Paul’s contribution to the New Testament is voluminous. He opens most of his letters to churches saying, “Paul, an apostle…” When we think of the word apostle nowadays, we associate different meanings with it. While there are several disagreements about the presence of apostles in churches today, there is no question that the Greek word “apostolos” is used throughout the New Testament. Interestingly enough, Jesus uses the word in John’s Gospel: “…no (apostolos) is greater than he who sent him” (John 13:16). Here it is used in a broad sense of one being sent by another.
The word has a close association to the Jewish institution of the Shaliach (meaning emissary, messenger, or agent). These special people acted as agents of another and were delegated authority. In fact, the authority of the sender was thought of as so tied up with the messenger that even if the messenger committed a sacrilege…
…it was the sender and not the messenger who was held responsible.
Can I be honest for a minute?
You know why clubs on Saturday are more full than churches on Sunday? Because people start to hold Jesus accountable for the stupid decisions that those to whom he has delegated authority have made.
“I don’t go to church because this pastor did that.” “My ex was ‘in the church’ and he was a horrible person.” “I just saw him in the club with me the other night…and he has the nerve to invite me to church.” Delegated authority is authority obtained from another who has authority since the authority does not naturally exist. Jesus exists in the supernatural. So he delegates authority that does not naturally to exist for us (flawed people). Because of this, most times people judge him by our actions, since we are his agents here on this earth. Are we being faithful agents of Jesus’ delegated authority or are folks judging the author and finisher of our faith by the way we represent him? The next time you feel the need to do something that you know is not spiritually profitable think of this very simple question.
Who Sent Ya?