JESUS: Replacing Judas, by Mark G. Boyer

Reflections for Holy Week and Easter

Replacing Judas Mark G. Boyer

 

Scripture:When the apostles had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers. (Acts 1:13-14)

Reflection:After the author of Luke’s gospel re-narrates the ascension of Jesus – he first tells the story in Luke 24:50-51 – in the Acts of the Apostles, he names the eleven apostles, minus Judas Iscariot, whom the reader discovers fell headlong into a field and burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.  He portrays them as devoting themselves to prayer in imitation of Jesus in Luke’s gospel.  Then, he narrates the election of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot.  This move is very important for the author of this two-volume work, because it portrays the apostles doing what Jesus did, namely, sending people on mission.

Later, the apostles will choose seven men and give them the mission of waiting on tables.  Paul and Barnabas will be sent, as well as Judas and Silas, Barnabas and Mark, and Paul and Silas.  They are sent on specific missions, and, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, accept their responsibilities joyfully.

The replacement of Judas continues today, along with the sending of others on modern missionary endeavors.  Many people go on mission trips to help build houses for the homeless, to dig wells for clean water for the thirsty, to teach the ignorant, and to demonstrate sustainable farming to feed the hungry.  Meeting the basic needs of other human beings is a modern way of proclaiming the word of God without speaking a single word.  Those who engage in such missionary endeavors proclaim the nearness of God’s kingdom through the way they live their lives in service to others.  One does not need to stand on the street corner and shout Bible verses; all a modern, sent disciple needs to do is to put into practice what he or she has heard, just like the first followers of Jesus imitated him in their choosing of others for various missions.

Journal/Meditation:In what specific ways do you imitate Jesus?

Prayer: Holy Father, send me the gift of your Holy Spirit, who will guide me on the mission you entrust to me and keep me faithful to the ministry of your Son.  You are one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

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