Matthias was the disciple chosen by the remaining 11 apostles to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle, following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and suicide. His calling as an apostle is unique in that his appointment was not made personally by Jesus, who had already ascended to Heaven, and, it was made before the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the early church.
– The First Church Business Meeting? (Acts 1:16-26)
I. Regarding the Defection of Judas (v.16-20)
II. Regarding the Election of Matthias (v.21-26)
* The Conditions (v.21,22)
* The Candidates (v.23)
In the days following the Ascension of Jesus, the gathered disciples, who numbered about 120, nominated 2 men to replace Judas: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) & Matthias.
* The Counsel (v.24,25)
They prayed, then they cast lots.
* The Choice (v.26)
The lots fell on Matthias; so he was added to the apostles. The apostles used God-given wisdom to narrow the choices to 2 good men, then handed the final decision over to God.
No further information about Matthias is given in the New Testament.
– According to Nicephorus, Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Aethopia (modern-day Georgia [the country, not the state]), and was stoned to death there.
– The Synopsis of Dorotheus says this: “Matthias preached the gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia, where the sea harbor of Hyssus is, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun.”
– An extant Coptic Acts of Andrew and Matthias, places his activity similarly in “the city of the cannibals” in Aethiopia.
– Another tradition maintains Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded.
– According to Hippolytus of Rome, Matthias died of old age in Jerusalem… ca. 80AD.
So, from what little we know of Matthias, we learn these truths:
1) He had been a faithful, long-term follower of Jesus.
2) Being chosen to serve does not guarantee a position of prominence.
3) Whoever we are – and whatever we accomplish – is all due to the grace of God and for the glory of God.
Are you being faithful today in following Christ?
Are you willing to serve in anonymity and do things others might never know about? If you are rewarded with more, it will be because you have been faithful with less.
You can read the story of Matthias in Acts 1:21-26.