Discerning the Spirit

It’s been 40 days since Jesus’ resurrection. He has spent time with the disciples, teaching them and fellow shipping with them. As they watch him ascend into heaven, they wonder. What’s next? Well, he did tell us to wait for the Spirit in Jerusalem.

So to the Upper Room they go. Together with some 120 other people they spend the next 10 days in prayer. During this time, Peter announces that it’s time to find a replacement for Judas. He has been led by scripture and has most likely discerned God’s call.

Whoever is selected must be a witness to Jesus’ ministry going to back to the beginning: the Baptizing ministry of John. Two men are nominated: Justus and Matthias. Nominations are closed and they enter into prayer again.

“Oh Lord, you know our hearts.” We can only see the outside. You see it all. Then they use the voting mechanism of their day: lots. Matthias is chosen.

Perhaps, now the healing can begin. It must have been so difficult when Judas betrayed Jesus. He not only betrayed Jesus but also his followers. Judas was one of the 12; he ministered and taught and healed alongside the master. He was one of the “sent ones.”

There’s an empty hole in their hearts and they’re trying not to fill that emptiness with anger. Perhaps with Matthias as replacement the healing can begin.

Their discernment began with prayer. Prayer peppered the process. They tried to leave themselves open to the working of the Spirit and they submitted themselves to God. Ultimately, they left the decision to God.

Discernment today is much the same way. Prayer, study, more prayer. Sometimes we need to spend time with trusted friends and get their help with the discernment. Bible study can also be helpful.

Discernment centers itself on God’s call in our personal lives and the life of our congregation. Corporately and individually, God speaks to us and calls us into new things.

So, the only way I know to conclude this post is to ask the question that’s begging to be asked: When have been in discernment with God and have you heard his voice lately?

All glory and honor be to God.


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