Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Joseph called, who was also called Justus, the almost apostle

Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And 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. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. [3]
15 In 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. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong [4] he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And 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";
"Let another take his office."
21 So 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." 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said," You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (ESV)

Who is this Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus? He's mentioned only once in the Bible (although some commentators hold a possible reference to him in Acts 15), yet he almost became one of Jesus' apostles of his life, death and resurrection in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (I'm sure he stood witness to that anyway). Imagine, instead of St. Matthias and Matthias Media, we could of had St. Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus Centennial Park, and Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus Media. The briefing would double in size just due to the name.
But in a time of disappointment, this Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus character is an interesting example from the early church. Given the barest of mentions, we know him as the man pipped at the post, so to speak, by Matthias - if it wasn't for the casting of lots Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus could become an apostle, with his own publishing empire, and portrait in the Sistene Chapel.
But it didn't happen. Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus stayed one of the 70 other disciples of Jesus who had been with our Lord throughout his ministry. His briefiest of brief 15 minutes of fame passed by, and although we may infer, we can't even be sure if he endured even to the very end of his life.
We'll never know. But for us, we must perevere, despite our disappointments and being under estimated (sorry, it's getting late, so i'm losing what little cohesion I have), owning the resurrection of Jesus that Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus (hurray for cutting and pasting)was a witness too. Holding on to the hebel (absurdity) of life AND God's soverignty over and in life.

Jesus, the raised messiah, is Lord (a major theme in acts as the narrative continues.)

Any way, I'm tired, and it's been a stressful day, so I'm off to bed - good night.

1 comment:

Mike wells said...

Hey matt, nice new blog