12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
15In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, 16“Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(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. 19This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ 21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” 23So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
They returned to Jerusalem from the mountain – and they prepared to wait for what Jesus had promised. Luke names the 11 disciples; you will notice a difference of one or two names between Luke’s list and John’s. But they are close, and there were likely many other close followers. In fact, Luke tells us that, including the women who had followed from Galilee, and Jesus’ own family, there were 120 of them. Peter stands up in the midst of the group and says that since Jesus had chosen 12 disciples, and since Judas had left them (here Luke gets rather graphic), they should elect a replacement for him. They identified criteria, qualifications of that person – that he should have been with them from the beginning, a witness to all that Jesus had done, and should have been a witness to the resurrection. Two men were selected, or proposed, who met the criteria; they then used a method of random selection to choose between the two. They “cast lots” does not mean they gambled in this case, but they used the lots to make the decision between two who were equally qualified, praying before commencing the process, and expecting the Lord to control what would otherwise be random. And Mathias was added to the eleven apostles.
There are times when ministry involves getting the work done, tending to business. It may be identifying new leaders, and training them, getting roofs repaired or handicapped parking lines painted, or raising funds and keeping track of the funds collected and spent, or printing a bulletin for services. Those things must be tended to, so that the ministry can proceed. The disciples knew that, even in that waiting time before the Spirit came.
photo – the Upper Room building