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Who was Matthias?
In the New Testament, he was a scribe invited to become the twelfth disciple, replacing Judas Iscariot after Jesus’ death. It is an event described in Acts I:15-26: Peter spoke of Matthias by name, saying, “We must choose someone who was with us the whole time that Jesus was travelling around with us, someone who was with us from the time John was baptizing until Jesus’ death and resurrection.”
A witness to his teachings, healings and confrontations, Matthias was there the night of the Passover supper and his arrest. After the others fled the scene of arrest, his official standing as a scribe enabled him to gain entrance to Jesus’ hearing before the High Priest, Caiaphas. Of those with Jesus earlier that day, only he was present when Jesus was judged by Pontius Pilate–and he alone of all the disciples and devotees, stood vigil at the foot of the cross.
Having been Jesus’ true friend, Matthias accepted the disciples’ request and became one of them. At first, with no premonition of a looming conflict, he used his scribal skill to record the disciples’ version of events. When discrepancies between what he knew to have happened and their accounts became intolerable, Matthias began his secret scroll. What the authorities had done to his body on the cross, he would not permit his followers do to his memory.
The contest between Matthias and the other disciples would be a struggle for the survival of Christianity itself, having at its heart the issue of how Jesus saw himself.