August 20, 2019

365 Days of the Great Names of God, Day 263: Apostle


"Holy brothers and sisters, God chose you to be his people. So keep thinking about Jesus. He is our apostle. He is our high priest. We believe in him." (Hebrews 3:1 NIRV)

I never have been completely clear on the difference between "apostles" and "disciples."

I understood that "the Twelve" (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:13) were apostles. But they were also disciples. Are these interchangeable terms? Were there other apostles? Other disciples?

I sidestepped this uncertainty for a long time...until I learned that "Apostle" is one of the names of Jesus and decided I'd better get a handle on the thing.

I camped out on both words in the "New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words" (Lawrence O. Richards) and gleaned some clarification: a disciple is a student or a learner; an apostle is a messenger, an envoy, one who is sent on a mission. All "the Twelve" apostles were disciples, but not all disciples are apostles.

Jesus was God's Apostle, the Father's Messenger...and the message He brought was radical and perspective-shifting. 

Love your enemies. Die to yourself. Approach the Most High with boldness. Serve the least. Gain peace that passes understanding. Be saved by faith. Live forever.

Jesus delivered this message and then, like a runner in a race handing off the baton, passed that message on to His students—His disciples—and appointed a dozen of them specifically to carry on the mission.

That mission continues. The message still goes out.

" 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!' " (Romans 10:13-15 NIV).

Incredibly, we are the runners in the race in which Jesus ran both the first and anchor leg. We still carry His baton. As the Apostle's disciples—as His students—we sit at the beautiful feet of the Master. We learn His teaching. We listen to His message. And then, on beautiful feet, we deliver His good news.

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year-old that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!