According to Christian doctrines and ecclesiology, apostles are a group of twelve messengers of the Son of God, sent out to preach the gospels to people worldwide. Apostles are the Disciples of Christ, personally chosen by Him to spread his teachings.
The word “apostle” means “sent to,” and other than the twelve disciples, sometimes it also involves others, particularly Paul, who converted himself into a Christian a few weeks after Jesus’ death.
What does the Bible say about the Apostles?
“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.”
Welcome my comrades, Andronicus and Junia, who have stayed in the prison cell with me, and they are exceptionally remarkable among all the other apostles; they joined Jesus long before me.
“For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.”
“We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored!”
We, the apostles, might go to any extent for the sake of the Son of God; we are simp for him. But he makes you wise and stout, and we become weaker; you are regarded with great respect while we only receive disgrace.
“Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
Christ as the centerpiece, it was built on the bedrocks of apostles and prophets.
“When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles”
And as the light of the morning sky fell on the city, he summoned his disciples and chose twelve of them who were officially known as apostles.
“Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.”
All the people were open-mouthed at the wonders and miracles carried out by the apostles.
“But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting.”
But when the news reached the ears of the apostles, namely Barnabas and Paul, they ripped their shirts off and ran into the crowd shouting at the top of their voice.
“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon.”
“Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus.”
“Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
And the names of the twelve apostles of Christ are as follows; first is Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew, then comes James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John, Philip, and Bartholomew were next, then Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector, next came James, son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and lastly Simon, the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who backstabbed the Son of God.
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”
I am not oblivious of the fact that you like to toil, and I have also noticed all your deeds and your perseverance. I know that you have very little endurance for evil men, that you have verified many who assert themselves as apostles but in reality are not, and you’ve eventually caught their sham.
“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.”
At this immediate moment, we might be victims of starvation and thirst; we might be in a ruined state with tattered clothes, brutally treated, and no shelter or roof above the head. Both our success and failure is shaped by our own hands, when we are doomed to encounter curses, we wish the best for others; when we are subjected to abuse and ill-treatment, we put up with it; when someone tries to smear our name, we handle it with benevolence.
“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.”
“No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.”
“Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”
“As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.”
“Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.”
The apostles were famous for displaying a lot of signs and miracles to the common people. All the devotees used to get together at Solomon’s Colonnade. Though these apostles were greatly respected by the people, nobody could gather the courage to join them, but that did not stop the people from having faith in the Lord, and their number was multiplied with more and more men and women.
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“I saw none of the other apostles – only James, the Lord’s brother.”
I did not witness any other apostle except for John, who is the brother of the Lord.
“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it.”
How silently we put up with all that falls upon our shoulders, all the ill-treatments, and all the injustice. As of now, we have turned ourselves into the trash of the earth, the scum bag for the world to dispose of their dirt.
And said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus.”
They were registering the disciples into the group of apostles, and the lot fell into the hands of Matthew, so he became the eleventh apostle in no time.
“And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.”
And the Almighty has arranged a pecking order in the church where he has placed the apostles on top, followed by the prophets, third educators, fourth comes to the miracles, then the boons of curing, of assisting, of guidance and of a great variety of languages to communicate with one another.
“When we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world – right up to this moment.”
It feels like the Almighty has subjected the apostles to exposure at the end of a spectacle, in a similar manner in which people were sentenced to die in an amphitheater. They created a pageant to the entire universe, to the mortals and immortals, to the angels and humans.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.”
And thus Christ created the apostles, the evangelists, the prophets, the teachers, and the pastors.
“Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to faith and obedience for his name’s sake.”
The grace of the Son of God has given way to our apostleship, and through it, we have brought all the Gentiles to bow in reverence, and such type of obedience makes headway from the deeply rooted faith that lies with the name of the Almighty, Christ.
“The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.”
The inhabitants of the city were partitioned into two parts; some of them gave their support to the apostles while some allied themselves with the Jews.
“I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.”
“Then I went to Syria and Cilicia.”
“I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ.”
They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”
“And they praised God because of me.”
I had not visited Jerusalem to verify who had been the apostles prior to me; instead, I had made a trip to Arabia and then returned to Damascus. Three years later, I finally visited Jerusalem to make friends with Cephas and made myself comfortable at his place for fifteen days. No other apostles were there except for James, who was the brother of the Lord. By the name of God, there is not a tad bit of dishonesty in what I write.
Next, I explored Syria and Cilicia. I had not been acquainted with the churches of Judea that belong to Christ. The report that everybody heard said that the one who used to ill-treat others is now propagating the faith that he once attempted to sabotage. And then they expressed their gratitude towards me for finding solace in God.
“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.”
“But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”
“So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.”
“He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.”
“When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.”
When he visited Jerusalem, he wanted to be a part of the apostles, but they all rejected him out of fear, not trusting that he too was a disciple. It was Barnabas that took the initiative to introduce him to the apostles and told them how Saul had come in contact with the Lord on his journey and had a word with him and how boldly he had preached about the Son of God, Christ in Damascus. And therefore, Saul lived with them and wandered about openly in Jerusalem, talking about the Lord without any fear.
He tried to have a healthy conversation with the Hellenistic Jews through discussions and debates, but the Jews went after his life instead. The devotees, on learning this, took hold of him and brought him down to Caesarea, and he left for Tarsus.
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.”
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.”
“Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.”
“And will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
“This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.”
“They presented them to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.”
“So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”
At the time, when there was a sharp rise in the multitude of disciples, the Hellenistic Jews had several objections towards the Hebraic Jews as their widows were not being properly taken care of, they were not receiving equal parts in the everyday distribution of meals. Therefore the twelve apostles brought all the disciples together in one place and said that it would be extremely wrong of them if they did not give importance to the teachings attributing to the words of the Almighty in order to serve food to all the people.
Then they turned towards the common mass and asked them to choose seven men from among them who are wise enough and true to their spirits, and while the people take this responsibility, the apostles will pay heed to the ministry of the word. This proposition was accepted by everyone quite merrily. They chose the highly faithful and spirited man, Stephan, followed by Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas from Antioch, a transformation from Judaism. And that is how Christ spread among the people, and the count of disciples in Jerusalem expanded rapidly.
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“Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
“And last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”
“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
He approached James first and then all the apostles. Finally, he came up to me, as to one born so unusually, because I am someone who doesn’t quite fit in the group of apostles, nor have I earned any merit to be called an apostle, owing to the fact that I had ill-treated the Church of the Lord.
“The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
There were twelve bedrocks on the wall of the city, on which the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb had been carved.
“Until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.”
And he had been guiding the mortal creatures of the earth by delivering them directions through the Holy Spirit, carried out by the twelve apostles, he had thoughtfully singled out. And he kept guiding all until the day Father called him up to heaven.
“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.”
With immense strength and zeal, it was proved by the apostles that the Son of God, Lord Jesus, had come to life once again. And they had imbibed God’s Grace in them with such intensity that it was remarkable.
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