they needed to wait. But something else needed to happen before they could be used by God to preach the gospel to the nation of Israel: they needed their numbers restored. When Jesus originally chose 12 men to be His apostles, He hadn’t chosen a random figure; this was a number with a purpose. Just as there are 12 tribes of Israel, there were 12 apostles – men meant to provide leadership to the church and to sit in judgment over the 12 Hebrew tribes. On the night of the Last Supper (ironically after Jesus had just provided an incredible demonstration of His own humility), the disciples broke out into an argument about who would be greatest in the kingdom. Chastising them, Jesus instructed all of them to be humble, but also told them of the glories to come: Luke 22:28–30, “(28) But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. (29) And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, (30) that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” God has a purpose for 12 apostles, so 12 were needed.

Peter, James, John, and the others knew this, but now they faced a problem: there were only 11. What to do? Answer: pray, and trust God to provide for His church. And He did! Jesus always provides for His church, because it is (we are) His church. He is the One to build it, and we can trust that He is the One to keep it. 

Acts 1:12–26

  • The apostles pray (12-14)

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.

  1. Jesus’ ascent into the clouds of glory had been just outside Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, which was not only the place of His ascension, but will also be the place of His return. It is extremely close to the city, being what Luke described as a “Sabbath day’s journey.” This was a common measurement used by the rabbis to describe the acceptable maximum distance that could be travelled by a Jew on a Sabbath day without it falling into the category of “work.” Long hikes can be labor-intensive, and that was to be guarded against on the day of rest. Over time, the rabbis came up with a distance of 2000 cubits (estimates range from one-half to two-thirds a mile), which was the estimated distance that someone from the furthest end of the Hebrews camping in the wilderness would need to travel in order to arrive at the Tabernacle for worship.
  2. Last week, we observed that the Book of Acts can be thought of as a sequel (or part 2) of Luke’s gospel, picking up the account of Jesus’ works among His church where the gospel account left off. With that in mind, there might appear to be a bit of contradiction with the end of the previous book. According to Luke 24:50, it would seem that Jesus had ascended from Bethany, which is slightly further away from Jerusalem & more than a Sabbath’s day journey, being a little less than 2 miles away. Upon closer inspection, there is no contradiction at all. Luke 24:50 says that Jesus “led them out as far as Bethany,” being an approximation of distance, and on the way to Bethany, as the Mount of Olives plainly is. Considering that Luke is the author of both accounts, it would be highly unlikely for him to so easily contradict himself, and he doesn’t do it here or anywhere else. (Always give the Bible the benefit of the doubt! A little research usually clears up any potential problem.)

13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.

  1. This is the same list of apostles as seen in the gospel accounts, with the obvious exception of Judas Iscariot now lacking. “Simon the Zealot” is known elsewhere as “Simon the Canaanite,” and “Judas the son of James” is the same as Thaddaeus/Labbaeus. The various lists generally demonstrate a different order of names (although Peter is always first), but it doesn’t usually mean much. Sometimes brothers were listed together – other times not. Peter, James, John, and Andrew were part of Jesus’ inner-circle of friends, but all were equally apostles with one another, being specifically chosen by Jesus to testify of Him and His teaching to the world.
  2. The 11 were in “the upper room,” potentially the same upper room in which they had celebrated the Passover last supper with Jesus (Lk 22:12). Yet they weren’t alone.

