Acts 1:15-26 (ESV)
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’ So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Shortly after the Lord returned to heaven, after He spent about 40 days with the Disciples, but before Pentecost, Peter had this great idea, that they needed to find a replacement for Judas Iscariot. Note that they only had two possibilities, because they wanted someone who had followed Jesus from the beginning, when Jesus had been baptized by John in the Jordan. I am certain that they wanted someone who had been with them since the beginning, because he would have known and seen all Jesus’ works and miracles. They did not want an unknown to be in church leadership.
Likewise in other epistles, the requirements for church leadership are discussed, and they always specify that the leader not be a recent convert. A person needs to have a history of orthodoxy to be a good leader in the church.
As we develop and study the Scriptures, we should check our understanding against other people’s ideas to ensure we are staying within orthodox understanding of the Scriptures. Otherwise we too can be led astray by our own thoughts and wishes. Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) states “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” This is why it is so important that we are involved in the church and in small groups, so that we have others that we know and that know us, to keep us from developing our own ideas, and becoming apostate. We are told in the second epistle written to Timothy that we are to study the Scriptures, that we may show ourselves workers who do not need to be ashamed and who correctly handle the Word of Truth.
So as you study, be sure to check your ideas and interpretations against others to ensure that you are not led astray. So if something I say seems off, feel free to challenge me on it. But be sure you know why. Tell me what and why you disagree. Then I can also see your perspective, and we can learn from and sharpen one another. This also builds relationships with others that we can lean on when we need a little help in other ways. We need to do life together. We are the Body of Christ!
by Virgil Stripes