Today is the feast of the man who replaced Judas in the company of the Apostles. I wondered this morning what it must have been like for Matthias to step into the role. Was he immediately accepted by the others? Was there jealousy from “outside the circle?” I quickly found an answer in the lectionary text for today from the Acts of the Apostles, in the only section where we ever hear about Matthias (1:15-17, 20-26). The text notes that the replacement had to be “one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us…”
That makes sense, of course, since the best candidates would have been those who walked with and served with the ones who had also listened to and learned the lessons that Jesus imparted to his closest followers. I’m seeing Matthias today as someone who was willing to be in their company just for the privilege of walking with Jesus – without any name recognition from the crowds or any reward for his service. Because he was chosen by lot “by the Holy Spirit” and for his consistent presence among them, I presume that the eleven would be comfortable with him. Hopefully any “ego” had been stripped from the group by then about rank and position. I wonder if Matthias himself was secure in his new role. Being included in the day to day decision-making and other tasks left to those in the inner circle must have necessitated a bit of an inner shift for them all. Did he need a “buddy” to make him comfortable in the day-to-day?
We often don’t think of the small things for those whose whole lives had been turned upside down more than once because of Jesus, but they were human, after all, and their life together after Jesus had to be a challenge. We might consider that on days when our service of God is a bit of a bumpy road. Recourse to the faithful, persevering Matthias might be just the thing to keep us moving forward and grateful for God’s choice of us.