Lent 2023 Day 8: Thu 2 Mar
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 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. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.’
(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. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
‘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.”
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, 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.’
Jesus has now left his disciples, having ascended to heaven. They’re on their own, though they have no idea of the power of the promise Jesus had made that they would not be left comfortless, or how mightily they would become his witnesses all the way to the ends of the earth.
They continue to meet but are in a suspended state. Judas has killed himself, and Peter takes the lead in calling for another disciple to be made up to join the Twelve. I’m curious about this, having heard a commentator say that although Matthias had been chosen as the “replacement” apostle he was never heard of again. I could ask whether Peter had the right to fill the place Judas had, and for what purpose. Perhaps Peter thinks that twelve is a structural unit, and that he should ensure that this number was kept.
Peter’s appeal to Scripture is not the clearest argument, as the quotes are more about how to deal with an enemy. He does suggest that the person selected should be a familiar face amongst the whole set of disciples.
What we are seeing is Peter taking a leadership role. He, with James and John were Jesus’ special inner circle, but those two are not so prominent, and James will not be around for that much longer.
Are we ever guilty of maintaining our church’s status quo?
Father God, Your apostle Peter may have been trying to restore a structure of 12. Point me to what lies behind structure and order so that I might rely too heavily on man-made facades. Amen.