Sunday, August 25, 2013

Whatever Happened to Matthias? by Chris White

Matthias was selected as a replacement for Judas Iscariot following his betrayal of Jesus and subsequent suicide.  Psalms 109:8 was used to justify this decision as it reads “let another man take his office.”  This Psalm can be read as describing the betrayal of the Messiah without a whole lot imagination and this is the directive given concerning the betrayer.  The Apostles sought someone who had followed Jesus from his baptism until the resurrection so that they would be a full witness to the Lord’s life as they were.  The ancient Jewish custom of drawing lots was used and Matthias was selected to join the other 11 Apostles.  It is interesting to note that when James was martyred some years later there was not a selection made to replace him.  This is because Judas lost his apostleship and there was the sense that 12 is the appropriate number corresponding to the 12 tribes of Israel.  Though James was dead, he had not lost his position among the apostles since he was faithful to the end and because he lives eternally.   Some have suggested that the Church acted in haste in their selection of Matthias giving him the spot that should have been given to the Apostle Paul.  This makes little sense when you consider the criteria the remaining apostles used in selecting Matthias.  Paul was a witness to the resurrection but not to the life and ministry of Jesus.  He was an apostle “born out of time” but a special instrument of the Lord with his own mission.  After Acts chapter 1 we read nothing of Matthias ever again in scripture.  He is associated with the churches Damascus and Armenia but no strong traditions exist beyond this.

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