Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. Acts 1:26

I have always found the appointment of Matthias rather odd. He is never mentioned again, except vaguely (6:2) but then again neither are some of the other apostles. Peter was concerned there be a twelfth apostle, probably so that prophesies regarding the twelve disciples could be fulfilled (Matthew 19:28, Luke 22:30). Some claim that Paul was the twelfth apostle but there isn’t much biblical evidence to support this view.

So was the appointment of Matthias what God intended?

The disciples were waiting in the upper room and no doubt reflecting on Jesus’ words, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). They were probably feeling overwhelmed by the task Jesus had given them. They didn’t know what power would be theirs when the Holy Spirit came upon them so they were most likely wondering how they were going to make disciples in Israel, much less, all nations.

The idea of replacing Judas may have appealed to them because it felt like they were doing something. They were taking some initiative. Sometimes doing anything feels better than doing nothing.

Often I have been told, when seeking God’s will, to start moving in a direction and allow God to open up or shut down opportunities. If we genuinely want to follow God’s leading he won’t allow us to miss his purposes. When we are taking steps, even tentative ones, it’s easier for God to steer us in the direction he wants us to go. God doesn’t want us to be passive in our waiting but expectant.

Therefore appointing Matthias wasn’t a mistake, and he’s an encouragement to us to look for God-given opportunities.