Who can be called as apostle, who are apostles, actually? I heard that the person who saw Jesus after the resurrection may be named as apostle? Is it true, or other person can be also named as apostle?
The statement that as apostle may be called the person who saw Jesus after the resurrection is false, by the very fact that the twelve apostles were chosen by Jesus before his death and resurrection. Here’s what the Holy Scripture tells us:
And when day came, He (Jesus) called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles. (Luke 6:13)(NASB)
If we follow the context of the Gospel, we will see that this happened in the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, before the famous Sermon on the Mount and before the death of John the Baptist. It should be noted that all twelve were chosen from among the disciples of Jesus, or of those who were taught by Jesus.
Who are the apostles
The Greek word [ apostolos ] has the meaning of messenger, delegate, ambassador, or a person who is sent by anyone to present and defend the interests of the person who sent him (for example, the Romanian Ambassador to Moldova: he presents and defends the interests of Romania in Moldova). An apostle presents neither himself, nor his personal views and interests, but he presents the views and interests of the one who has sent him. When talking about the kingdom of God, the apostles are sent by God to present, or rather, to represent the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Bible named as apostles not only the twelve apostles
In the Epistle to Hebrews in chapter 3 verse 1, Lord Jesus is also named Apostle, He who was sent by the Father to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom here on earth.
Other believers are also named as apostles, those who went from place to place, preaching the Gospel and planting new churches. Among them are Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Paul, Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6). Paul introduces himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ in all his epistles and often calls himself an apostle and teachers of the Gentiles.
Specifically for the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus, is:
- they received a special job from the Lord (Jesus chose them),
- they personally knew the Lord,
- they received instruction directly from God (Acts 1:15-26, Galatians 1:1-23)
Concerning the other apostles, they were named so according to the spiritual gift they have received, namely, the gift of apostle (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4). Spiritual gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life, who was born again (it is not a job or a position). Spiritual gifts are different, but all work together for building up the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, or the church. The gift of apostle is manifested by the ability to go to places where there are not Christians, and to plant new churches there. Nowadays we got used to name the Christians who have this spiritual gift as missionaries.
So, the apostle may be called the person who goes to places where there are no churches and plant new churches, preaching the Gospel and teaching people God’s will.
Written by Anastasia Filat
Translated by Felicia Rotaru