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Poor Old Joe

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Poor Old Joe

Joseph was well respected among the followers of Jesus. Everyone seemed to honor and respect him, if not love him.

Because Joseph was such a common name, it was not unusual for a man to have additional identifying names. Even nicknames. Joseph had three names. Joseph, Barsabas and Justus.

He was present that day in the upper room with the 120, and there he received the Holy Ghost along with the others. Before the Spirit was poured out however, there was business to attend to among the disciples.

Judas had committed suicide. There was a vacancy among the twelve that needed to be filled. Peter spoke to them all and asked the 120 to submit two names they thought worthy of the office of ‘Apostle’. Someone had to be chosen to be one of the twelve Disciples.

Two names were brought to the ‘floor’. The first one they nominated was Joseph.  Matthias was the second name mentioned.

  • Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
  • Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
  • Acts 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
  • Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

It appears that Joseph’s life and reputation were impeccable. Just by the meaning of the names given to him in later life it is fairly easy to see why many respected Joseph. Nicknames were commonly given to describe their personal attributes.

  • Barsabas: “Barsabbas” is Aramaic for “son of the sabbath,” perhaps because he was born on the sabbath. (Bible Background Commentary)
  • Justus: “Just”, a name given to him because of his integrity.

Apostle Matthias

Poor Old Joe. He didn’t get chosen. Matthias did. After this selection by the casting of lots, we never read another word about the good man Matthias. It’s like Scripture ignores the rest of his life.

It appears however, that Joseph the un-chosen, is mentioned again. Barnes Notes and other commentaries suggest that he was the man mentioned in Acts 4. They feel he’s the one that sold his property and laid the money down at the feet of the Apostles.

What did Joseph do when he didn’t get chosen?

  • Did he get his feelings hurt?
  • Did he leave the fellowship circle?
  • Did he quit church?
  • Did he sit cross-ways with the Apostles?
  • Did he become critical of Matthias?
  • Did he go start something of his own when he didn’t get voted in?

The answer is ‘No’. Not at all!

If this is indeed the same man, then he not only continued to be a follower, but he chose to be of service too. Insomuch so that he was willing to give his all… literally, to the work of God.

Don’t feel sorry for Old Brother Joe. His reward is securely laid up in Heaven.

  • Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
  • Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Oh, one more thing. Acts four says that he laid the money at the Apostles feet. He laid at their feet in an act of obedience and willful submission. That could have been him up there, if the lots had chosen him. But his name Justus, (Integrity) still stood him in good stead. He submitted to the Headship of the body of Christ.

Give us more Brother Joes.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 13, 2010 at 3:09 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Very nicely done and more than one message in this blog…rks

    R Kent Smith

    October 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm

  2. That was wonderful! I do thank God for all the Bro. Joes (and Sis. Josephines!) 🙂

    God bless!

    Patsy

    October 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm

  3. Wow…just think of the integrity of the Apostles themselves! And what a man Mathias must have been.

    Michel Heimoz

    October 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm

  4. A thought worth talking both the time to ponder then to apply to my life.
    Thank you!

    Mervi

    October 15, 2010 at 11:18 am

  5. Is it also possible that the Barsabas (Judas) mentioned in Acts 15 is the same man? This Barsabas would be a further indication that the Acts 1 Barsabas did not get out of sorts or lose faith at being passed over. What’s more, this Acts 15 Barsabas was a prophet, honored and trusted by the church’s leaders. The fact that this Barsabas’ co-laborer was Silas, who later teamed up with Paul on his journeys, would be additional evidence that a man who has conquered his own spirit is a man God can trust. What an enviable position!

    Marjorie Kinnee

    October 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm


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