Today’s Reading: Acts 1:15-26
Daily Lectionary: Job 19:1-12, 21-27; John 8:1-20
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said. . . (Acts 1:15)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever thought about going to seminary? I don’t think they introduce the topic by talking about Judas in the pamphlets. That’s how Matthias is introduced, though. “Let’s find a new pastor because Judas messed up so bad.” I guess it sets the bar achievably low. Don’t be remembered as “the one who betrayed him.” It also doesn’t paint a cheery picture for the new guy. Matthias’ introduction has more in it about Judas than about him. None of it’s good, either. It doesn’t seem like a great introduction to the Office of the Holy Ministry.
But Peter is preaching wisdom even before Pentecost. He stood up and said, “The Scripture had to be fulfilled concerning Judas.” Even among the tragedy, God’s will is done. It was not God’s will that Judas kill himself. There’s a specific commandment against that. It was not His will that Judas carry the burden of his own sin. Jesus bore the Cross for that. What Judas did was also not enough to thwart God’s Word and promise. The Scriptures would be fulfilled. The Christ would suffer and die for the sins of the world. Nothing can stop that, and nothing should try.
It’s actually a gift to anyone who would ever consider standing in a pulpit. You can and will sin and fall short of God’s command. You will not embody His Law. But you will be the one through which He fulfills His will anyway. Judas’ fall led to Christ’s sacrifice for him and for all. Matthias, called by the Holy Spirit, will be a tool of the same God who wants all to believe and be saved. Matthias bore witness to the resurrection. Jesus, who died, is risen. For Judas’ sins, for yours, and for all. None of what went wrong can put Him back in the tomb. Matthias, who we know very little about, proclaimed what we know he saw. Christ is risen. Here, God’s will is done, too. The Office doesn’t rest on the man, but on the will of God to speak of the Good News. To preach the whole counsel of God. To give the Gifts that sustain even as they fulfill the Scriptures that promise life to you. The Scriptures have to be fulfilled. So when your pastor preaches to you, God works salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
For one in place of Judas, Th’apostles sought God’s choice; The lot fell to Matthias For whom we now rejoice. May we like true apostles Your holy Church defend, And not betray our calling But serve You to the end. (“By All Your Saints in Warfare” LSB 517, st.13)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.