From the Beginning
Jesus chose twelve disciples to follow him, a number that echoes the twelve tribes of Israel. The number twelve, in Scripture, points to the people of God, called and saved by Him. But after Judas’ betrayal and suicide, the number was reduced to 11. Peter knew that “eleven” wasn’t the right number for the leaders of the church. They were the leaders of the new Israel, the new children of Abraham, and they needed to be the Twelve.
What qualification did they look for in a “replacement” apostle? Someone who was an eloquent speaker, a wise leader, a visionary? Someone well respected in the very small (120 people!) early Christian church? We might consider those all to be good qualifications. But Peter looked for something else. He wanted someone who had “accompanied us during all the time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John” until the Ascension. In other words, the qualification for apostle was whether he could accurately speak Jesus’ words, report his miracles, declare his crucifixion for the forgiveness of sins and his resurrection from the dead.
Why do Christians believe what they do? Because they’ve read about Jesus in the New Testament. And how do they know they can trust those words? Because they were written by those who were eyewitnesses. Eloquence, wisdom, and management skills were not important, but having seen and heard what Jesus said and did was.
Lord of All, helps us to trust for our salvation in the words of Jesus reported by the Spirit through the apostles. Amen.