1 “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. 2Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;”
We now come to the second of five major discourses of Jesus where He set forth His mission to Israel. The first discourse was the Sermon on the Mount. In this chapter the Lord launched His organization for reaching the nation of Israel. The focal point now shifts from Jesus’ direct ministry to that of the disciples.
And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him,
Jesus “called” or summoned twelve of His many disciples together to give them special credentials for ministry.
He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
Jesus endowed authority on the twelve disciples and gave them the right to do ministry. Following His miracles of chapter nine, Jesus delegated to His disciples authority to do the same. The commission of the twelve is not for us. Their commission was to Israel, ours is to the world (Mt 28:19-20).
The purpose of healing was not to alleviate suffering. If this were the purpose of healing, then Jesus and His disciples would have healed everyone. The purpose of healing was to establish authenticity of the message and to focus the message on the gospel. The gospel of eternal life is more important than temporal healing in this life.
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these:
Matthew now presented the roster of twelve apostles who were ministers to Israel only. Eventually some became apostles to the church as well. There were no apostles to the church at this time because the church did not start until Acts chapter two.
An “apostle” was an official representative of Jesus with authority to write Scripture, for one thing. There were more than twelve apostles; there are about twenty apostles listed in the New Testament. James, the brother of Jesus (Ga 1:19), Silvanus (1 Th 1:1), Andronicus and Junia (Ro 16:7), Barnabas, and Paul were those (Ac 14:4, 14) not named as the twelve.
The concept of “apostle” is much stronger than “disciple.” The word “apostle” means to send forth with a commission. The Greeks used this term for an ambassador of a king. An ambassador personally represented the king to other governments. To challenge an ambassador was to challenge the king himself.
Some qualifications for an apostle:
Personally saw the risen Christ (1 Co 9:1)
Chosen by the Lord (Eph 4:11)
Ability to perform miracles (special signs) to demonstrate authenticity
Ministry confirmed by acts of God
His message came with the power of God
Must have the “gift” of an apostle
The apostles founded the church (Ac 1:22; Eph 2:20)
There is no apostle today because no one has seen the Lord face-to-face. Paul saw Jesus on the Damascus road.
The responsibility of the church is to present the gospel of the grace of God.
Our message is not that of the coming kingdom on earth but of the gospel of grace.
Ac 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
This is the message that Christ died for our sins so that we do not have to pay for them. The other side of our message is that Christ rose from the dead to defeat death.