“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus–from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. Acts 1:21-26 NLT
During the ten days between the Lord’s ascension back to heaven from the Mount of Olives until Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, Peter suggested that they choose a replacement for Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Jesus. He said this based upon Psalm 109:8 which talks of another who will replace the lost one. Let’s note some principles for replacing leaders.
First, we note that before they talked about specific people, they defined the qualifications for the candidates. A candidate would be, “from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus–from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us.” Any candidate would be a man who had been with Jesus since the time of His baptism by John the Baptist until the ascension back to heaven just recently. This would be a ‘high bar’ to meet and would ensure someone who had seen and heard what the other Eleven had experienced with Jesus. Define the qualities, characteristics, and competencies needed for the job.
Secondly, we see that they defined the ‘job’ of this new replacement. “Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” Clarify the job that the candidate will fulfill. Put it in writing!
Third, identify candidates who meet the qualifications for the job. The disciples identified two men – Mattias and Barsabbas who met the qualifications.
Fourth, they prayed and asked for the Lord to show who He had chosen for this vital role. The Eleven were really leading a process of discernment, seeking to identify the individual whom the Lord had already chosen. This was a spiritual process, not a political one.
Last, we note that they made the decision between the two – doing so by casting lots. This may seem arbitrary, or chance driven, but culturally it was a common method for decision making – similar to our casting votes. It was choosing black or white stones out of a bag, or long straw vs short straw. Regardless of the specific means, they trusted that God would direct the final choice to the one whom He had already chosen.
Kingdom leaders will be chosen and will transition their leadership to another – it is a matter of when, not if. Prepare now for the steps in the process of the selection, as well as those steps for the transition to another. May you do it with grace and in a God-honoring way!