The Church is Born – Day 3

Acts 1:12-26

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
    and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 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.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Depending on the sport I was playing I’ve been picked first and last. I know the surge of confidence that comes from being the first kid out of the group, chosen because of physical prowess in a particular game, or because the kid doing the picking was a friend of mine. But I’ve been picked last as well, and everywhere in between. After the first few picks there is usually a talent drop off, suddenly the difference between available players is so low that it doesn’t really matter who is chosen.

It would be easy to imagine Matthias and Joseph as the “last picks.” They were a part of the team, but they weren’t Jesus’ first choice. And so now, after the Master is gone to heaven they finally get noticed because it would seem that anybody is better than Judas.

Have you ever felt like God loves you because He has to?

Ever wondered if God was getting together an all-star team for the glory of the kingdom that you’d be a late pick at best, and maybe even the last kid taken before kick-off?

If we’re honest we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt like last picks, left-overs and second-chancers. It’s part of the brokenness of the world that we live in. Not only do we actually fail to get it right all the time, but we also struggle to feel like we belong even after God has forgiven us. We’re either not that good at understanding the Bible, or we can’t seem to pray for more than a few minutes, we can’t sing like those folks we see online at the big churches, or whatever else the enemy whispers into our ears to rob us of the joy of God’s redemption.

But look closely at the request Peter and the group prays in Acts 1:24 says, “Lord…show which one of these two You have chosen.”

Wait. Who chose?

Wasn’t this the disciples trying to replace a fallen companion?

Not in their minds it wasn’t. As their prayer indicates, they believed that Joseph and Matthias weren’t being picked by Peter, they had both already been picked by God.

Just because the world hasn’t picked you yet, and just because you haven’t become everything that you long to be, that doesn’t mean that you haven’t been chosen.

Just because the world hasn’t picked you yet, and just because you haven’t become everything that you long to be, that doesn’t mean that you haven’t been chosen.

The Apostle Paul, another disciple of Jesus who fully understood being picked late, would write these words to the Ephesian church – and maybe they can help us too:

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:4, NLT)

Do you hear that?

Along with Joseph and Matthias, you were chosen before you knew it. People didn’t choose you first, God did. And if Paul’s words are true, it means that God chose everyone at the same time. You were chosen at the same time as Peter, Paul, Matthias, Martin Luther, Billy Graham and anyone else you think might be better than you!

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