Every once in a while, when working through a book of the Bible, you come across a set of verses that seem to fill in the gaps of New Testament history and yet they don’t seem to have any relevance to today. In Acts 1:15-26, we read about the replacement of Judas Iscariot after his betrayal and subsequent death.
It was important to replace Judas because the number of disciples needed to be twelve. In Luke 22:28-30 Jesus says, “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” This role of the apostles was a unique, irreplaceable office which held eternal responsibilities. Their witness to Jesus is the foundation for believers of all generations to receive salvation, which is seen in Eph. 2:20 where our faith is described as being built on the foundation of the apostles.
We also see this teaching in Revelation 21:14. The New Jerusalem is coming down to the new earth where the saints of God will dwell in His presence forever and ever. In describing the city John writes, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
These facts clearly help us understand the reason for restoring the number of disciples to twelve. It also proves that the replacement for Judas is not a case for apostolic succession. After all, when James the son of Zebedee died, he was not replaced. James had not abandoned his office but was martyred and therefore is an apostle for all eternity.
In just a couple of minutes, we were able to look at these verses and understand the reason for Judas’ replacement as well as the apostles’ purpose to lay a foundational witness of Jesus Christ. On the surface this may seem to be innocuous facts that really don’t relate to us; however, while studying this week, I began to look specifically at the three men mentioned in these verses and one key theme kept coming to mind—LEADERSHIP.
I would like to invite you to Living Oaks Baptist Church this Sunday as we ponder some of the ways these verses apply to Christians. I hope to see you at 10:45 a.m. this Sunday.
In His service,