Reading: “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.” Acts 1:24

Last year America was gripped with election fever. The prize at stake was the Oval Office—a prestigious position by any standard.

However, Acts 1 records an election that involved something even more important for it involved the church of Jesus Christ. Some have criticized Peter and the other apostles for this move, but a careful consideration of the circumstances and of the church prove that criticism to be unfounded. So why did they elect a replacement for Judas? There were at least two reasons.

First, the election of a replacement for Judas was to strengthen the oversight of the church. The apostles that are mentioned in Acts 1 were men who had been chosen by Christ to guide and govern His church. This election was to strengthen the God-ordained oversight of His church, and we are to learn, therefore, that there is a need for officers in the church. It is not Christ’s will that there be a “free-for-all” among believers—He ordains leadership. We are to submit to leadership, listen to our elders, and learn from them.

Secondly, this election was to support the outreach of the church. The elders were also preachers. This man had to be a faithful, dedicated follower of Christ, and he had to be an eye-witness of the resurrection. He needed to know the things that he would speak of, to have a real experience of Christ. These two aspects were important—oversight and outreach—and they go together as a train runs on two rails. The furtherance of the work of God depends on this; it depends on submitting to the oversight and supporting the outreach of the church in prayer and activity. Speak well of your church and speak well of your pastor—the world is listening!