21 “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Verses 21-26 define the requirement for apostleship and the person who replaced Judas Iscariot.
Now that Jesus had ascended to heaven, the remaining apostles were to appoint the replacement for Judas Iscariot.
of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
The name “Lord Jesus” occurs in Acts 4:33; 11:30; 16:31; 20:21, 24, 25. These references describe the humanity and early ministry of the Lord.
One qualification for the new appointee was that he had to have been with Jesus and His disciples the entire time while He was on earth. The replacement for Judas needed to be personally knowledgeable of the purpose and principles of His ministry. He must also bear witness to what he heard from Christ.
beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us,
Another qualification for an apostle was that he had to witness the period between the Baptism and Ascension of Jesus.
one of these must [necessary] become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
A final criterion is that the apostle had to have witnessed the Resurrection of Christ personally. The word “must” or necessary indicates the importance of the Resurrection as central to the faith. The importance of a full-fledged witness to the ministry and Resurrection of Christ was crucial for the establishment of the church. Eyewitnesses were important in biblical times to verify the credibility of the person. This was especially crucial for the Resurrection of Christ because all of Christianity rests on that fact. Future testimony rested on people who could affirm the genuineness of the Resurrection.
And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
The group proposed Joseph (called Barsabas) and Matthias. Neither man appears anywhere else in the New Testament.
And they prayed and said,
Prayer of the group was crucial for the proper selection of the new apostle.
“You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen
The group required the affirmation of the Lord to make the selection (Acts 15:8). Ultimately God chose the new apostle.
to take part in this ministry and apostleship
The collective prayer continued with the specificity of the role of the new apostle.
from which Judas by transgression fell,
Judas made a knowledgeable choice of his betrayal of Christ; it was a “transgression” of a known principle of Scripture; that is, David’s prediction in Psalms earlier in the chapter.
that he might go to his own place.”
Judas went to the “place” of death after he betrayed Christ.
And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias.
The lot fell on Matthias as God’s choice (Prov 16:33). They used the “lot” procedure because the Holy Spirit had not come yet to guide the church (the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the church takes place in the next chapter).
And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
The word “numbered” connotes an official role within the rank of apostleship. However, the New Testament does not mention him again. The 12 apostles as a group of 12 were now reconstituted.
Chapter 1 ends the era of the old economy; the new economy of the church begins in chapter 2. Also, Jesus’ ministry moved from earth to the presence of the Father.
God gives guidance to the church.
The Lord knows the hearts of all men (Acts 2:24, 25; 21:15-17; Rev 2:23). We can trust His guidance in our decisions. That is why we can trust God to answer prayer (Acts 4:23-31; 7:55-60; 8:14-17; 9:36-43; 10:1-4, 9; 12:1-11; 13:1-3; 16:13, 25f, 20:36; 21:5; 27:35; 28:8).
The appointment of an apostle to fill out the number of 12 was crucial because of the role of the 12 to found the new economy of the church. As an example, the 12 apostles and their associates had the right to write the New Testament. See this study: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/closing-of-the-canon/