Children’s story: Jesus’ followers choose a replacement for Judas
Bible Accent: Jesus answers one last question for the apostles
Saint for Today: St. Rita of Cascia
Puzzle: Fill in the blanks
After the apostles had watched Jesus ascend to his Father in heaven, they returned to Jerusalem.
They went back to the upper room where they had been staying, and they prayed with the new community of believers in Jesus.
One day, Peter stood up in front of about 120 of these new Christians.
“My brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. Judas was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry,” he said.
Peter went on to explain that Judas had taken money and agreed to betray Jesus, which led to Jesus’ death on the cross.
Judas took the money he had received for betraying Jesus, Peter said, and used it to buy some land. Judas wound up falling when he was on that property, and he died.
“This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood,” Peter said. “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’ And: ‘May another take his office.'”
In light of the Scripture that he had quoted, Peter said there was something important the followers of Jesus had to do.
“Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection,” he said.
So the believers suggested two men, Barsabbas and Matthias, and prayed for help in making a decision.
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place,” they prayed.
Then they gave lots to the two men, and the lot fell upon Matthias. From that day on, Matthias was counted with the other 11 apostles of Jesus.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Who suggested that Judas needed to be replaced?
2. Who were the two men the believers chose from?
Describe how you would feel if you had been chosen to replace Judas.
Before Matthias was chosen as Judas’ successor, the apostles talked to Jesus one last time before he returned to heaven.
In Acts 1:1-12, we read that Jesus told the apostles to stay in Jerusalem to await God’s promise of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles had a question for Jesus.
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” they asked.
“It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority,” Jesus replied. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he spoke, Jesus was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of sight.
As the apostles strained to see where Jesus had gone, two men dressed in white suddenly appeared beside them.
“Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven,” they said.
St. Rita was born in 1381 in Italy. She wanted to be a nun, but she listened to her parents and married instead.
For nearly 20 years, she suffered her husband’s mistreatment. After he died, Rita wanted to enter an Augustinian convent in Cascia, Italy. After three refusals, she was admitted.
She spent 40 years at the convent and was devoted to caring for the nuns who were ill. She was remembered for having a deep wound on her forehead for 15 years, which she said was caused by a thorn from the crown of thorns Jesus wore on the cross.
Rita died in 1457, and we honor her on May 22.
See Mark 3:16-19 for a list of the original 12 apostles’ names. Without reusing any letters, spell out as many of the names as you can using the letters in this quotation from the children’s story: “May another take his office.”