14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

  1. Who else was there? At the very least, the “women” who had followed Jesus throughout His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome – Mk 16:1), as well as Jesus’ earthly family: His mother Mary, and “His brothers” (James, Joses, Judas/Jude, and Simon – Mk 6:3).
  2. The inclusion of Jesus’ brothers (half-brothers, technically) is very significant. During Jesus’ ministry, they didn’t believe Him – in fact, they seemed to mock Him. John 7:2–5, “(2) Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. (3) His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. (4) For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” (5) For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” No other mention of His brothers is made in the gospels, apart from one time when they and their mother attempt to pull Jesus away from one of His earlier teachings, regarding the unpardonable sin (Mk 3:31-35). Although Mary seemed to have believed the word of God regarding Jesus, her other children did not. Why would they? You might respect your older siblings, but it’s highly doubtful you would believe any of their claims to deity! … By the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, there’s no account that any of His brothers believed, yet all of a sudden they are in the upper room with the other apostles and they had come to faith. What happened? The resurrection! Remember that there were many infallible proofs that Jesus had risen from the dead (Acts 1:3). One of these proofs was a personal appearance by Jesus to His brother James (1 Cor 15:7). Once they were convinced that Jesus was truly alive, they had all the proof they needed that their Brother’s claim was true.
  3. So that’s who was gathered. What were they all doing? They were united in prayer. That the gathered group of disciples would be praying, seeking the will of God is not surprising. What makes this prayer different than much prayer among the church today is the fact that (1) it was continual, (2) it was done in “one accord.” Luke uses the word ὁμοθυμαδόν (homothumadon), and it is an important descriptor in the Book of Acts, being almost entirely exclusive to Acts (apart from one use by Paul in Romans 15:6). As a compound word (“homos,” same + “thumos,” anger/passion) it speaks of unanimity. One dictionary describes it as the “inner unity of a group faced by a common duty or danger,” (NIDNTT). When soldiers are in the heat of battle, they are trained to come together as a group. There’s no thought to other hobbies or pet-projects; their singular focus is to stay alive and defeat their enemy. That’s ὁμοθυμαδόν. That’s how the original group of disciples prayed.
    1. What does the church still need today? ὁμοθυμαδόν. We need unity, especially in terms of prayer! How often do we come together with our own individual agendas? How often do we seek to show others how “spiritual” we are? It’s no wonder that the prayers of the church sometimes seem powerless; we often pray selfishly for our own ends, rather than united humbly seeking the will of God.
  • The apostles’ lack (15-20)

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said,

  1. 19 individuals were mentioned between the apostles, the women, and Jesus’ family (enough to make a small upper room crowded all by itself!). Even so, they weren’t alone. All totaled, there were 120 people who believed (“disciples”) in Jerusalem. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean there were only 120 Christians, period. Paul wrote that there was one time when the Resurrected Jesus appeared to over 500 people at once (1 Cor 15:6). It’s possible that post-resurrection appearance was in Galilee, as Jesus had given instructions to the apostles to meet Him there. If so, that would explain the difference between the numbers. The Galileans would have remained at home, while the others (plus the 11 apostles, Jesus’ family, etc.,) returned to Jerusalem.
  2. Among the 120, Peter stood up, taking the lead among the group. Peter was a leader among the church, but he wasn’t the leader among the church at Jerusalem. That role seems to have been filled by James, the brother of Jesus (Acts 15). That said, Peter did have an important role among the church, and the Book of Acts is going to follow his ministry through Chapter 12 (or so).

16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”

  1. Jesus’ betrayal by Judas Iscariot was prophesied. It was written in the Scripture, and the “Scripture had to be fulfilled.” It was necessary. How so? It was necessary on two levels: (1) Prophetic Scriptures have to be fulfilled, if they are to be valid Scripture. The Scriptures foretold Jesus’ betrayal, and Jesus Himself prophesied of Judas’ betrayal on several occasions. (Lk 9:44, 22:21) If Jesus is a prophet to be believed, then every prophecy He stated must come true. False prophecies = false prophets, and Jesus is no false prophet! (2) Without a betrayal, there is no arrest by the Jews. Without an arrest, there is no cross. Without a cross, there is no salvation. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was an essential part of the plan of God for our salvation. Although the betrayal was an awful sin & crime against God, freely chosen by the will of Judas Iscariot, it was absolutely necessary that Judas chose to do so. Without it, we would not be saved. (Such is the sovereignty of God, that His plan is fulfilled even in our sinful free choices!)
  2. That said, just because Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus didn’t mean that Judas Iscariot did not have a valid ministry. He too, had been chosen by Jesus, and was a full-fledged apostle. As Peter said, “he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” Judas had been named by Jesus at the same time Jesus named everyone else among the 12. Out of all the people who followed Jesus from place to place, Jesus specifically & purposefully chose Judas Iscariot to be one of His named apostles, all the while knowing what Judas would do to Him. For three years, Judas listened to every message, witnessed every miracle, and even preached the good news of the gospel during the various short-term mission trips when Jesus sent out the apostles. In all likelihood, Judas even performed miracles in the name of Jesus, as all of the disciples rejoiced that they were able to cast out demons in His name, etc. (Lk 10:17) By no means was Judas Iscariot a lesser apostle; he was a true apostle, even if he was a false convert. That’s what Peter notices as a problem. Previously, they had 12 true, valid apostles. Now they lack one. This is what needed to be addressed.
  3. As an aside…don’t miss how Peter describes the process of the inspiration of Scripture. “The Holy Spirit spoke…by the mouth of David.” The words of the Bible are the words of God the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit was not the One to write them down. The Spirit spoke, using other men to speak under His direction. When Paul later writes to Timothy about all Scripture being inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16), the word “inspired” literally is “God-breathed.” God the Spirit breathed it out into the authors, who wrote according to their own personalities and styles, but wrote precisely the words intended by God for them to write. Peter put it another way in one of his own letters: 2 Peter 1:20–21, “(20) knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, (21) for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” When we read the words of the Bible, we read the words of God. (Value it as such!)
  4. Peter is about to reference the Scripture that David wrote, being inspired by the Spirit, but before he does, Luke provides a bit of follow-up information about Judas.

