They descended the mountain slopes and walked the eight or ten minutes back to Jerusalem, although in truth they were still somewhat in shock from what they had just witnessed, and the yards vanished behind them as they talked it over. It seemed He really had gone for now, and had left them to be His witnesses. The task of spreading His message and His kingdom lay in their hands. There wasn’t one among them who felt equal to it.
Back in the city centre, they made their way to the upper room. The eleven disciples were there (minus Judas, of course) along with the women, and Mary, Jesus’ mother, and even His brothers, who had come to see the truth of who He really was.
All told, about a hundred and twenty people gathered together, and Peter spoke to them about the absence of Judas. He’d been searching the Scriptures and realised that Judas’ betrayal, like everything else in Jesus’ life, had been foretold by the prophets, if only they’d had eyes to see and hearts to understand. Even Judas’ tragic and gory death had resulted in Scripture being fulfilled – the Psalms which spoke of his home being desolate and deserted and his office given to another had come to pass.
So it was decided that they should appoint that other person to take his place, and that it must be one of those who had known Jesus from the outset of His ministry and had witnessed His resurrection. They had no idea, of course, that God had another apostle lined up, the last person they would have expected, who would join them a year or two down the line. But more of him later.
For now, they prayed for God to guide them, cast lots between Joseph and Matthias, and Matthias was chosen to be added to the eleven. So once again there were twelve disciples to lead this fledgeling movement.