Matthias was a disciple chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. While Jesus was ministering throughout Israel, He gathered many followers who had varying levels of commitment. Some belonged simply to the thousands that came and went. Others belonged to a group of seventy-two that were sent out by Jesus to minister to people.
Still others belonged to an inner circle of twelve who followed Jesus almost constantly and were privy to most of his teaching and deeds. Judas Iscariot was one of the Twelve, committed suicide after betraying Jesus to death, the eleven remaining disciples recognized the need to fill Judas’s role as a witness to Christ. They stipulated that any candidates would need to have been with Jesus from the very beginning of His ministry.
After narrowing the candidates down to two men—Matthias and Joseph—the disciples “cast lots,” meaning they used some process such as throwing dice or drawing straws, to make the final selection. In this way, they handed the final decision over to God, who oversees even things that we regard as chance. The lot fell to Matthias, and he became the twelfth apostle
While it is tempting to see this passage as undermining the necessity of wisdom in making decisions, it is important to recognize that the disciples did not simply put a bunch of names in a hat and pick one out. They used their own discretion to narrow the number of candidates down to two fully qualified people, and then they handed the final choice over to God.