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The Holy Spirit Chooses (Acts 1)

We can learn from the work of the Holy Spirit even prior to the day of Pentecost. Jesus said of the Holy Spirit before His death that, “you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). Before the tongues of fire fell, the Holy Spirit was at work in their midst.

In absence of Judas, they needed a twelfth disciple to fill the vacant role of apostle. They sought for God’s choice, because only His Spirit could discern the content of hearts (Acts 1:24). We know nothing about the men except their names, Matthias and Joseph, who had two nicknames. Regardless of how you read it, having three names implies three nuanced identities, or at the very least, it means different groups of people know a different side of the same person. To some, Joseph, also known as Barsabbas and Justus, may have seemed more cultured, able to function in different roles, to even be "all things to all men," perhaps more interesting than plain, old Matthias. But God the Holy Spirit does not see as we do. He values integrity of character more than we know.

Many people are one person at work, another person at home, one person with friends, another person with those they do not like. I have met some whose opinions, interests, and even personalities changed depending on who they were speaking to, much like a chameleon changes color to match the surface on which it crawls. But God is looking for people who are the same person everywhere they go, whether it gels with their environment or not. Why? Because this is a mark of one who has “set the Lord always before [him]” (Psalm 16:8). If we are weak in this area, the cure is aiming to live for Jesus always and everywhere, to treasure His praise rather than the praise of people.

The Holy Spirit was seeking to replace Judas, who had walked around wearing the mask of a sincere disciple. Behind the mask he had been a thief. He was a secret thief and a secret traitor against the Lord. The man with many faces, that is, the double-minded, the wishy-washy and the half-hearted, must be passed by. The church today has had its fill of Judas-type secret traitors who wear a religious mask only to bring heartbreak and confusion upon the souls they lead. The Holy Spirit chose plain, old Matthias, and I believe that says something.

Are you truthful in the appearance you convey to others? Or do you have a couple masks on hand for certain situations and people? This should not be a source of condemnation for us, but rather, food for reflection, and a call to humble simplicity as well as transparency. The best way I know to cultivate strength of character, to expel cowardice and fear of man, is to be with God. Go spend time with Him. Commit to being a student of His Word and frequently attend to Him in prayer for as long a chunk of time as you can arrange. Communion with Him is a fortress against the chameleon syndrome. The Lord will always reserve greater usefulness for those who are the same person in every room.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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