A TRAGIC ENDING AND A NEW BEGINNING

Scripture Reading:  Acts 1:15-26

“For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it;’ and ‘Let another take his office.’” (Acts 1:20)

The passage today tells the terrible outcome of Judas after he betrayed Jesus.  Judas was given thirty pieces of silver for his part in the betrayal .  We are told in Matthew’s gospel that he returned the money to the chief priests, who in turn purchased the potter’s field with the money (Matthew 27:3-7).  So in effect, Judas paid for the field.  You know the terrible outcome.  Judas hanged himself.  The text in Acts suggests that the rope must have broken and he fell headlong off a cliff onto the jagged rocks below (vs. 18-19).

Luke’s point in this passage is that Judas’ betrayal and death were all part of God’s sovereign plan:  “For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry” (v. 17).  Judas’ tragic death, along with the purchase of the land, was the fulfillment of Psalm 69:25, “May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it.”

The Apostles were now left with the task of choosing Judas’ replacement.  “So one of the men who accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us — one of these men must become with us a witness to His resurrection” (vs. 21,22).  Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles chose Mattias.  Before they chose him, they prayed:  “You, Lord, who knows the hearts of all, show which one of these two You have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place” (vs. 24,25).  God answered the prayer and Mattias was chosen.

Two things stand out to me in this passage.  First, God is sovereign.  Even the tragic things in life have a divinely appointed purpose.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  God is sovereign over all things and we can rest in this fact.

Second, God answers our prayers.  He will show us His will when we pray in faith.  The Apostles lacked wisdom as they were choosing the replacement for Judas.  The first thing they did was pray, asking God for wisdom.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).  God answered their prayers and gave them the wisdom to choose Mathias.

O Sovereign God, how comforting it is for me to know that you are in control of all things — even the tragic and difficult things we face.  I also thank you that You give me wisdom when I ask in faith for it.  I need Your wisdom this day for I know that You have a perfect plan for everything I will face today.

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