Jump Start # 2906
Acts 1:23 “So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias.”
Judas was dead. He committed suicide. It was time to choose a new apostle. Here in this setting we find that process. There were was qualifications or credentials that were necessary. They had seen Jesus. They had followed Jesus. They were in the multitudes as the Lord taught. They had witnessed His resurrection.
Two names are submitted, Justus, who has two other names, and Matthias. The apostles thought well of both men. In their book, either could have been chosen. They prayed. They wanted the Lord to determine. Lots were chosen and Matthias was the one. And, for most of us this is the end of the story.
But what about ole’ Justus? He wasn’t chosen. And, it wasn’t that the apostles didn’t choose him, God didn’t. Matthias is in and Justus is out. Matthias would be one of the twelve. We don’t have any books of the Bible written by Matthias. There are no Biblically recorded miracles by Matthias. We really do not know much about him, other than he beat out Justus.
How did Justus feel going home that day? One wonders why the Lord put those two through that? Why didn’t the Lord just pick Matthias. Why have Justus get his hopes up? Why the process and why the rejection?
And, although we don’t get to follow Justus home and know any more about his story, maybe, just maybe God has this in there for the rest of us who have been rejected. Sure there has been jobs that we didn’t get. There has been teams we didn’t make. Some sat on the bench and watched everyone else play. There were dates that were either stood up or never happened. We place all of those in the folder called “Life.” Those things happen. We learn. We move on.
But, it’s different here. It’s different with Justus. This wasn’t a job, a date or a spot on the team. This was working in the kingdom. This was being gifted with the Holy Spirit and preaching the word everywhere. This was to be known as “one of the twelve.” God didn’t choose Justus.
Do you think he went the rest of his life with that tag upon him? “Justus, weren’t you the guy that wasn’t chosen to be an apostle?” “Hey, you’re the one that wasn’t good enough?” It’s enough to go home and put the covers over your head.
And, that may be where some of us are. The young preacher who tries out at a church to be the next preacher there. The phone call comes and the church has decided to pass on him. Why, he wonders? Several names are put forth to be shepherds in a congregation. One of them is not chosen. It’s not a matter of not being qualified, otherwise his name would not have been put forth. Why? Rejected. Is it because I’m not good enough? Is it because they don’t want me? Is it because they see something in me that I don’t see? How does one go on after he was overlooked and not chosen?
Here are a few things that can happen:
First, one can get jealous and become a real thorn in the flesh to the one who was chosen. Every step of the way, the jealous one makes things difficult. He questions every decision. He challenges every idea. He’s not over the fact that he was not chosen. Rejected, he has become bitter and now mean. I don’t see Justus doing that. I don’t think that was in his heart.
Second, some decide to leave the congregation. They feel that they are no longer appreciated or wanted. They didn’t get the role that they wanted, so they no longer have any interests in being around those people. Again, I don’t see Justus doing that. He probably prayed for Mathias. He likely continued to serve the Lord as he was before his name came up.
Third, some go so far as quitting all together. They just give up. They want nothing to do with the kingdom any more. And what shows so clearly here is a spirit of pride and selfishness. If I don’t get my way, then I’ll go home and you won’t have me around any more. That attitude does not belong in the service of God or His people. That illustrates a total misunderstanding of humility, service and love.
So, what happened to ole’ Justus? We don’t know. Likely, very likely, he continued to serve the Lord as he could. As the disciples spread out because of the Jerusalem persecution, it is very likely that he moved on to a new place. I want to think that he served the Lord the rest of his life. I want to believe that he prayed very deeply for the apostles and as he heard about their arrests, beatings and death, that he was deeply touched and moved by those things. I want to think that Justus is awaiting you and I in that Heavenly rest promised by the Lord.
One can serve without a title. One can be beneficial without having stood behind a pulpit. One can make a huge impact by faithfully doing whatever he can for the Lord. Not all of us get our prayers answered the way we would like. The day that the new apostle was chosen would have begun with much anticipation, thought and prayer. As that day closed, I want to believe that Justus looked Mathias in the eyes, with a deep, deep smile, say to him, “You’ll help us so much. I am thankful the Lord chose you.”
There is more about Justus that we do not know than what we do know. But this story is given to us. It’s there to help those who may have felt left out, neglected, overlooked to realize there is still room in the kingdom and there is a powerful work that we all can do. It was the Lord’s will that Mathias was chosen. It was the Lord’s will that only one, not both be chosen. It was the Lord’s desire that Justus continue to walk, serve and honor the Lord with his talents.
Justus isn’t the only one like this in the Bible. What about Peter’s brother, Andrew. He was never included in that inner circle. It was always Peter, James and John. James and John were brothers. Why couldn’t Peter’s brother be there? And, then there is the runt David. When Samuel came to Jesse’s home, all the sons were invited in. David wasn’t even included. He was left out.
Justus…an incredible story for us to think about. What do you think you would have done, had you been in his shoes?