The first question would be did Judas have faith in Jesus as the Messiah before he died? There are several things that would seem to indicate that he did not. Several scriptures suggest that Judas did not have faith in Christ’s reason for coming (Jn 17:12; Ps 41:9). This point is addressed more fully in my book. However, Peter, knowing the state of Judas and knowing that scripture stated he should be replaced (Ac 1:20; Ps 109:8), likely felt Judas had not been a true follower of Christ, and is likely one of the reasons he was advocating a replacement for him. However, let’s look at the circumstances around this event. This was on the heels of the disciples seeing Christ ascend back into heaven. But, let’s see what Christ told the disciples. Christ stated that the disciples were to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:4, 8). Peter, as his previous actions imply, was not a patient person. He was a man of action – sometimes to his detriment. Yet, he was definitely a leader. Perhaps because there was not a specific time given to them and knowing that the Feast of Pentecost (Weeks or Shavuot) was fast approaching which would bring a lot of activity, Peter may have felt they should be doing something. However, if Jesus had wanted the disciples to choose another disciple at this time, it is likely he would have given that request before his ascension or even chosen another before his ascension. Remember, Christ’s request was for them to wait. Waiting usually implies just that - to wait.
The other thing to look at is how the decision was made. They used lots (Ac 1:26). This is similar to flipping a coin and making a decision as to whether it lands heads or tails. Now, granted, this was not something really unusual. The casting of lots was a customary thing to do in order to know if a decision was of the gods or not (Jh 1:7). However, for the Jews, this was usually done by the High Priest (using Urim and Thummim; Nu 27:21) because they were expecting an answer from the One True God. Sometimes lots were cast (Nu 26:55) and God was expected to be in the correct decision of the lot. Therefore, Peter most likely thought this was an acceptable way of making the decision. After all, they did pray before casting the lot. However, the way this was done, a decision would be made whether God was in the decision or not. Two candidates (Justus and Mathias) were chosen and the lot was to choose which one would become the replacement for Judas. Once the Holy Spirit came to indwell each
believer, the need for lots were no longer needed as the Holy Spirit could minister and impress upon one’s human spirit the right course of action. Maybe this was why Jesus asked the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit? I am sure both of these men were very good men or the disciples would not have put them up for nomination. It is interesting that scripture does not mention Mathias again after this selection process. Could this be a silent statement of scripture that this was not really God’s plan? Did the disciples know their error after the Holy Spirit came to indwell them? Again, scripture is silent. However, if Paul was indeed called to be an apostle, as he claimed (see 30-Jan-2013 post), then Paul would complete the 12, and not Matthias. It seem obedience is always the best choice.
Was Paul an Apostle?
Why was Paul the Apostle to Gentiles?