[Peter said,] “It is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out 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.” … Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. ~ Acts 1:21-22,26
The number twelve is significant in the Bible. That number is closely associated with God’s people. In the Old Testament there were twelve tribes of Israel. In the New Testament there were twelve apostles.
Well, there were twelve apostles. After he betrayed Jesus, Judas was seized with remorse and took his own life. Then there were only eleven apostles, and God does not leave things incomplete. So after Jesus ascended into heaven, Peter addressed the believers and told them that it was time to replace Judas.
The requirement for this new apostle was that he had to be with the other apostles together with Jesus from the beginning of Lord’s ministry to his ascension. Two men were proposed to fill the position: Joseph and Matthias. The believers prayed, cast lots, and Matthias was chosen.
We do not know what happened to Matthias after this. He is never mentioned again. So why does the Bible make such a big deal of his selection? Because the big deal is not Matthias, it is what Matthias was called to do.
Peter said that Matthias “must become a witness with us of his [Jesus’] resurrection.” The big deal about Matthias is that he was an eyewitness. He could tell people, “This is not made up! I was there. I walked and talked with Jesus before he was crucified, and I saw him alive again three days after he died.”
Here is the truth about Christianity. It is not made up. We did not see Jesus’ death and resurrection or hear his teaching with our own ears. But Matthias and the other apostles did, and their eyewitness testimony is recorded in the Bible.
In other words, Scripture tells the facts of our salvation: Jesus saved us by giving his perfect life and dying the death that we deserve. But now Christ is risen. It’s true; we can count on it for eternal life!
Lord Jesus, thank you for providing us with witnesses of your resurrection and for preserving their testimony in the Bible. Most of all, thank you for giving us eternal life in the risen Christ. Amen.