If the church had continued the practice of casting lots for
leaders you can bet it wouldn’t have taken long for someone to load the dice.
After all choosing church leaders is too important to be left up to chance and after all doesn’t
the Almighty help those who help themselves? So choosing a replacement for
Judas would seem to require at least an endorsement and a position paper and a
speech to the delegates. But then Joseph and Justus (aka Barsabbas and
Matthias) were not random candidates. They were companions of Jesus from
the baptism to the ascension and reliable witnesses to the resurrection. Given
that they both met the standard set by the selection committee the choice by
lots means they were equally acceptable and choosing by chance removes ego from
the equation. Since the ego of candidates and constituents almost always leads
to conflict it’s not such a bad idea. Could we do the same thing today? Of
course we could, but I’m sure someone would object.