With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.
“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:
“‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and,“‘May another take his place of leadership.’ Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed,“Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Acts 1:18-26 (NIV)
There is no other reference to Matthias in Scripture, and some believe that the apostles may have acted too hastily in their choice, even speculating that Paul should have been the twelfth disciple.
But, who was Matthias?
Matthias was an early follower of Jesus and a witness of the resurrection According to tradition Matthias was one of the seventy-two that Jesus sent out in Luke, Chapter 10.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
Luke 10:1 (NIV)
Tradition also says that Matthias went to Ethiopia to and was martyred there.
Were the disciples too hasty in their decision? Jesus had given them no instructions with regard to a replacement for Judas. What he told them is recorded in Luke 24:49:
“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Yes, they prayed over their decision, but then they turned to the casting of lots. Had they waited long enough? This action appears to have come almost immediately after Jesus ascended into Heaven and before the day of Pentecost when they were “clothed with power from on high.”
It can be presumed that Matthias played an important role in the early church and that he had been a witness from the time of John the Baptist through the resurrection and ascension.
Other accounts indicate that Matthias preached in Judea and later in Ethiopia, where he was crucified. This would be consistent with the ministry and death of the other apostles. Other traditions say that he was stoned in Jerusalem and beheaded.
But was he supposed to be the twelfth disciple? Since he was not mentioned again perhaps not.