What were the qualifications for choosing a replacement for Judas?

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The need for the replacement of Judas

After the death of Judas, the disciples thought “it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection” (Acts 1:22, 23).

The qualifications

Peter proposed certain qualifications in the disciple that was chosen to replace Judas. This disciple needed to have been with Jesus as an eye witness during the three years of Jesus’ ministry. And Jesus’ life, ministry and death needed to have left a great impact on his life.

On repeated occasions, the disciples gave witness of their personal observations of Jesus, using such words as, “We are witnesses of everything Jesus did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen” (Acts 10:39–40).

Casting of lots

The prayer group nominated two who met these qualifications to replace Judas, Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. Then, Peter proposed to cast lots, thus giving God freedom to make His choice clear. As far as the record shows, Peter’s proposal to use the lot was accepted without challenge or discussion. It seems that after Pentecost the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit made the casting of lots not required (Acts 5:3; 11:15–18; 13:2; 16:6–9). The lot fell to Matthias, and he became the twelfth apostle (Acts 1:26).

The chosen disciple

Matthias or Mattathias, which is from the Hebrew Mattithyah, means a “gift of Jehovah.” He is not mentioned again, apart from v. 26, and there is no reliable tradition concerning his ministry. Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History i. 12. 3; iii. 25. 6) includes him among the Seventy, and mentions an apocryphal gospel attributed to him. He is said to have been martyred in Ethiopia or in Judea.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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