Twenty-First Century Apostles
And [Paul] stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.  Acts 28:30-31
How abruptly the Book of Acts ends! Paul had finally arrived in Rome and had lived there for two years, proclaiming the gospel to all who came to him. But what happened next? And what happened to the other Apostles?The full title of the book is “The Acts of the Apostles.” John ended his gospel with the following words: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Could Luke, who wrote Acts, have said the same thing about what the Apostles did?When capitalized, the word Apostle refers to specific men who had been the disciples of Jesus (see Acts 1:15-23). But later others were also called apostles, including Paul. The Greek word for apostle means “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.”

Shortly before Jesus ascended to His Father in heaven, He sent His followers out to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” He promised that He would always be with them, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Book of Acts records how the Apostles began to carry out Jesus’ command. I picture a sequel to Acts which names all whom God has used as messengers from the time of the Apostles to the end of the age–including us! Jesus’ command in Matthew applies to us even though he gave it to the Apostles. We also have received orders and have been sent out as messengers.

Do you see yourself as an apostle (small “a”), a messenger sent out to tell others about Jesus? Or do you think making disciples, baptizing, and teaching is only a job for the pastor or other specially qualified people? We can’t say, as the Apostles did, that we were with Jesus “the whole time [He] went in and out among us” (Acts 1:21). However, God has called each of us to live our lives in such a way that others hear His message and seek to know Jesus. How faithfully are we obeying His command?


Who else were called apostles? See Acts 14:14 and Romans 16:7. The Greek word for apostle (apostolos) is sometimes translated “messenger” as in Philippians 2:25. Who is the messenger there?

Read Luke 10:1-24. What was the experience of the 72 people Jesus sent out to work in the “harvest” field? What was Jesus’ warning to them in verse 20? How do His words apply to us?

Read Isaiah 6:1-8. Can you respond as Isaiah did when God was seeking someone to send out with His message?

Nancy J. Baker

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