Monday, February 21, 2011

Lesson 7: Judas Iscariot, Matthias

Read Luke 22:1-6; Acts 1:15-26

Video blog (by Mike)



Flip of the Coin (by Richard)

Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles (Acts 1:26).

On first reading, this is another one of those verses, the ones I wish were not in the Bible, like the story about the bears running out of the woods to eat the teenagers that taunted Elisha.

Some argue that "lots" means "votes" but this is worst kind of Biblical interpretation, disrespectful to God's Word itself and to you, the reader. Why? It's very dangerous to try so hard to "explain away" something that is God-breathed. Any impartial review of the use of the word "lot" would lead us to the conclusion that it means "lot"; the eleven remaining disciples, in effect, flipped a coin to decide between Joseph and Matthias for the position made available by the suicide of Judas Iscariot.

It is difficult to take ourselves out of our own environment and prejudice, but it's good, honest work and sometimes yields great bounty. For example, did you know that "casting lots" was not only a part of Jewish culture, but that is was commanded by God?
  • David divided priests by lot (1 Chronicles 24:5).

  • Canaan was divided by lot (Joshua 16:1-10).

  • Jonathan was found in contempt of his father Saul by lot (1 Samuel 14:41-42).

  • Achan was found guilty of covetousness by lot (Joshua 7:16-18).
Why?
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD (Proverbs 16:33).
The Jewish people used lots to determine an outcome when a decision was required between apparently equal alternatives. The apostles followed this cultural precedent:
  1. Required: "Therefore it is necessary to choose ... " (Acts 1:21a).

  2. Equal : "The men have been with us the whole time" (Acts 1:21b).
Notice that they did not abandon their reasonable or spiritual sensibilities; this is the key to the making sense of our initial recoil to the verses.
  1. Reasonable: They had criteria that made sense (Acts 1:21-23).

  2. Spiritual: "They prayed" (Acts 1:24a).
What seemed so odd at first glance now makes perfect sense. Let's put this model to a sanity test:

I am afforded an opportunity to work in more than one ministry...
  1. I think through the alternatives and come up with criteria for measuring them one against another.

  2. I include others I trust in the decision making process.

  3. I exclude some choices based on what I've considered so far.

  4. I examine my motives.

  5. I ask for God's help.
If we deconstruct the selection of Matthias in Acts 1, we find an excellent model for discerning between equal choices. If I follow their lead and still end up with two equally great choices, then I'm okay with flipping a coin, our cultural equivalent to the casting of lots. I'll choose to be grateful to God for this bounty:
  1. More than one great choice

  2. People I trust to help me in life decisions

  3. God's willingness to expose my motives

  4. God's willingness to act

  5. God's availability through prayer
Is there a decision you need to make right now?
Are there steps you're leaving out of the decision making process?
Are you grateful to have more than one great choice?

Study Questions

Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comment section below for interaction with fellow participants~Thx

1. Do you know anyone who was a follower of Jesus and then, after a time, betrayed the very Lord he/she had pledged to follow? Have you ever thought about forsaking Christ?

2. Was Judas ever really a Christian? Defend your answer.

3. God knows ahead of time those who are truly His and those who are not (John 13:21). Does that mean a person is no longer responsible for his choices since God has already decided his fate?

4. Matthias is picked to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:24-26). Following Matthias's appointment, the Scriptures are interestingly silent as regards him. What do you think his story might have been?

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3 Comments:

At February 27, 2011 at 6:05 AM , Blogger marie said...

I love this!! I love that this is the positive side of the negative views

"People I trust to help me in life decisions
God's willingness to expose my motives
God's willingness to act
God's availability through prayer"

as far as the questions go:


1. Do you know anyone who was a follower of Jesus and then, after a time, betrayed the very Lord he/she had pledged to follow? So many people decide to follow Christ and then wave upon wave of troubles, trials and such hit and discouragement sets in, they simply fall by the wayside or decide its not worth it. Or others decide that the christian way of life doesn't offer the pleasure and happiness they thought it would, so they decide to just "forget it". I've known and know several people like that = several have returned,knowing it was the best thing to continue to follow Christ - others are still searching for something "better".

Have you ever thought about forsaking Christ? - not forsaking, but I probably do ask God "why" more often than I should.

2. Was Judas ever really a Christian? Defend your answer. - many people think he was not, while others cling to the hope that just before his last moments in that sorrowful, guilty state that he chose to make things right with God the Father. I hope so.


3. God knows ahead of time those who are truly His and those who are not (John 13:21). Does that mean a person is no longer responsible for his choices since God has already decided his fate? This is an awesome question. God "knows" us, yet loves us regardless of the poor choices we make. He has our best at heart and yet sometimes we choose good over best, less over more because we can't "wait" any longer and we tend to go in a direction that we should have avoided. I find myself asking God to help me where I've messed up.


4. Matthias is picked to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:24-26). Following Matthias's appointment, the Scriptures are interestingly silent as regards him. What do you think his story might have been?

There are great rewards in heaven for those Christians that silently go about doing the work of the Lord day after day, year after year. I think the silence screams that Matthias was faithful.

Thanks guys for an awesome study!! I'm going to fb in hopes that others will hop on over and be blessed.

{{HUGS}} yall
@spreadingJOY
Labels: aheartforgod, bible study, mcProdigal, men jesus called

 
At February 27, 2011 at 7:56 AM , Blogger Colleen Foshee said...

Thanks for reminding me on FB Marie. This really is a meaty study guys.
1. Do you know anyone who was a follower of Jesus and then, after a time, betrayed the very Lord he/she had pledged to follow? Have you ever thought about forsaking Christ? I don't know of anyone who has turned away completely but I do know many who struggle to follow consistently. I don't know why - I've had some pretty tough stuff in my life - but leaving God was never even a thought. Where would I go? He has the words and the restoring power of life.

2. Was Judas ever really a Christian? Defend your answer.
How can we know? Only God knows. I'd like to think his actions at the end were an indication of a contrite heart - but they may have just been to escape the emotional pain. Matt 27:5-8, Acts 1:18-19.

3. God knows ahead of time those who are truly His and those who are not (John 13:21). Does that mean a person is no longer responsible for his choices since God has already decided his fate?
Of course not. Jesus spoke all the time to those who believed and didn't believe. He delivered the same message regardless - the message that we get to choose - and then God honors our choice. God doesn't decide our relational fate - we do. It's an offer we can refuse.

4. Matthias is picked to take the place of Judas (Acts 1:24-26). Following Matthias's appointment, the Scriptures are interestingly silent as regards him. What do you think his story might have been?
Because Jesus made the Kingdom point that many who appear first will be last and the last first, we might find out in heaven he was a greater apostle than all the rest. :) Matt 19:30

 
At June 3, 2011 at 10:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE LOT OF JUDAS- JESUS said unto the Twelve..THIS...the Body be but the clothe of the Spirit..and;it was foretold that..they shall cast lot for His Clothe..that they were as Soldiers in GODS ARMY.
And it was in the LAST days, by a well some distance from Jerusalem.in view of spies,a handful of Roman militia,some seeking cures or answers,various admirers ...and into the SACK went the LOTS OF THE TWELVE.and into the SACK,the Hand Of The Master..The HAND OF GOD../ It was in this manner that the LOT OF JUDAS was chosen..and when they came to arrest HIM,JESUS was not to be found.knowing HIS time was at hand,HE had chose to be alone to pray and meditate..and wait for the Romans to come for HIM...and it was JUDAS who led them to HIM..hastening HIS departure..

 

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