English: Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot as apostle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:26
When the disciples left the Mount after Jesus ascended to heaven, they knew they had a mission to achieve; they had a ministry to carry out. They were also minus one, as Judas the betrayer needed to be replaced. After giving the decision over to God, they cast lots and Matthias became the 12th disciple.
Immediately prior to casting the lots, the disciples in prayer to God referred to their ministry as “apostolic” (verse 25). During worship at a recent visit to a local church, the pastor referred to their ministry as “apostolic” and said that a ministry that was not apostolic was missing the point. In essence, an apostolic ministry is one that shares the Gospel with those who have not heard it or who do not believe – they tell the story of the resurrection to a world that is literally dying to hear it.
Without the Gospel, a person’s prospects for eternity are bleak – eternal damnation in complete separation from God. Through Jesus, God reconciles us to Himself; we look forward to eternity in His presence. We all know people who need to hear the Gospel. Are we prepared to share it when called upon to do so?
Ponder this: What is my apostolic ministry? How can I effectively carry this out in my daily world?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I see a world around me that desperately needs You. How shall I respond? Clarify Your calling to me, whatever that is, and lead me to discern how You would have me carry it out. Let me be a blessing to all with whom I come into contact today. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.
Devotion on Acts 1:1-11
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus’ words recorded in Acts 1:8.
These are the last recorded words of our Lord before he was taken up to heaven. They are powerful words that reveal God’s ultimate plan for the Messiah to save all the peoples of the world “to the ends of the earth.”
Prior to His final statement, Jesus said something else: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4b-5. We live in a society that wants everything “now”. We are impatient and demanding. God often tells us to wait – wait for His timing, His purpose, His place, His blessing. When we trust God by obeying His command to wait, we are reminded that His timing and purpose are perfect and we, as a willing vessel, are an important part of His plan.
By now the disciples surely realize that Jesus’ ministry had not ended with His death on the cross. It was really just beginning, and they were chosen to be His first ambassadors to a post-resurrection world. The ambassadorship that started with Jesus’ disciples continues today with each of us. We all have a place in this world – a place in which we interact daily with people who need the hope that only faith in the Lord can provide.
Ponder this: What kind of ambassador am I? Whom do I represent? When people encounter me, do they see Jesus?
My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the privilege of serving You. Keep me ever mindful of my attitude and approach to those around me, that I may be an ambassador that truly glorifies You. Should I be provided the opportunity to share my faith, give me the words that point directly to you. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.