Commemoration: St. Matthias, Apostle


St. Matthias is one of the lesser-known Apostles. According to the early Church Fathers, Matthias was one of the 72 sent out by Jesus in Luke 10:1ff. After the Ascension, he was chosen by lot to fill the vacancy in the Twelve resulting from the death of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:16-25). Early church Tradition places Matthias in a number of locations. Some historians suggest that he went to Ethiopia; others place him in Armenia, the first nation to adopt Christianity as a national religion. Martyred for his faith, Matthias may well have met his death at Colchis in Asia Minor, around the year A.D. 50. The church of St. Matthias at Trier, Germany, claims the honor of being the final burial site for Matthias, the only one of the twelve Apostle to be buried in Europe north of the Alps. (LCMS.org/worship)

Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Lutheran Service Book:F13)

Acts 1:12-26: Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (ESVTM)

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