“One of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” — Acts 1:22
As a former attorney, I dealt a lot with witnesses. I worked in the area of insurance defense, and slips and falls and car accidents were the focus of most of my cases. I learned that observant witnesses can be really hard to find. Inattention leads to many accidents, and that is also a feature of the way many people live their lives.
As Peter explains that the believers need to identify one person to replace Judas, he makes clear that the key qualification for becoming one of the twelve apostles is that one needs to have been with Jesus and the disciples throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth. This person has to be a reliable witness.
What good is adding another witness? Bible scholars agree that a parallel is being carried forward—from the twelve tribes of Israel to the twelve apostles, who will take the good news of Jesus to the whole world. Adding Matthias will restore the number of apostles to twelve.
Further, the apostles understand that good witnesses are needed to tell others about Jesus. Witnesses are needed to bring a message about the reality of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to fulfill the mission that Jesus has given them.
Witnesses are still needed today as well. We may not be able to give a first-hand account like Matthias, but we are still called to be witnesses for Jesus.