After Jesus was taken back to heaven and before Pentecost, the disciples needed to replace Judas for their apostolic ministry of witnessing to others what they had seen. Peter said, For,’ said Peter, ‘it is written in the Book of Psalms’: ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, ‘May another take his place of leadership.’ ‘Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.’ So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.’ Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:21-26)

Peter used the most compelling proof, Scripture, to reassure the believers that Judas’ defection and the choice of his replacement were both in God’s purpose. These men now had the special assignment of spreading the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection. They had to choose a replacement. They outlined specific criteria for making the choice. After the finalists were chosen, the apostles prayed, asking God to guide the selection process.

This gives us a good example of how to proceed when we are making important decisions.

  1. Set up criteria consistent with God’s Word;
  2. Examine the alternatives; and
  3. Pray for wisdom and guidance to reach a wise decision.

They were about to embark on a mission for the Lord, and they were wise to seek His will for Judas’ replacement, as only the Lord knows someone’s heart. “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corin. 2:11)

Source: Life Application Study Bible (NIV)