“So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 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. And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” - Acts 1:21-26
The disciples knew they were to replace Judas with a man who had faithfully followed Jesus throughout his ministry, one who had been with them from his baptism through his ascension. Having spent three years with Jesus, the disciples knew that he had already chosen a replacement for his betrayer. And so, instead of jumping ahead with a decision, they sought the counsel of the Lord. They had learned that life went better when they aligned their plans with the will of Jesus.
In seeking guidance, they offered up the prayer, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all” (verse 24). The disciples trusted that, just as Jesus had known them perfectly while he lived among them, he knew them perfectly now that he was back with his Father. Their experience of Jesus was suddenly very different than it had been just a week earlier, but they believed that their friend and Savior still saw them, knew them, and loved them. They trusted that relationship and, as a result, the guidance and provision of the Lord.
Casting lots to determine the will of the Lord seems a bit strange to us today, but there was a deep significance to this particular act. As Jesus hung on the cross, the Roman soldiers threw dice to see who would get his clothing. It was a dismissal of his life and death as irrelevant, an attempt to humiliate him further as he sacrificed himself for all of us. The soldiers believed Jesus’ death was the end; the disciples knew it was only the beginning. They cast lots as an act of submission, rather than cruelty. They were expressing their desire for the Lord’s guidance, as well as their trust in his decisions. He would choose the twelfth disciple, not them. They chose to seek, trust, and obey God’s will.
Today, we have an even greater revelation of God’s plan than the disciples did in Acts 1. They were still waiting to receive the Holy Spirit that already dwells within us. Like them, we are seen, known, and loved by God. He knows our thoughts, and he cares about those things that hurt us, delight us, and concern us. The Lord is a perfect Father who longs to guide and empower us, to provide what we need for our journey through this life.
May we, like the disciples, trust in his perfect knowledge and love, and then whole-heartedly seek to know and obey his will.
Reflect & Respond:
When you think of the Lord knowing your every thought, how do you feel? How would the Lord like to comfort you through his perfect knowledge and his perfect love today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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