“Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22)
The apostles were the eyewitnesses of what Jesus said and did and of His resurrection. The Spirit was given to them to help them remember what Jesus said (John 14:26). Their chief function was to proclaim the gospel to others (Acts 2:14-41) and to instruct the church in Christian truth (2:42). The New testament is the end product of this apostolic witness.
Two men, Joseph called Barabbas (aka Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chose to take over the apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs; they cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias, so he was added to the eleven apostles.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, clearly You saw in the hearts of the remaining eleven apostles, the one whom they felt was the replacement for Judas, and when casting lots, You affirmed this for them and he was added as the 12th apostle. Down through the centuries, you have affirmed others and then called them to Your service as one to continue the work that the original twelve began with our Lord. Those who are called, know only too well, that they have been called to this work, for it is not for everyone. In Jesus’s name that we pray today, for all that You have called into this specific service and also for those whom You have endowed with gifts, to support the ministry of the church, in the world we live and work in. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“A weakness in our attitude becomes a weakness in our character.”
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling to which God lives by His Spirit.” (Ephesians2:19-22)
Christ established a new kingdom with new citizenship requirements. No race of people have a natural advantage. All citizens of the kingdom are equal. The church is founded on the eyewitness testimony of he apostles, now preserved in the New Testament. Jesus is the cornerstone holding all believes together. He empowers believers to serve with other believers together in the church and develop together to be His holy people.
Christ commissioned the apostles directly as the first ministers of the church. They remain first in honor and because the church’s understanding and teaching is based on their trustworthy witness to Christ. They possessed a special knowledge of he mystery of Christ (14:51) and revealed it to the church. They lead the foundation (1st Corinthians 3:10). Therefore, they come first in line of church offices. Their preference is confirmed by the twelve foundations of he Holy City which bear their names (Rev. 21:14)
“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.” (1st Corinthians15:7-9)
The office of apostle was unique. Christ directly commissioned the apostles to bear witness to Him. They could not transfer this office to another and could not be replaced by another generation of apostles.
Paul considered himself to be the last to receive this commission from the risen Lord. The literary fruit of their work is their witness to Jesus contained in the New Testament.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should to to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians2:8-10)
The early church faced serious questions concerning Gentiles. Did Christ intend for the gospel to extend to Gentiles as well as Jews? Should believing Gentiles be circumcised and required to accept Jewish dietary laws? Could believing Jews eat with believing Gentiles who ate “unclean” good? Paul asserted the power of Christ in his life and encouraged the acceptance of Gentile believers. Paul said, “In every dispute or question, the church must yield to the authority of Christ. Personal prejudices and long-held traditions must not supplant the word of Christ to His church. (Re-read Ephesians 2:19-22 above)
The apostles had differing duties and roles in the early church. Peter and the other apostles were ministering and evangelizing the Jews, and Paul was ministering and evangelizing the Gentiles. Paul’s work was in building of churches and then teaching and preaching to the new congregations. Paul and Peter acknowledged each others calling and ministry.