When Judas betrayed Jesus and then went out hanged himself, he left a hole in the company of the twelve disciples. It was important that the number remain twelve, to mirror the twelve tribesof Israel (which symbolized the complete family of God) and to keep the number Jesus himself had chosen.
After Christ’ ascension into heaven, the now eleven apostles gathered in Jerusalem. Peter called the others together to choose a twelfth apostle to replace Judas. The chosen one had to be someone who had witnessed firsthand the earthly ministry of Christ. There were two worthy candidates, “Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.” (Acts 1:23)
The eleven prayed and then they cast lots. The lots fell upon Matthias, who took his place as the twelfth apostle. He was with the others when the Holy Spirit came upon them on the Feast of Pentecost.
There is no other mention of Matthias in scripture, but the ancient Ethiopian Church claims that he went to their country bringing the good news of Jesus Christ. They hold that he was martyred there.
Sometime during the Middle Ages, Matthias’ bones were brought to Treyes, in France, which remains a place of pilgrimage and prayer.
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