And they put forward two, Joseph…also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Acts 1:23-26
Chances are, if you’ve applied for a job, you’ve been in this situation. You go and have a great interview, present your best self, feel really good about it – and then the company reveals they’ve chosen someone else for the position, wishing you best of luck with your job search. It’s heartbreaking – all that time and energy for nothing, all your hopes for that position now dashed. It makes you feel left out, skipped over – it makes you wonder why you even tried at all if it was just going to turn out this way.
I imagine this is how Joseph Barsabbas Justus felt after he wasn’t chosen to be an apostle. He’d been with the group since the beginning – many scholars believe that he was a part of the 72 that Jesus sent out (Luke 10). Yet it seemed that God had something else in mind for him. That last spot in “The Twelve” wasn’t going to be Joseph’s – not that he wasn’t qualified, but rather, God answered the apostles’ prayer with Matthias instead.
So what did happen to Justus? Some writings place him as imprisoned by Emperor Nero shortly after Paul’s martyrdom, thrown into jail for continuing to proclaim his faith to a world that really didn’t want to hear it. Later on, he would become a martyr himself, and now is sometimes known as “Saint Justus of Eleutheropolis.” While he wasn’t chosen as one of “the” apostles, God still used him to proclaim the Gospel and be a witness to the saving faith provided with Jesus’s death and resurrection. He might not have known it at the time, but God was going to do great things with Justus.
If you ever feel skipped over or left out, remember that Christ didn’t skip over you or leave you out when he died for the sins of the whole world. You have been given great freedom to share that Good News with as many people as possible, and God will use you in situations that you even have yet to imagine. Sometimes our plans don’t quite work out, but God’s plans for us are far greater and will have greater impacts than we ever dreamt possible.
Questions for Reflection:
· Have you ever felt “skipped over” and wondered what you were supposed to do next? How did you react in that situation?
· What are some good ways to focus on God’s promises rather than on life’s disappointments?
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for including me in your plan to save your people from our sins. Help me to trust in Your will for my life, knowing that you will use me in whatever situation I am in, until that day when I finally get to praise Your name eternally. I pray this in the saving name of Jesus, Amen.