18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)

  1. Gory, but true. Judas went to a terrible fate, and even his body ended up bloody and defiled. Some have noticed some differences between Luke’s account here & Matthew’s account where he writes how Judas threw the thirty coins of silver back into the temple & went out to hang himself (Mt 27:3-8). These are differences, but not discrepancies. Each gospel writer simply points out different details. Judas did throw back the coins, but the priests were not allowed to receive the money back into the temple treasury because it was blood money. Instead they bought a field belonging to a potter, with the people eventually calling it the “Field of Blood,” (Mt 27:7-8). Thus Luke could write that Judas “purchased” it, albeit indirectly. Apparently, that was the field in which he chose to hang himself, and his unburied body rotted in the sun.
  2. The most tragic aspect about this isn’t the gory end, but the fact that the person who most needed the forgiveness of Jesus apparently never received it. This was a man who died in utter despair, and the guilt from his heinous sin consumed him. 

20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’

  1. Peter references two psalms: Psalm 69:24–25, “(24) Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. (25) Let their dwelling place be desolate; Let no one live in their tents.”Psalm 109:7–9, “(7) When he is judged, let him be found guilty, And let his prayer become sin. (8) Let his days be few, And let another take his office. (9) Let his children be fatherless, And his wife a widow.” Both are royal imprecatory psalms, meaning that they are psalms of David written as prayers to God against his enemies. They aren’t exactly models for us today – we are to pray for those who persecute us, but we’re to pray God’s mercy upon them that they might come to faith in Christ. But David’s imprecatory prayers were honest, and we’re always to pray honestly to God. More than that, David’s prayers were prophetic, looking forward to the betrayal of the Messiah, and the justice of the wrath of God being poured out on the wicked traitor. Although at first glance, the portions quoted by Peter might seem to contradict (let his place be desolate vs. let him be replaced), the psalms actually speak of exactly the same thing: the judgment of God upon the wicked. Bottom line: Judas was forever condemned, which required that his apostolic office be replaced.
  2. Yet how does one go about choosing an apostle, when originally it was Jesus who chose all of them? That’s what Peter goes on to suggest. 
  • The apostles restored (21-26)

