650THE APOSTOLIC MINISTRY
650MATTHIAS ORDAINED TO THE APOSTLESHIP
650After witnessing the Lord's ascension from Olivet, the eleven apostles returned to Jerusalem
filled with joy and thoroughly suffused with the spirit of adoring worship. Both in the temple and
in a certain upper room, which was their usual place of meeting, they continued in prayer and
supplication, often in association with other disciples, including Mary the mother of the Lord,
some of her sons, and the little sisterhood of faithful women who had ministered to Jesus in
Galilee and had followed Him thence to Jerusalem and to Calvary.
The disciples, most of
whom had been dispersed by the tragic events of that last and fateful Passover, had gathered
again, with renewed and fortified faith, about the great fact of the Lord's resurrection. Christ had
become "the firstfruits of them that slept," "the first begotten of the dead," and "the firstborn" of
the race to rise from death to immortality.
They knew that not only had the grave been
compelled to give up the body of their Lord, but that a way had been provided for the striking of
the fetters of death from every soul. Immediately following the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,
many righteous ones who had slept in the tomb had been resurrected, and had appeared in
Jerusalem, revealing themselves unto many.
The universality of the resurrection of the dead
was soon to become a prominent feature of apostolic teaching.
650The first official act undertaken by the apostles was the filling of the vacancy in the council
of the Twelve, occasioned by the apostasy and suicide of Judas Iscariot. Sometime between the
ascension of Christ and the feast of Pentecost, when the Eleven and other disciples, in all about a
hundred and twenty, were together "with one accord in prayer and supplication," Peter laid the
matter before the assembled Church, pointing out that the fall of Judas had been foreseen,
citing the psalmist's invocation: "Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and
his bishoprick let another take."
Peter affirmed the necessity of completing the apostolic
quorum; and he thus set forth the qualifications essential in the one who should be ordained to
the Holy Apostleship; "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that
the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same
day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his
resurrection." Two faithful disciples were nominated by the Eleven, Joseph Barsabas and
Matthias. In earnest supplication the assembly besought the Lord to indicate whether either of
these men, and if so which, was to be chosen for the exalted office; then, "they gave forth their
lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
651The proceeding throughout is deeply significant and instructive. The Eleven fully realized
that on them lay the responsibility, and in them was vested the authority, to organize and develop