Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles:
first, Simon (also called Peter),
then Andrew (Peter’s brother),
James (son of Zebedee),
John (James’s brother),
Matthew (the tax collector),
James (son of Alphaeus),
Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot ),
Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
Matthew 10:1-4 NLT
My Thoughts: I can’t even get into the story because I can’t get beyond the title and those first two verses! Apostle…, Disciples…, Apostles! Are these men Apostles or are they Disciples? Did you wonder too?
Let’s look at some definitions from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Yes, that is the year of this Dictionary! If you’ve never looked up definitions here, I highly recommend it because I love the older definitions to compare with the modern. Since we don’t really use the words disciple or apostle as much anymore I thought this dictionary’s description might be a little more detailed.
Disciple: 1. A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another. 2. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.
Apostle: A person deputed to execute some important business; but appropriately, a disciple of Christ commissioned to preach the gospel.
Do you see the difference? While the twelve were following Jesus he was teaching them and they were learning how to share the gospel so they were disciples.
Our chapter begins with Jesus telling his faithful twelve that he was sending them out “with authority” to do what he was doing. Jesus knew their training was over and it was time for them to be apostles and demonstrate what they had learned.
It is the same for us when we become believers and followers of Jesus Christ. He wants us to start our journey by getting to know all about him; therefore, we are his disciples.
When I became a Christian I immediately had an unquenchable thirst to learn about Jesus and have a relationship with him. I started by regularly attending a Bible teaching church, I took classes at that church, and also attended independent Bible training (BSF). I learned how to pray, and I regularly read the Bible. I was an active disciple!
But I remember the day I finished my last BSF training class I felt a new stirring in my soul that I can only explain as a sense of urgency to get busy. I knew the Lord was calling me to be his apostle. Since then I have been using my gifts to share the gospel. I started small, although those victories were huge confidence boosters. Now I share the gospel through my writings until Jesus tells me the next phase. 😊
The day will also come when all believers will have learned enough and be ready to move from being a disciple to an apostle. The last thing Jesus said to his disciples, and also to us was:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV
The training we get prepares us to share the good news of Jesus no matter where he sends us. He also tells us we must be prepared to share what we believe:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
1 Peter 3:15b NIV
We have all been asked (as believers of Jesus) to share the gospel with gentleness and respect.
That last part is extremely important. We won’t win hearts for Jesus by abrasive behavior. Believe me, I made this mistake one time and I continue to suffer the consequences. Jesus tells us to heal not hurt. We are ALL sinners so our humility, love, and grace with truth are critical to pointing hearts to Jesus so he can capture them.
Of course, the best part about being an apostle is seeing sinners surrender their hearts to Jesus. They are not only forgiven, but the healing process from the consequences of their sins, and maybe even a broken past, begins. Changes don’t happen in an instant, but there is nothing more amazing than watching brokenness turn into stunning pieces of stained glass, all put together to form something beautiful. The scars may remain, but that’s part of their (our) salvation story to share and draw others to Christ. I love that, don’t you?
Learning about Jesus and telling about Jesus is one of the greatest privileges of my life and I pray it is for you too! Remember, we have a harvest waiting for us!
Let’s Talk About Bibles: When I became a Christian my husband bought me a beautiful King James Bible which I still cherish. However, as a new Christian, I needed something a little easier to help me learn. Together we bought a Life Application Study (LAS) Bible. I recommend everyone own a LAS Bible (there are multiple versions) because comments are written at the bottom of each page. They provide a lot of extra information about Bible verses which was great for me as a new believer/reader. In fact, I still refer to them from time to time!
Another very helpful item in the back of my LAS Bible was a daily Bible reading guide. I started in September and never missed a day reading because I wanted that relationship with Jesus so badly. By January of the next year the words I was reading were very personal! I knew God was talking with me specifically every day and while I still hear from God, that time remains one of the most precious times of my life!
For the record, this was MY experience and I’m sure yours is/will be different. But if you are faithful, God is faithful and the Bible is one of the greatest ways He speaks to us. Don’t give up reading!
Bible Versions: There are a lot of Bible versions on the market. When I bought my LAS Bible, I got a NIV version because that was what our church was using. I recommend you also use what your church of choice uses. I currently own multiple Bible versions and I refer to them often.
If you are a new believer, more conversational versions of the Bible are The Message (MSG), The New Living Translation (NLT), which I use for my blog, and the Amplified Version (AMP).
If you want to quickly look at and compare verses easily I recommend an online Bible. I use YouVersion when I’m reading daily and want to quickly compare different versions. It also has daily bible devotions which I find helpful for learning. I also use it for blogging so I can quickly and accurately copy the verses for us to read. Another online version is The Blue Letter Bible and it is full of lots of additional information which will be helpful as you learn.
Bibles are not inexpensive, although some Bible bookstores will have them on sale. There are also used bookstores, Amazon, and eBay, for purchasing Bibles. In other words, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. The YouVersion app is free and you can download it to your smart phone or tablet.
Closing Prayer: Father thank you for this lesson that helps us understand the difference between disciples and apostles. Sometimes taking the time to understand before we jump into a chapter makes the reading that much more meaningful and I thank you for your guidance in this specific lesson. Father my prayers are that all of us take the time to learn about you, develop that relationship with you and then using your guidance with your words in the Bible, share what you want us to tell gently and respectfully! Amen!