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With Matthias The Lord Has His Twelve!

June 1, 2014


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Seventh Sunday of Easter                                                     Trinity Lutheran Church

1 June 2014                                                                             Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Acts 1:12-26


Huge, mega events recorded in the Acts of the Apostles!  The Ascension of Our Lord and Pentecost are two of the biggest for example.  You all know those.  Sandwiched between the two is, of all things, a call meeting.  Really?  Indeed.  It takes place in an upper Jerusalem room. Incredibly an also ran – a man you’ve never, ever heard of – the Lord chooses through His little First Congregation of 120 to fill the apostolic office left vacant by the betrayer – Judas Iscariot.


Who does the Lord put in?  Who qualifies?  Is it one of the women disciples?  How about Mary, the mother of our Lord?  Surely she would be best qualified to be an apostle, right?  Well, an apostle is to be a qualified man.  Jesus chose twelve men to be apostles.  Peter, as the chairman of the call meeting, declares that we will choose a man that, “has accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus when in and out among us beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these [men] must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”


Two men make the call list.  Joseph called Barsabas surnamed Justus and another Matthias.  The congregation prays, casts lots, — puts the calling in the Lord’s hands – and Matthias is chosen.


We never hear of him again!  Why bother about Matthias?


Actually we do hear of him again.


On the Day Pentecost there stands the Twelve.  He’s there.  Peter stands with the Eleven.  Peter preached the sermon.  Obviously they let him preach because he probably couldn’t chant the liturgy on tune!  Eleven plus Peter equals Twelve.  Similarly Matthew 28’s Eleven (12 minus Judas Iscariot) to whom all authority in heaven and earth Jesus gives the divine mandate to make disciples of all nations by baptizing in the Triune Name and teaching everything Jesus has commanded.


But now Eleven plus Matthias equals Twelve!  Twelve!  Are you still with me?  In the Old Testament the Lord had for Himself a people.  An Israel.  Twelve tribes.  Now in the New Testament the Lord has for Himself a new Israel.  Twelve apostles.


We hear of this in Luke 6 when Lord Jesus prayed all night.  From the many of His disciples He then chooses Twelve whom He calls apostles.  Called and ordained for the holy ministry.  Put in the holy office.  Jesus does it.  We are told their names.  There is to be no doubt as to who is put in — ordained.  And the last one on the list of the Twelve is Judas Iscariot.


But now in Acts 1 it’s only Eleven.  Judas betrayed the Lord, despaired of the Lord’s forgiveness, and took his life.  Eleven plus Matthias equals Twelve.  The Lord has His Twelve!  He does not flub up.  He does not get stuck at Eleven.  He has for Himself a people, an Israel, a Twelve.  All clear?  Carry on!


The Twelve:  apostles – sent ones – for apostolic ministry.      The Lord’s mandate for apostolic ministry is carried out on Pentecost.  The Twelve:  preach Christ crucified and risen for the salvation of sinners.  Preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins.  Baptize sinners in Jesus’ name with the giving out of the Holy Spirit and the Good Friday forgiveness bestowed to those baptized.  Feeding sinners with the Lord’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.


Matthias put in.  To be the Lord’s instrument for Word and Sacrament gospel ministry.  The Lord’s mouth.  The Lord’s hands.  To preach.  To baptize.  To absolve.  To lord’s supper.  The church created.  The church sustained.


The Lord Jesus provides for his little church.  He puts men into the office of the holy ministry for the sake of preaching and teaching His Word.  Peter, James and John (Zebedee’s boys), Andrew and Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew.  James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.  Matthias and all the other men put into the office of the holy ministry.  The church and the office go together.  Can’t have one without the other.


Men are put into the holy office by Jesus to baptize died for sinners in the triune name.  Sent to preach His Word that kills the old Adam and raises up the new man through faith in Jesus.  To absolve sinners with Christ’s very own word of forgiveness.  To bestow His Good Friday Body and His Blood to the baptized as their food for their journey to the Promised Land of heaven and as their guarantee that their bodies will be raised on the Last Day.


That is why Matthias is put in the holy office.  That is why Kuhlman is put in.  They don’t choose themselves.  Jesus does.  Pastors serve in the holy office in order to bestow and distribute the benefits of Christ’s Good Friday death in Christ’s Word and Sacraments in the church.  That is apostolic ministry.


Apostolic ministry means that Christ is preached.  But not any Christ that we make up for ourselves.  It’s the Christ who suffered, died, rose and ascended for you and for your salvation.


The pastor does his work within the church.  The church receives the Lord’s gifts through the pastor.  When the office is vacant the church prays to the Lord to send another man to be Christ’s servant and Christ puts him in the holy office through the church’s call and holy ordination.


So here we rejoice in the calling of Matthias.  As I said, this is the first and last time we hear of him in the New Testament.  No wonder.  Matthias is nothing.  He would have us pay attention to Someone Else, namely, the Jesus he preaches who is everything.  Jesus is the Savior.  Jesus achieved and accomplished the salvation job for you.  Now Jesus bestows the benefits of His Good Friday death for you in the Word preached, the absolution spoken, Baptism in the triune name, and in the holy Supper.  And that’s what Matthias was for.  That’s what any pastor is for.


So that in receiving Christ’s gifts through His apostolic ministers you’ll believe in Jesus.  And that by believing in His name you have eternal life.  And you do.  The Lord having for Himself a Twelve:  ministry and church – His people!  Even here at Trinity.


In the Name of Jesus.

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