Jesus' last words before His ascension were to His eleven remaining apostles. Acts 1:8-9 begins with Jesus’ words. It says, but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. They went to Jerusalem, as Jesus commanded, and began to pray. Acts 1:12-14 says, Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Making Something Happen
Jesus’ family and nearest followers were there. They prayed, knowing Jesus promised them an enduement with power, but He didn’t tell them how long they’d have to wait. Luke didn’t tell us how many days they were in the upper room praying before Peter decided he needed to make something happen.
Peter is my man. Perhaps you relate to him like I do. He was a doer, a go-getter, and a brave man. He was the only one of the twelve who walked on water. Yes, he ended up wet, but as I’ve always said, “I’d rather be a wet water walker than a dry boat sitter.” Peter was the one who took off Malchus’, the (high priest’s servant) ear when they came after Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter was a man of action. He knew how to make things happen, and that’s what he did as they awaited the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the upper room.
Don’t Let Peter’s Mistakes be Yours
I’m going to cite the full account of what happened in that upper room from Acts 1:15-26.
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Now, let’s consider what Peter’s mistakes were and ask ourselves how Faith Leaders can miss God doing the same things.
First, let’s note what he did right. Peter knew what the psalms said about Judas needing a replacement. However, he didn’t pray about the timing or who God might have chosen for that place. Peter knew he was the leader of the group and if something was going to be done, he would likely have to do it.
This is where Faith Leaders often miss it. They know God’s Word and His will; they are leaders, and they want to move forward with God’s plans, so they push them.
Second, Peter added to what the Word said about Judas’ replacement. Here’s what the prophecies said: Psalm 69:24-25 said, Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. Psalm 109:8 said, Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Did you read anything in those prophecies that said Judas’ replacement had to be a man who had been with the eleven since Jesus’ baptism by John? No; Peter added that qualification. Faith Leaders can miss it if they add to what God tells them through His Word or His Spirit.
Third, Peter drew lots to make the choice. In the Old Testament, the high priest used the Urim and Thummin to make decisions, but Peter was no longer part of the Old Testament. Had he waited until he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he would have understood better how to be led the way New Testament believers are supposed to be led. Romans 8:14 tellsus for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Peter made a bad personnel decision. They chose Matthias using Peter’s system, but we never hear about Matthias again. I believe a man named Saul was God’s choice to fill Judas’ spot, but Peter jumped the gun. It would be several years before the persecutor Saul turned into the Apostle Paul. They forced Matthias into a position he was not anointed for or called to. It probably frustrated him as well as Peter and the others.
So, take your time when adding personnel or promoting volunteers. Don’t rush. Listen to the Holy Ghost. He knows things about people you don’t. Everyone makes mistakes; I certainly have in over nearly 50 years of ministry, but I learn with each one and continue to seek God. Everyone makes mistakes, but God never fails!