Fixing our thoughts on Jesus, the Apostle
Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON JESUS, THE APOSTLE and high priest whom we confess” (NIV).
I have often heard of Jesus being our high priest, but thinking about Jesus being the apostle was a new concept. Maybe that is the case for you. Apostle means “sent out one.” Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He called his disciples around him and sent them out, giving them the status of apostleship. Even Paul, called himself an apostle, as though he was born late, since Jesus appeared to him after the ascension (Acts 9, 1 Cor. 15:8).
But what does it mean that Jesus is the apostle and how can we fix our thoughts on this aspect of Jesus?
We must go to the book of John to get Jesus’ version of His “apostleship” from the Father:
John 7:16 So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
John 13:16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
John 14:6-10 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
John 17:3, 6-8 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. . . I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me”
Jesus had a strong sense of His apostleship, being sent out from the Father. He did not speak on his own behalf, but on behalf of the Father. I think of apostleship in much the same way we think of ambassadors. An ambassador is sent out from one country to another, representing the heart of those who have sent him or her. In this way, Jesus was an ambassador, or apostle, sent from the Father to show us the heart of God. In fact, Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the radiance of the Father’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature. So whatever we see Jesus doing, we can be assured that this is what the Father is up to. How Jesus interacted with people, how He had compassion on them, and how He fought against the hypocritical religious elite was all an exact representation of the very heart of God.
It is interesting that the writer of Hebrews uses a title for Jesus as “apostle” that Jesus used for those He sent out. What could this mean for us? While we no longer have the office of apostle (that was reserved for the 12 disciples—with Judas replaced by Matthias— and Paul), we do have the role of apostle to which all of Christ’s followers are called. Second Cor. 5:17-20 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
It seems pretty clear that Christ’s apostleship (being sent out from the Father God) has huge implications for our lives. As Jesus was sent out, so He sends us out (John 20:21). May we fix our thoughts on Jesus, the APOSTLE . . . whom we confess.