21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

  1. The apostles had a very important qualification: among other things, they had each been present during all of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Although there was a larger group of disciples that had followed Jesus from place to place, not all had been with Jesus during the entire three years of ministry. How much of the ministry had they witnessed? The entire thing. The apostles had been there from baptism to ascension (from A-Z). Thus, anyone else chosen as a replacement for Judas Iscariot would be required to have done the same thing. They had to have witnessed the same miracles, heard the same testimony of God the Father regarding His Son (baptism), listened to the same teachings, etc. Anyone among the apostolic group had to be able to testify about Jesus in the same way as any of the others. As might be expected, that would have considerably narrowed the list of possibilities.
    1. FYI: This is why Paul (or Barnabas, or anyone else) cannot be viewed as the same sort of apostle as the 12. It is also why Paul could not have been chosen as a replacement for Judas Iscariot. Paul had not been present during Jesus’ earthly ministry. He was an eyewitness of Jesus’ resurrection, and had received personal instruction from Jesus as had the other 12 apostles – but he could not fit the qualifications required for this specific apostolic office.
  2. Question: If this potential person was present with Jesus and the others the whole time, he would already be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. Why then, does Peter say that this person “must become a witness with us of His resurrection”? Remember that Peter is speaking of an apostolic office. This man would have been present among the apostles, but (to this point) he had not been named by Jesus as one of His apostles. That’s why Peter speaks in terms that it hasn’t yet happened. This person would “become a witness,” and it was necessary that he become a formal witness. In a sense, it was like ordination. When someone is ordained to ministry, it isn’t the church all of a sudden imparting to a man a pastoral gift; it is the church recognizing the pastoral call and gifting upon the man. It’s a public recognition of what God has already done. This was what needed to happen among the apostles.
    1. Keep in mind that the word “apostle” basically refers to someone who is sent-out. An apostle is a messenger / an ambassador. In a sense, all of the 120 in the room with Peter were ambassadors of Jesus. They had all been commissioned by Christ to go preach the gospel to the world. But they weren’t all part of the 12. The 12 apostles were part of an official, limited office of the church. This is no different today. We are all witnesses; but we aren’t that kind of witness. We too, have an apostolic ministry in the fact that we have been sent out by Jesus – but we do not carry with us the apostolic authority as did the 12 who laid the foundation for the church, with Jesus being the chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20).
  3. Implicit in this, by the way, is the fact that an apostle of Jesus had to be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. Not only was the man to have been there from baptism-to-ascension, but he could not “become a witness” of Jesus’ resurrection, if he had not already been an eyewitness of the resurrection. That was a non-negotiable qualification for the apostolic ministry.
    1. In fact, it’s a non-negotiable for Christianity in general. Obviously we do not have the experience of laying our physical eyes upon the physical person of Jesus (Him being ascended into heaven), but we cannot be witnesses of Jesus without being witnesses of His resurrection. One is dependent upon the other. Those who do not believe that Jesus is literally risen from the dead have no claim to the label of “Christian,” despite whatever their church membership might be. If you do not firmly believe and know that the Lord Jesus is truly alive, then you are not a Christian, period. We are not made “Christian” through church memberships, seminary degrees, charitable giving, good behavior, or anything else. We are Christians because we believe in the Risen Christ. We know the Risen Christ. We have interacted with the Risen Christ when we asked Him to forgive us our sins and make us the children of God. If we have not done that, then we cannot be witnesses of His resurrection, and we cannot be His witnesses at all.
  4. Among the 120, there were surely several from which they could choose. Having spent time in unified prayer being led by God, they were able to come up with a short-list of two names, but they rightly understood that this was a decision they could not make themselves. Just as Jesus had chosen the original 12, God would have to choose Judas’ replacement. 

23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”

