Yesterday I pointed out the story of James in Acts 12. We often overlook that story, especially as regarding the hard questions it raises about how God answers prayer.
There’s another aspect that’s interesting, though far less practical. James’ death also raises the question “Who replaced James?”
My answer would be: “No one.”
In Acts 1, we see Matthias being chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. During the discussion, Peter quotes the Old Testament, saying:
“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.’ (Acts 1:20)
Some have thought that this example means that each time one of the Twelve died, someone was chosen to take his place.
I don’t think so. I think there were twelve, a symbolic number. Judas lost his right to be named among those twelve, so another was chosen. The others remained faithful and never needed replacing. They remained “the Twelve,” even after their deaths.