Roots (Apostolic Authority)

Jesus’ plan for teaching the entire world his message was for it to be established with his hand picked apostles. They were the ones given the responsibility of “making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I [Jesus] have commanded you.”

I am not sure why Jesus planned it this way but it definitely worked. The apostles got to work and spread the message about Jesus as far as they could travel. And it was the apostles who were understood to be the authority on what Jesus wanted people to know. Basically, the earliest Christians understood that as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ they were to listen and submit to Jesus Christ’s chosen vessels to carry out his message to the world.

This is why Paul, when writing to the Ephesian Christians, described the “foundation” of the “house of God” as being the “apostles and prophets with Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone.”

What does this mean for us today?

If it was Jesus’ plan for the entire world to know his message through his apostles, it makes sense that they would write down his message for posterity. And this is exactly what they did and what we now have in the 27 documents we call the New Testament of the Bible. This means that if we want to be a disciple of Jesus we need to become very familiar with what Jesus is telling us through his apostles via the New Testament.

Why is the New Testament authoritative?

The New Testament documents are considered authoritative for Christians because the information within it is directly from the handpicked vessels of Jesus Christ himself. In short, the information contained in the New Testament was one hundred percent planned and orchestrated by the person we are disciples of.

Application

I have heard it said within many Christian circles, “that is how they did it back then but since times and cultures change, we do it differently now.” This is a dangerous mindset to have as a Christian for the reason that it misplaces the authority on truth and practice from the apostles and onto ourselves. In essence, we would be saying that we are the authority on establishing what Jesus wants us to do, not his apostles.

Paul addressed this issue with the Corinthian believers and wrote to them “did the word of God originate with you, or are you the only ones it has reached?” This was his way of saying that they had no right to come up with their own version of the word of God.

The same applies to us today. Does the word of God originate with us? Or should we go with Jesus’ plan of it being established through his chosen apostles? If we want to build our house on a solid foundation, it has to be a foundation that includes the apostles and what they wrote for us to know.

 

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