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January 1, 2014 – Acts 1

Click here to read Acts 1 on BibleGateway.com

crowdA new year upon us, my friends. And there was much rejoicing in the land. Whoopadeedoo.

As with any new year, you may be tempted to make this year better than last. You should just drop that notion right now. The odds are it will be pretty similar to last year, at least the parts you can control. Just same ole same ole; an endless day after day of under appreciation, aggravation, and petty annoyances.  Sound depressing? Take heart, my friend. Let’s see what the Bible says to us to start out our year. I betcha a leftover Christmas turkey (only dark meat though) that God has something to turn that frown upside down.

EENY MEENY MINEY…

In Acts 1, we read the story of the replacement of Judas. Obviously, you can’t just have eleven disciples. That would just be awkward. So Peter gets up one day and calls on who’s hanging around praying to pick someone to to replace Judas, but how to decide who it should be? After all, who wouldn’t want to be one of the Twelve? You get to carry leftover baskets, push annoying children away from Jesus, and have a brutal martyrdom to look forward to.  There’s gotta be a pretty long line for that gig.

To thin the field, the disciples propose a simple criterion: the new Twelver had to have been a follower of Jesus from the time of His baptism to the Ascension. Think about that for a moment. There was somebody (actually, two somebodies, at least) that had been a follower of Jesus for over three years. They had seen him raise Lazarus; they had seen the feeding of the five thousand; maybe they were one of the Seventy-Two that were sent out to be Jesus’ witnesses. Yet for all that, they were never allowed to be one of the “Twelve,” the inner circle, the ones Jesus ate with, hung out with, taught, and entrusted with his greatest missions.  In fact, we hear nothing about them at all in any of the Four Gospels.

Have you ever felt left out? That you give and give, and nobody appreciated you? That other people always get the credit and the attention? That you are always on the outside looking in? Imagine Matthias and Joseph Barsabbas following Jesus, always looking over the disciples shoulders, watching them get in the boat to watch Jesus walk on water, watching them walk off with Jesus to enjoy the last Passover. And yet, even after always never making the cut, they stuck it out. Day after day, week after week, year after year. They were still there with the disciples praying, waiting for the “promise of the father” in the Upper Room.

THE CLOCK STRIKES

Suddenly, Peter calls them forward. They haven’t been forgotten after all. The disciples (and we can assume, probably Jesus) had noticed them all along. They had seen their faithfulness. They were recognized and one was brought into that inner circle.

This year, there may be circumstances beyond your control. You may feel like you are following Jesus more closely than others, and yet they get the recognition and the praise. They may get the glory for putting on that special event, while you get blisters and a sore back from setting up and tearing down all the chairs and tables. You might go home at night and read all the praise raining down on people on Facebook, while your status gets two likes, one of which is your mom. Remember Matthias. Our mission is not to be the great, or even the known. We are called to be faithful. That’s all. Stay as close to Jesus as you can, for as long as you can. That’s our calling.

And who knows. This may be the year your name is called.

One thought on “January 1, 2014 – Acts 1

  1. Fun thought: The reason there were twelve desciples is because ’12’ is the number for the government of God. That is why there are twelve tribes in Israel, twelve gates in New Jerusalem, and so on.

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