See and Seek God's Sovereignty
Main point summary
The apostles prayerfully submit to God's sovereign guidance as they see and seek the fulfilment of his word.
Acts 1:12-26 NIVUK
Matthias chosen to replace Judas 12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were: Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, ‘Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.’ 18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 ‘For,’ said Peter, ‘it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘ “May his place be deserted; let there be no-one to dwell in it,” and, ‘ “May another take his place of leadership.” 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’ 23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Then b they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
And when they had entered,
they went up to c the upper room, where they were staying, d Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon e the Zealot and Judas the son of James.
All these f with one accord g were devoting themselves to prayer,
together with h the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and i his brothers. 1
In those days Peter stood up among j the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said,
“Brothers, k 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.
For m he was numbered among us
and was allotted his share in n this ministry.”
(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness,
and falling headlong 1
he burst open in the middle
and all his bowels gushed out.
And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
so that the field was called q in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
“For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
r “‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
and s “‘Let another take his office.’
So one of the men
who have accompanied us during t all the time that the Lord Jesus u went in and out among us,
v beginning from the baptism of John until the day when w he was taken up from us—
one of these men must become with us x a witness to his resurrection.”
And they put forward two,
Joseph called y Barsabbas, who was also called z Justus,
and a Matthias.
And b they prayed and said,
“You, Lord, c 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.
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See and Seek God's Sovereignty
As the apostles prepare for Pentecost (Acts 2) having just witnessed the ascension and been commissioned as witnesses (Acts 1:1-11), they wait in Jerusalem with full assurance that God has absolute control over the mission they are about to embark on. The prayers demonstrate their trust. The casting of lots is an expression of confidence, not chance (see Proverb 16:33) Peter speaks of how Scripture had to be fulfilled (εδει, v16) and how Scripture must be fulfilled (δει, v21). The task of witnessing will not be a smooth ride, as the quoted Psalms make clear (Psalms 69 and 109 speak of the opponents and enemies of the King, and yet do so with confidence of God's care and help). Acts 4:1-3 confirm that mission will face opposition. Acts 4:4 confirms that God is in control . For us, this passage exhorts us to see God's sovereignty (rather than assuming everything is wildly out of control) and seek God's sovereignty (following the apostles pattern of entrusting all of their plans to his will).