The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

(If this Sunday is the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, read this devotion in the morning, and the devotion entitled, “The Sunday Before the Season of Lent” in the evening, under this same tab.)

Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16

The Foundation of the Church

These parallel passages from Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us the names of the original twelve apostles.  One might think this a humdrum passage of Scripture to stop and ponder, but we really should.  One of my purposes in writing these devotions is to correct popular misunderstandings, and I hope to do that here.  (By the way, Thaddaeus = Judas the son of James.)

We note that Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus went up to a mountain to pray, and continued so all night to God; in other words, Jesus saw this as a critical decision.  By now he had quite a following.  People from all over pressed in upon him, many probably for their own purposes.  We know that he had already chosen Peter, Andrew, James, John, Matthew, Philip, and Nathanael.  But now he decides to fill out this chosen band with five more, making twelve, the significance of which was that there were twelve tribes of Israel.  In other words, Jesus is (not so much replacing as) fulfilling the Old Testament, as the old covenant was the type of the new reality to come.  On these men, Christ would build his new people, his Church, these men being the foundation and he himself the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20-22).  Upon them, he bestowed immense authority.  Here, it is to cast out demons, heal, and preach the gospel. In John’s gospel, he breathes upon them the Holy Spirit who would declare the conditions of forgiveness according to the revelation given them by Christ (John 20:21-23).  The Apostle Paul, chosen afterwards, makes clear that he received the gospel “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).  These were the ones Christ “sent out.”

I write this because we have in our day those who may be called, “red-letter Christians”: they think that if Jesus didn’t say it, then it doesn’t matter (unless, of course, it matters to them).  Jesus said to his disciples just before his crucifixion, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12-13).  In other words, Jesus didn’t say it all when he walked the earth; it was left to the Holy Spirit to fill out the rest.  And the rest is what Jesus would have said, for Christ goes on to say, “He will not speak on his own authority,” and “He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (16:13-15).  And that is what these men proclaimed and recorded in those writings called the New Testament.  The Church has always viewed the separation of the apostolic writings from the gospels as heresy, and the separation of the Old Testament from the New as well.  These men are the indispensable foundation upon which the Church of Jesus Christ was built and lasts.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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