Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Twelfth Disciple


clip_image004For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (Acts 1:20)

After Judas betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver he went out and falling head first, his body split open and his intestines spilled out. He was buried in the field that Judas purchased and it was called the field of blood. This left only eleven disciples and Peter wanted to choose a replacement to fulfill the position of the 12th disciple. So two men were picked, to be voted on and after they cast lots Matthias was selected to be the 12th disciple. There is not anything else said about Matthias or his ministry in the rest of the New Testament.

Did you ever stop to think why he was not heard of any more in the Bible? I always wondered about that. We know that he was one of the seventy and had to be a good man, saved, and full of the Holy Ghost, because he would have never been considered for the position by the other disciples. He was for all intent and purposes a follower and believer in the Lord.. But my question is this: Was Matthias ready the man that the Lord wanted for Judas’ replacement. I say this because he is never again mentioned in the Bible. He never wrote any books of the Bible, We know nothing about his ministry, how he died, or anything else about him. The scriptures are silent.

After reading several commentaries and book about the twelve disciples I found myself asking this question: Should the 12th disciple have been Paul. I say this because not long after Matthias was picked and after the Holy Ghost was given at Pentecost, the Lord selected and named Paul to be an apostle. It was not man’s choice but God’s choice. Man had nothing to do with it. He was not picked by lots, but God spoke. In his commentary, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Dr. Oliver B. Green, who was a well-known Baptist radio evangelist, said this; “When God named Paul to be an apostle, it was not man’s choice, but it was an outright call, commission, and ordination by Christ. Paul was ordained of God for the office of apostleship. Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, …………….(Galatians 1-1)

There is nowhere in the scriptures where Peter, the disciples, or the people that were waiting there for the promise were told by Jesus to pick another disciple. What they were told was this: To “WAIT” for the Promise. In other words they were to do nothing until something happened. But like it is in some churches today the flesh took over and two men were picked for lots to be cast so that one of the two could be chosen to be the twelfth disciple. I know that some of you are going to say they asked the Lord to pick which one of the two he wanted and you are right, they did. But just because the lot fell to Matthias does not mean that the Lord picked him. Matthias and Justus were handpicked by the disciples and the other people that were there and it did not really make any difference to them which one of the two the Lord would have picked or the lots feel on. Their choices were already made. Was there really a choice for the Lord? Why could not they have asked the Lord to pick from all the people that were there or ask Him to send who He wanted? No it was a fleshly choice made by the people, and not a choice made by the Spirit. It is the same way today in a lot of churches and denominations. The pastor has been picked, for the office, before he is ever voted on. This is not saying anything against either of these two men. I’m sure that they both loved the Lord with all their hearts and were good followers of Christ. The problem that I see here is the flesh got ahead of the Spirit as it still does in some, if not most of our churches today.

As we read the New Testament we see that the 12 disciples were chosen by Jesus personally, when he started His earthly ministry, to be apostles, and so was Paul, just a few days after Matthias was chosen as an apostle by the people. Flesh had nothing to do with Paul being chosen as an apostle, just like flesh had nothing to do with the choosing of the original twelve disciples. Jesus did the calling of the 12 disciples the same as He did with Paul on Damascus Road and Paul answered that call. The Lord also said in {Acts 9:15} that Paul was his chosen vessel. {Go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear My Name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.} His apostleship carried him across the Roman Empire. The lives that Paul touched were changed and challenged by meeting the Lord through him. No person, except Jesus himself, shaped the history of Christianity like the apostle Paul. We will never know if Paul was truly meant to be the 12th disciple or not, because the scripture does not say so in a direct way, but if we read and piece together there is a good chance that Paul was to be the 12th disciple.

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