We seem to do a lot of wandering through the internet’s virtual desert and so I’m not quite certain how I found this blog Dim Lamp but the author, the Lutheran pastor Rev. Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson, has an interesting thing to say about the significance of us ordinary folk:
“Peter proceeds to lay out the qualifications of a new, replacement apostle to be chosen among those 120 first-generation of Christians. The first qualification, so it seems, is that the successor of Judas must have been present with Jesus in his earthly ministry from the time of the baptism of John until the day of Jesus’ ascension into heaven. In other words, the person should not be a recent convert who had not accompanied Jesus in his earthly ministry. This qualification makes a lot of sense, because the continuing ministry of Christ on earth; if it were to be successful; had to reach people with the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel message, of course, is Christ-centred, therefore who better to preach the Gospel than the closest friends and followers of Jesus? The first-generation apostles had an advantage over everyone else, because they were with Jesus in his day-to-day earthly ministry; they remembered what he said in his preaching and teaching; and they witnessed his miracles and signs. The apostles then were the most qualified folks to “go and tell,” to spread the Gospel to into the world.
The second qualification that Peter spells out is that the replacement apostle “must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” In other words, the resurrection was “the” single, most important Christ-event of them all. Therefore, the replacement apostle had to be an eye-witness to Christ’s resurrection. The resurrection was “the” single, most important life-changing event out of which the Christian church was born. Christ’s resurrection confirms God’s saving power over the powers of evil, sin, and death. If God works in a saving way through Christ’s resurrection for all people, by giving the promise that one day, those who believe in Christ and his resurrection; then, all people would need to hear the Good News of Christ’s resurrection. Who better to spread the Good News of Christ’s resurrection than the original, first-generation eye-witnesses to the resurrection?
Out of the 120 first-generation followers of Jesus, two people are suggested as candidates that meet the two qualifications for a replacement apostle, they are: Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. One of the fascinating things about these two followers of Jesus is that we have zero information about them, other than their names—nowhere else in the New Testament are they mentioned again.
What does this teach us? Well, I believe that it teaches us Christ can and does call ordinary people; folks who may not be that popular or famous. You don’t have to be a world famous televangelist to spread the Good News to others. Christ is able to bless the ministry of even the least among us. In fact, the least known may be the most common way in which Jesus works in the church. If we were to number the total membership of active Christians in the world today and compare that with the total number of the most famous and popular Christian leaders; I think there would be way more ordinary, unknown Christians than there would be popular, famous ones. The vast majority of Christians today are not well known and famous—rather, they are like Joseph called Barsabbas, also known as Justus, and Matthias, little, if anything is known about them. Yet, Christ chooses and calls such ordinary folks as you and me to share in his ministry equally as much as he chooses and calls the rich and famous. We ordinary folks are equally as important in Christ’s eyes as are the most popular people in the church.”
Taken from his sermon here.