7.4.2 Equipping and sending of the Apostles

From among His disciples, Jesus Christ chose twelve men and appointed them as Apostles (Mark 3: 13-19; Luke 6: 13-16). Holy Scripture relates two occasions on which the Apostles were sent:

On the first occasion, the Lord sent His Apostles to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" and expressly forbade them to go to the Samaritans and Gentiles. He gave them power to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast out evil spirits, and to bring peace, as well as to preach the kingdom of God. He underlined this commission with the words "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me" (Matthew 10: 40).

On the occasion of the second sending of His Apostles, which took place after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His commission to them opened a new, higher, and much greater dimension: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28: 18-20). According to His promise He will thus be with them to the end of the world (Greek: aeon = "age of the world").

Among other passages, the names of the first twelve Apostles are recorded in Matthew 10: 2-4: Simon, called Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot. These Apostles are called "the Twelve", even after the betrayal of Judas Iscariot.

In addition to these, the New Testament also mentions additional Apostles: Matthias (Acts 1: 15-26), Barnabas (Acts 13: 1-4; 14: 4, 14), Paul (1 Corinthians 9: 1-16; 2 Corinthians 11), and James, the brother of the Lord (Galatians 1: 19; 2: 9). Only in the case of Matthias was the call to the Apostle ministry bound to having been an eyewitness to the life of Jesus (Acts 1: 21-22). Silvanus and Timothy were also described as Apostles (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2: 6), as were Andronicus and Junia (Romans 16: 7).

See also