1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
Matthew 10:1-2 (KJV)
Disciples/Apostles – Have you ever been sent out by God to enact His will somewhere in the world? Perhaps it was to deliver a message, or to live as an example to others. If you have, then you’re an Apostle.
God works in cycles all the time. He calls us, prepares us, and then He sends us out. And when we’ve performed the action for which He sent us, he calls us again, prepares us, and sends us out again. This is what He did with Israel, it’s what He did with His Son, Yeshua, and it’s how Yeshua interacted with His disciples.
The Hebrew equivalent for the word “disciple” is talmid which implies a student, or pupil. The talmid follows every teaching and action of his teacher. Just as a student goes to where the teacher is located to gain more knowledge, the talmid is always close by his teacher. It is a life of complete devotion, not just about accumulating theological knowledge.
On the other hand, an apostle is someone who is sent out. The disciple has learned how to completely represent his teacher in the world, and the teacher can trust the apostle with a task and know that this task will be done as if the teacher himself did it. Apostles have nothing to do with establishing churches. They are messengers who are sent to deliver a message… perhaps the Good News.
Imagine being sent out to deliver the message “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” to the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6). The house of Israel was recognized by the Jews (house of Judah) as being divorced from God (Jeremiah 3:8). The Jews understood that the house of Israel couldn’t come back into the fold based on the law of divorce. And yet, Yeshua sends out apostles to deliver that very message. Get ready, house of Israel, the kingdom is at hand!
Now it makes sense why Yeshua begins to warn His apostles about being delivered up for punishments (Matthew 10:17-19). They were sent to deliver a message that the Jews believed couldn’t happen. The Jews were committed to enforcing the law of divorce that God established, and the house of Israel couldn’t return. As far as they were concerned, the apostles were heretics. But they didn’t understand that Yeshua was getting ready to die so that the house of Israel would be released from that law (Romans 7).
The disciples became apostles. Because they followed Yeshua so closely and mimicked Him in every way, they were eligible to be sent out and deliver a message that could result in their death. Have you been sent out? It all depends if you’ve first been a disciple. How closely does your life mimic the life of Yeshua? It’s not just about theology — it’s about living a life that completely represents Yeshua in every way. Do you practice the law as Yeshua kept it? Do you give of yourself as Yeshua did? Do you keep the Sabbath as Yeshua did? Do you eat unleavened bread during the Feast as Yeshua did? Do you eat kosher as Yeshua did?
A disciple of Yeshua is a wonderful position of growth and learning. But keep in mind that the end result is apostleship. To go forth as a representative of Yeshua and to enact His will in the world is a life well lived.