“Therefore 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).
Peter proposed certain qualifications in the disciple that was chosen to replace Judas. That disciple needed to have been with Jesus as an eye witness during the three years of Jesus’ ministry. 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).
The prayer group nominated two who met these qualifications, Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. Then the disciples cast lots, thus giving God freedom to make His choice clear. The lot fell to Matthias, and he became the twelfth apostle (Acts 1:26).
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 career. 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,
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