The word “apostle” is a fascinating word. Though it is primarily a religious word today, it was a common word in the first century. Today we would likely use the word “representative.” The word basically meant “to send someone on a mission.” In that world typically a person of superiority would send someone to represent him. This was much as the President might send his ambassador. The ambassador does not represent himself (or herself) or personal interest, but represents the voice and interest of the President. The word was not limited to political considerations. One might be represented in a number of matters.
It takes a special person to accurately represent another. Much more is involved than mouthing the sender’s words on the occasion you serve as his (her) spokesman. The spokesperson may say precisely what he (she) was told to say in “the meeting,” but behave offensively outside “the meeting” leaving an awful impression. To be a good representative requires thoughtfulness and unselfishness that considers detail and implication all the time—it requires being and saying.
The word “apostle” was used by the New Testament writers to refer to the 12 men Jesus selected and to all who represented Jesus. Though none of us would ever be qualified to be one of the 12 (Acts 1:21, 22), all we who live by faith in Jesus represent Jesus to others. It is no small task to represent Jesus Christ to others every day in all of life.
As Jesus’ representative, what impression do you leave?
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