Beliefnet
Jesus Creed

StLuke.jpgThe word “apostle,” by and large, isn’t all that important to low church evangelicals. It is far more important to the liturgical and creedal traditions, and it was very important to the earliest Christians. So important that Judas’ falling out meant someone had to occupy his seat at the apostolic table. That is what we read in Acts 1:15-26 (below).

The small group of leaders at the core — vv. 12-14 — stands in contrast with the 120 who comprise the messianic community in Jerusalem. From such a number the Church has become a world-wide movement. This, too, is an element of mission: God uses people and multiplies his work.

Peter is the leader. Forgiven and restored and a leader. Mission involves mistakes and forgiveness for the repentant.


Missional people read history in light of Scripture, so Peter sees both the death of Jesus and the death of Judas as fulfilments of Scripture. They read Scripture this way because they know God’s Spirit produced it and speaks out of it.

Missional people entrust their plans to God’s (providential) guidance. Discernment of what God is doing is inherent to any kind of genuine missional work.

And we see here the emphasis given to apostolic origins — and here Luke seems to see “apostle” as “one of the Twelve [and his replacement].” This task is about witnessing to Jesus’ resurrection.

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 reward he got 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 went in and out 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.”

So they proposed the names of two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

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