It was still morning, but Matthias needed a drink. He was heartbroken. What’d he done wrong? He knew Jesus liked him. Hell, he knew Jesus loved him. So why hadn’t he been chosen? He’d been one of the first to follow Jesus. He’d given up everything just to follow this man. He’d done everything Jesus had asked of him, yet he’d somehow been left out of the select twelve Jesus had just chosen.
Matthias walked over to one of the many fires burning at the base of the mountain. The crowd was buzzing with speculation and criticism over the announcements Jesus had just made. Matthias kicked a log closer to the fire, sat down on it, pulled out his wineskin and took a long swig.
Abruptly, a big burly man sat down beside him. It was one of his best friends, Andy. Andy draped his beefy arm around Matthias’ narrow shoulders, “Little early for a drink, don’t you think, bubba? Why the long face?”
“Matthias looked up at the big fisherman. Andy rarely spoke; unlike his big brother Pete, who was always the first to speak, regardless of the subject.
“You know why?” said Matthias. “He doesn’t want me.”
“Bullshit. Of course he wants you. You’re one of the gang” said Andy.
“Yeah, me and the other 300 or so of his closest friends,” said Matthias as he waved his arm at the multitude who had been following Jesus the past couple of months. “You know what I mean, ” said Matthias. Why didn’t he choose me as one of the twelve? I’ve been with him almost as long as you, and Pete. A couple of those guys, like Matt and this new guy Judas, have only recently joined. I mean, I was with all y’all when we stormed the Temple in Jerusalem. I’m a little guy, Andy, not some brute like you and Pete. While all y’all were having fun kicking the shit out of everybody, I was getting my ass whipped. You remember! And why? Just so some crooked-assed late-comers like these guys Matt and Judas could be named to the counsel, and I get left out? It ain’t right Andy. It just ain’t right.”
Andy took his arm from around Matthias, and held out his hand. “Hand me that skin bubba, I love you too much to let you drink alone.”
Matthias handed over the wineskin and watched as Andy took a long pull.
After a minute or two, Andy said, “To be honest with you, it don’t make much sense to me either. I mean, he’s up all night praying and thinking about who he’s gonna name as generals, and this is the best he could do? Even though I’m one of ‘em, I can’t see how he came up with this silly-ass cast of characters. If you ask me, you should be glad you ain’t in the group.”
“What do you mean?” asked Matthias.
“I mean let’s look at who he chose. First, he chose me, and my brother Pete. We ain’t nothin’ but two dumb-ass fishermen. Sure we might be good in a fight, but what else are we good for? Same with James and his little brother John, ‘cept worse. Both of them are nothing but meatheads; and arrogant meatheads at that. Sure, they are fearful in a fight, but in reality, they don’t give a damn ‘bout nobody but themselves. I do give him kudos for picking Nate, who really is a loyal guy; but then he picked Matt, a cheating, lying, whoremongering thief. He might as well be a Roman. Matt could give a rat’s ass about Israel. Then, on the opposite extreme, he picks this wildman, Simon, who hates Roman sympathizers, like Matt. In fact, so badly he hates them, that he’s personally assassinated several. If you ask me, Jesus couldn’t have picked a worse group.”
Matthias took the skin back from Andy and took another long drink, and then sat in silence for a while. Then he said quietly, “That still don’t change the fact that he didn’t
Andy put his big paw on Matthias’ knee, “I know Matthias. I wish he had.”
“Yeah, but he didn’t Andy,” said Matthias. Matthias stood up and kicked a couple of sticks into the fire. “I’m thinking ‘bout going home.”
“And do what?” said Andy.
“Lots of things. I could get a job doing just about anything.”
“Yeah”, said Andy, “and I am sure there’s a great demand for big he-men intelligent bastards like you.”
Try as he might, Matthias couldn’t suppress the broad smile that spread across the small man’s face. “I guess you got a point, you big burly son-of-a-bitch,” said Matthias as he sat back down.
“Look Matthias,” said Andy. “I don’t know why Jesus didn’t choose you, but he always does things for a reason. We don’t know why, but one thing I’ve learned, his ways are not our ways, ya know?”
“I know,” said Matthias, affirmingly.
“One thing I can tell you,” said Andy, “ he loves you and trusts you very much and I think he has something special planned for you, we just don’t know what that is yet.”
Matthias sighed and took another sip. “Well, maybe I could stay a little longer, if for nothing else, just to see what happens. It’s never dull around him.”
“Man, you got that right,” said Andy.
“Did y’all discuss anything else of consequence in your meeting this morning?” asked Matthias.
“Not really, but he did do one thing that I thought was pretty strange,” said Andy.
“What was that?” asked Matthias.
“He made Judas the treasurer. Nobody even knows this guy, but I guess Jesus has a lot of confidence in him,” responded Andy.
“Well, at least he didn’t make that crooked son-of-a-bitch, Matt, the treasurer,” said Matthias.
“I heard that,” said Andy, “pass me back that skin.”
This fictional account is taken from Mark 3: 13-19. It also draws on verses from Acts 1: 12-26 regarding Judas’ eventual successor, Matthias.