My Endorsement
The Last Battle

The Replacement


Saint Matthias from the workshop of Simone Martini

It is the first and last we hear of him in any canonical references. Traditions vary and speculations abound. Yet, all we really know about  Matthias comes from Luke in the book of Acts in 1:15-26.

Here is what we know:

There was a vacancy among the 12 apostles because one, Judas, had failed miserably and hung himself.

It was important to have 12; so a replacement was needed.

Two men were qualified and available. Both had been disciples of Jesus from the start of his ministry. Both had been witnesses to the resurrection.

God chose one of them, "and the lot fell on Matthias."

Traditions differ in the Western and Eastern branches of the church, but both suggest that he did his job, planted churches, bore witness to the resurrection, and lived until somewhere between 70 and 80, CE.

Today, I am thinking of him as the patron saint of transitional leaders - pastors, missional leaders, and others, who step into a role that has been either disgraced or compromised.

The unsung replacement is best known for being unknown.

He or she steps in as a witness and an auxiliary to fill a gap and complete a team. This person is not in it for the glory. The success of the team and the other team members is of greater importance than his or hers.

Mathias did not corner Matthew, Mark, or Luke to interject his memoirs into the record of Jesus and the early disciples. The only book bearing his name as a gospel was deemed inauthentic by the early church.

He just did his job, served, and spread the good news.

He was a replacement. His life not only reminds us that anyone can be replaced, but that we can be replaced by an unknown person who is willing to serve.

That is Mathias. Anything else is speculation.