Saturday after the Ascension of our Lord
Scripture: Acts 1:12-26 (NKJV)
1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 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. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
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, 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.”
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.)
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.’
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.”
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.” 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
As the Church gathered in Jerusalem, we see the unity in the faith which the Lord had established among His saints: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” They now believed aright concerning the Christ, and thus received one another as brethren in the Lord.
But there was something missing from the Church, on account of the apostasy of Judas. It was thus that St. Peter called the attention of the Church to the need, that another take his “office,” or as it was rendered in the KJV, his “bishopric,” for the reference is to his episkopen; that is, Judas’ office as an ‘overseer’ of the flock. Peter identifies the criteria for determining another man who might be called to such a role of ‘overseer,’ but neither the rest of the apostles nor the Church as a whole could choose an apostle. It was thus that they cast lots to see what the will of the Lord was in this circumstance, and the lot fell to St. Matthias.
The days of the apostolate are now concluded, but the divinely established office of the holy ministry, which is charged by the Lord with teaching the prophetic and apostolic doctrine, remains. And the Lord of the Church calls men to this holy office so that the needs of His saints would be met through the means which the Lord has established: His holy Word and Sacraments.
We pray: O God, from whom all good things do come, grant to us, Thy humble servants, that by Thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be right and by Thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.