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"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." NIV translation
Here Peter is still giving the qualifications for being an apostle. As you can see, it had to be someone who had personally witnessed Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection. That narrows it down quite a bit even for those days. Today, there are many Christians searching for another title as if it makes them something more. The title of apostle is taken by many to set themselves apart. It seems like it becomes all about them, their name, and their titles. That is what we would call pride and we are taught elsewhere in the Bible that it isn't good. Are you content with the simple title of Christian? In the end, what are all the titles and fancy letters at the end of people's names going to mean?
"So they proposed 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"" NIV translation
These two verses give us a pattern that is very useful. You see, in the previous verses, Peter described the qualifications of someone to be an Apostle. Now they have found two men that meet those requirements and put their names forward. The next step they took was not some board meeting or other man made plan but it was to go to God in prayer.
We can also learn much from their prayer. You see, by their prayer, they acknowledged that it was God's decision and knew that God had already made the choice.
All they asked for in their prayer was that God would let them know His decision. Is that how we operate? Many people use prayer as a polite way of saying no. They will say "we will pray on it" when you know in your heart that they aren't and that the answer is really no. Many others will simply forget about prayer until after the decision is made and then pray for God to accept their decision. My friends, that is not how God operates.
""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." NIV translation
In the first part of today's study, Peter is finishing his prayer about who should replace Judas. We should take note that Peter was very specific when he prayed. Are you specific in your prayers? You see, even though God knows all, He wants his children to ask.
In the second part of today's study, we notice that after they prayed they did two things. First of all, they knew, from the scriptures, that they were praying in God's will. Then, they trusted God enough to take action. You see many people use prayer as a coward's way of doing nothing. Here, they trusted God enough to know that He could control the lot as it was cast. Many people will pray about the same thing for years (which is not wrong if it is done with the right motive) and all the time they are using prayer as an excuse to avoid action. Do you pray with confidence or do you use it as an excuse to do nothing?