“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8Imagine the bewilderment of the disciples! Jesus refused to tell them anything about restoring the kingdom to Israel. Instead, He uttered some mysterious words about being baptized by the Spirit. Then He promptly disappeared into the clouds. “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). To add to the confusion, two men dressed in white appeared beside the disciples and asked, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Wow. That’s a lot to take in. So, what did the disciples do? They returned to Jerusalem. Makes sense. They went back to their base, and to where Jesus had directed them to go. What did they do when they got there? “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). So far, so good. The disciples obeyed Jesus by going back to Jerusalem and devoting themselves to prayer. When God calls us to wait and simply trust without knowing what’s next, prayer is always a good choice. But then, all that waiting and praying started to get old. Sound familiar? Peter—the disciple known for his impetuous spirit—wanted to do something, not just sit around and pray. What did Peter suggest? Well, you will remember that the disciples were now down to eleven after the suicide of Judas. Don’t we need twelve? thought Peter. So he convinced the others that they needed to replace Judas and fill the empty spot. They found some good men, cast some lots, and came up with Matthias as the “replacement” disciple. Now, here’s a question: When did Jesus ask the disciples to replace Judas? He didn’t. I think the reason this story of Matthias is included in Scripture is to caution us about taking things into our own hands when the Lord’s timing seems a bit slow for us. We rush ahead instead of waiting on God’s guidance and provision. You see, there actually was a replacement disciple—but it wasn’t Matthias. Interestingly, we never hear of Matthias again in the Scriptures. Who do we read about instead, throughout the entire book of Acts? Who became the famous apostle who wrote much of the rest of the New Testament? The Apostle Paul. Isn’t that interesting? The disciples used a game of luck, casting lots to choose Matthias, when God had somebody waiting in the wings, soon to be called through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we jump into a decision when the answer is soon to be presented to us. I’ve done that many times. Have you? We try to solve our own problems when the Lord has a solution, and if we just wait a little bit longer, we will discover it!
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By Brooke Holt, Adult Curriculum Specialist
I am one of those strange people who absolutely loves a good challenge. At least twice a year, I sign up for a challenge to work out six times a week, five workouts in the gym and one workout on my own. These are not easy workouts; they are specifically designed to challenge the participants physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.