Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
And “‘Let another take his office.’
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 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.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem reflecting on all that they had experienced and anticipating all that lay ahead. Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. “John baptized with water,” He said, “but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).
The word baptize literally means “to dip” or “to drench.” In the early church, believers were baptized in rivers. They were either plunged under the water or water was poured over their heads.
Jesus said that a baptism was to be given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Baptism is a picture of the Christian life, which is all about being drenched in the Father, plunged into the Son, and soaked in the Spirit.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit permeate every part of a believer’s life. You cannot separate one from the others. The Spirit draws you to the Son. The Son brings you to the Father. The Father and the Son pour out the Spirit into your heart. No one can know the Father apart from the Son, and no one can come to the Son except by the Spirit.
Responding to a Mystery
The Bible makes clear that there is one God and that He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We cannot fathom the nature of God, and that is not surprising. I assume that fish have a very limited understanding of human nature, and in the same way, it is beyond the range of human ingenuity to figure out the nature of God.
The nature of God may be a mystery, but it is not a contradiction. It would be a contradiction if Christians believed that there is one God and that there are three Gods. But to say that there is one God who exists in three persons is not a contradiction; it is a mystery.
The way to respond to this mystery is to let it lead you to worship. You will never be able to figure out the mystery of the nature of God, but you can gaze in wonder at the unfathomable splendor of the one eternal God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Ministry of the Spirit
Jesus told His disciples that after He ascended into heaven, His presence would be with them by the Holy Spirit. The new situation offered one wonderful advantage: the presence of Jesus would now be with each of His disciples at all times and in every place. This is what Jesus was referring to when He said, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7).
Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would be “with” them and “in” them (John 14:17). These descriptions are important. The word with speaks of companionship. The Holy Spirit is a person just as you are a person. There are two distinct identities here, and we must never confuse them. A person who fails to distinguish between himself or herself and the Holy Spirit is on the road to fanaticism and deception.
More Than a Mentor
But Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit would be “in” His disciples. The Holy Spirit is more than a mentor who shows us what to do. If we are to live the Christian life, we need more than advice and encouragement. We need the presence and power of God to work within us.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit goes beyond the work of a pastor, friend, coach, or counselor who may be able to shed light on problems and suggest possible ways forward. The Holy Spirit works in us. He is able to touch the deep places of your soul, renewing your mind, redirecting the affections of the heart, molding and reshaping the will, cleansing the imagination, and healing the memory.
The Holy Spirit can create new desires within you to follow Christ, not out of a sense of duty but from a heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness. He can give you the power to live a new life for the glory of God.
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has opened the way for sinful men and women to be reconciled to God and to enter everlasting life. This is the promise of God. It has been signed by the Father and sealed by the blood of Christ. But what has been signed and sealed still needs to be delivered.
Today the Holy Spirit takes what Jesus has accomplished on the cross and applies it personally to us. He takes what Christ has made possible for all people and makes it a reality for you (John 15:26, 16:14).
If the Son of God had not come, you could not be saved. If the Spirit of God had not come, you would not be saved. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, salvation would remain a possibility for all of us, but it would never become a reality for any of us. If there were no Holy Spirit, nobody would arrive in heaven, and all that Jesus accomplished on the cross would be like a gift that was purchased but never received.
A View from the Sixth Valley
The disciples had experienced the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had sent them out in ministry. But the Holy Spirit had not yet been given (John 7:39). Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift that the Father had promised and that Jesus had spoken about.
They did not have to wait long. Just ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, and fifty days after the resurrection, there was a festival called Pentecost. The story of what happened on that day takes us to the beginning of a whole new range of mountains.
- After considering the life of Jesus, how has your view of him changed? What has stayed the same?