“Life is a long pilgrimage from fear to love.”
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 NRSV
The Apostles of Jesus were not the most likely to spread the Christian faith in the first few centuries. Most of them knew more about fishing than turning people into Christians. But 2,000 years later, the effects of what these Apostles did are still felt and bring in new Christians.
They were not the kind of people you might have thought Jesus would send on his mission to spread the good news to the whole world. They weren’t unique in any way. The twelve apostles were just regular men who worked. But Jesus made them the backbone of the church and gave them the most fantastic job imaginable: calling the whole world, including the most powerful empire ever, to repent and believe in the risen Christ.
The word “apostle” comes from the Greek word “Apostolos,” which means “one who is sent.” The term is sometimes used for others, especially Paul, who became a Christian a few years after Jesus’ death. Luke 6:13 says that Jesus chose 12 disciples and called them “apostles.” In Mark 6:30, the Twelve are called “apostles” when they return from the mission Jesus gave them to preach and heal. Mark 3, Matthew 10, and Luke 6 all have almost the same list of the Twelve: Peter, James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, or Judas, the son of James, Simon the Canadian, or the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.
A Special Bond
The Twelve had the advantage of always being with their master and receiving unique training and teaching from him. At least once, they were sent out in pairs on a special mission to inform people that the Messianic Kingdom was on its way (Mark 6: compare Matthew 10; Luke 9). The inner circle consisted of Peter, James, and John. They were the only ones permitted to see events such as the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), the Transfiguration (Mark 9; Matthew 17; Luke 9) and Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 9). (Mark 14:33; Matthew 26:37). According to some experts, the number 12 is a reference to the 12 tribes of Israel, implying that it was given a lot of significance. After Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and died, a void was left in the group, and Matthias was chosen to replace it immediately away (Acts 1). In Acts, the term “Apostle” usually refers to one of these 12 people.
Why is Paul an Apostle?
Paul called himself an Apostle, claiming that he had seen the Lord and received a direct mission from him. This seems to fit with the requirement in Acts that a newly appointed Apostle should be able to testify as a witness to the Resurrection of the Lord. But some early Christian writers say that some people were called apostles after the period covered by the New Testament.
Apostolic Age refers to early Christianity’s apostles. In the first century AD, the apostles founded churches around the Roman Empire. Middle East, Africa, and India, according to tradition. “Apostle” derives from the Greek word “apóstolos,” which combines the prefix “apó-,” meaning “from,” and the roots “stéll,” meaning “I send,” “I go,” and “messenger, envoy.” It’s stronger than “memore” and more like “delegate.” According to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Christians used it to translate the Hebrew shellac. “Missionary” comes from missio, the Latin translation of the word’s religious connotation.
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