“Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, …” Galatians 1:1
The Apostle Paul was chosen by The Lord, Jesus Christ to be the replacement of Judas Iscariot when He encountered Saul on the Road to Damascus. After Saul was blinded by The Lord’s Presence, he was led by his traveling companions to the home of a fearful follower of Christ. There he received hospitality and the trembling hand of Christian fellowship. Over time Paul emerged as God’s voice to the Gentiles, and His chosen evangelist to preach the mystery of The Gospel.
Today the contemporary church confuses being The Apostle, with being apostolic. Some have chosen to lay claim to the title, but lack the street creds to hold onto it. There is danger in assuming the mantle of Apostle, without biblical credentials.
There is a difference between having power and being in charge. The passion to lead must reveal a hunger to be under authority, not a craven desire to be in authority. The former is revealed when a leader becomes a servant kneeling at The Cross. The latter is revealed by a leader claiming a title and seeking to sit on the top of the mountain.
This was Peter’s mistake prior to Pentecost. Gathered in the Upper Room with fearful followers of Jesus, Peter turned a prayer meeting into a business meeting. His purpose was to lead The Eleven to choose The Twelfth Man. He was compelled to replace Judas Iscariot who had betrayed Jesus and committed suicide. In Peter’s mind there was a vacancy that needed to be filled. He was a man on a mission, but it was his mission.
Peter suffered from a chronic problem that affects natural leaders. He mistook his good idea for God’s idea. There is a big difference between The Natural and The Super-natural.
The Commission given to His followers by The Risen Lord was a vision for global evangelism, and discipleship. They were to pray until The Father delivered The Promise to them. In the middle of the prayer meeting, Peter became convinced that the completion of the mission was only possible, if they rounded out the remaining eleven apostles with a replacement.
Peter’s logic appeared to be based on his correct assessment of the impossibility of completing the mission. He incorrectly assumed it could be accomplished by selecting just one more man. He had researched the problem, added up the facts, arrived at a solution, and missed the right answer. He had offered up a good idea, and postponed God’s idea. He told them to PRAY!
Remember, Jesus had commanded His followers to tarry, or wait in Jerusalem until The Promise of The Father was delivered to them. The Promise was The Spirit of The Risen Christ, dwelling in them. God’s idea was for The Spirit, not man, to empower every believer to carry out The Mission. Peter’s idea was to find the man of the hour. God’s idea was for the church to receive The Spirit of power.
To summarize, without intending to criticize, Peter’s idea was to select one man. God’s idea was for each person to receive The Spirit. There is a stark contrast between the record of the selected “apostle” and the works of The Holy Spirit. Don’t take my word for it. Read the book of Acts, and see whose name appears more often. The Spirit of God wins this contest, hands down. When the timing was right, Paul was selected by God’s hand, The Lord’s Presence, and empowered by The Spirit’s fullness to be The Apostle.
Note to self: Never underestimate your capacity to come up with a good idea. Never substitute physical action for biblical accuracy. Don’t let your good idea lead you to miss the mark of God’s idea.
Some believe the office of The Apostle has been re-instated, and then want others to believe their own name happens to be at the top of the list. Surprise! Unless they have seen The Risen Christ face to face, and been commissioned by Him, they don’t meet the biblical credentials.
The Promise of The Father is The Spirit of The Risen Christ. Don’t settle for any substitute. Never assume a good idea is God’s idea. Read The Word. Be filled with The Spirit. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!