  1. How did they pray? First, they trusted in the all-knowing God. As Peter said, God is the one “who knows the hearts of all.” The word used by Luke is interesting, because it is literally “heart-knower,” and is absent from the secular literature. It’s possible that Luke invented it, and it was picked up by other Christian writers. If the heart is the seat of our emotions, often being interchangeable with “mind” or “soul,” then Luke is using a word that basically says that God knows us best. God knows our motives, emotions, thoughts, ideas, hopes, inner-most beings – He knows our hearts. God knows the things about us that are unknown to all, even sometimes being unknown to ourselves.
    1. There are days we cannot trust ourselves. We experience a roller-coaster of emotions, and go through things when we don’t know which way is up. How should we pray? To our God, the heart-knower. God knows what is in our hearts, and we can pray to Him when we have no clue how to pray. In fact, that’s one of the gifts that God gives to His children. We may not know how to pray for ourselves, but God does. Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” We pray to God the Father through the name and work of the Lord Jesus, being empowered and led by the Holy Spirit…and in the process, God the Holy Spirit is Himself praying for us the whole time, ensuring that we are praying according to the Father’s will.
    2. Not only is it an amazing gift that God is our heart-knower, but it might also be a sobering thought. We are not able to pull a fast-one on God. We might be able to put on a public face and lie to everyone else, but it is impossible to lie to God without Him knowing it. Contextually, Peter and the others prayed that God would guard them from another false convert. Judas Iscariot had been named & numbered by Jesus, but although Jesus knew his heart, none of the other apostles did. They were trusting God to choose someone whose heart was pure, and that was something only God Himself could know. He knows it about us, too. He knows when we’re being sincere & when we’re pretending religion. He knows our hearts. 
  2. Second, they prayed to the God who already had a plan in motion. God’s choice had already been made: “You have chosen.” Again, the actions and prayers of the apostles here were simply to publicly acknowledge and confirm the thing already done by God (like ordination). The replacement for Judas was already named in the mind of the Lord – what the apostles were praying was that God would reveal His mind to them.
  3. Third, the apostles prayed to God knowing that this was limited. Judas had fallen, and gone to not only physical but eternal destruction. But outside of Judas Iscariot, no other apostle was replaced. Obviously, at this time there was no need – but it’s interesting to note that when James the brother of John dies during the persecution of Herod (Acts 12:2), no similar attempt is made to replace him. Judas had left a vacancy in his office, but once it was filled, it was forever filled. Remember that Jesus had said that the apostles would sit on thrones in heaven, judging the tribes of Israel. These men have a future responsibility in the Millennial Kingdom, and it’s not something that can be passed to anyone else today.
    1. This tells us that there is no such thing as apostolic successors. There is no papal lineage. The only authority passed by the apostles from generation to generation is that of the Scriptures and the gospel itself. Any other claim to apostolic authority died with the 12 in the first century.

26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

  1. Joseph Barsabas Justus may have had the longer name, but Matthias was the Lord’s choice. Lots were thrown (like dice, along the lines of Yahtzee), and his was the name that won the throw. Matthias joined the ranks of the apostles, being “numbered with the eleven,” not having any kind of “lesser” place among them.
    1. Aside from this one mention, we know nothing about Matthias. His name is absent from Scripture, and only legend exists of his potential ministry in Jerusalem and stoning to death by the Jews. But his relative anonymity doesn’t mean he was less valuable. The fact is that we don’t know much about the majority of Jesus’ apostles, at least according to Scripture. A person doesn’t have to be famous, in order to have been used by God!
  2. Regarding the lots, was this dumb luck? No – it was the Lord’s choice. And it had precedence in the Bible. The original priests were commanded to carry the mysterious Urim and Thummim (Exo 28:30). What these were exactly is unsaid in Scripture, but they seem to have functioned somewhat like dice. On a yes/no question, the priest would pray and the Lord could direct him to grab either one or the other in order to determine the Lord’s answer.
    1. Are we supposed to do this today? No…no command in the New Testament is ever given us to cast lots in making decisions. Likewise, we’re also not commanded to choose replacement apostles! This was a unique time in the history of the church, and things were about to drastically change with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Today, we pray for wisdom, pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit, and make the best choices possible as led by God. When we lack wisdom, we have the full invitation to pray to God for it, and He will grant it in abundance. He will give it liberally, and without reproach (Jas 1:5).

Conclusion:

In all of this, please do not miss the timing. When did this take place? In-between the ascension of Jesus, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. During that short interval of time (10 days), had God left the church alone? Not in the slightest. Even here, God will still leading His people, guiding them, ensuring that they were prepared for the things they would face, fully prepared for the future.

Our God never leaves us alone! He never forsakes us, never abandons us. As the church of Jesus Christ, He gives us everything we need to serve Him, and to witness of Jesus to the world. There is not a thing that we lack in the Lord our God.

Do you trust God to guide you? Even during times that it seems as if He is not present, He is. Do you trust Him in those times, too? He will never abandon His church. He never has; He never will.

There’s one unmentioned aspect of all this. Matthias may have been chosen as the 12th apostle, but Joseph Barsabas Justus was ready to go. He was fully prepared in his heart to be used by God for the apostolic ministry, standing ready as the proverbial “12th Man.” How about you? Are you ready to go at a moment’s notice? If God were to commission you for a ministry right now, would you be ready to go? Or is there sin in your life that needs to be confessed – unfinished business that might hold you back? 

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