2023 September – The Fifteen

The Fifteen

Many of you have watched Angel Studios’ series, The Chosen. I have seen the first two seasons and the beginning of the third. These episodes have given me a different perspective about the Holy Son of God, and His chosen disciples/apostles. The humanity of the man, Jesus, has been so much more apparent than I had envisioned before.

The episodes are free and definitely worth your time, in my humble opinion.

Angel Studios – The Chosen

You don’t have to be perfect to do God’s work. Look no further than these twelve men, whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Consider Christ’s careful, hands-on training of the original disciples for today’s modern disciples, us! 

Jesus chose ordinary men — fishermen, tax collectors, political zealots – and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from people who were otherwise unremarkable. The twelve disciples weren’t the stained-glass saints we imagine. On the contrary, they were truly human, all too prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, lapses of faith, and bitter failure. Simply put, they were flawed people, just like us. But under Jesus’ teaching and touch, they became a force that forever changed the world.

However, when all is said and done, there were actually fifteen apostles. As yet, the episodes of The Chosen have not depicted that far into the book of Acts. So, let’s look what was required to be an apostle.


 Some might say that because the word apostle means “one who is sent, or a messenger,” there can be apostles today; however, in the strictest sense, there were no other apostles, then or now.

Twelve original apostles (Matthew 10:2-4); Matthias, who took the place of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26); and Paul, who was chosen last through divine revelation (Acts 9). Some may wish to include Barnabas (Act 14:14), who would total thirteen or fourteen men alive during the formative years of the church. They were the architects and foundation of the church, giving it the authority and strength needed to complete the building.

The Last Supper - Courtesy of LeonardoDaVinci.net
  1. It was necessary for apostles to have been with Jesus and witnessed all of that to which He testified. They saw His miracles and sat at his feet while He taught the multitudes. They saw Him hang on the cross, and they witnessed His resurrection (Acts 1:1-3, 21, 22). But Paul’s witness and conversion was extraordinary (Acts 9:1-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:8).
  2. To be an apostle required that he be called to that position by the Lord. This was true of the twelve and it was true of Matthias and Paul (Acts 1:24; 22:14, 15).
  3. An apostle was divinely inspired. The new revelation that was to be given to the world was divinely communicated by these men who were guided by the Holy Spirit. Their word was to be received as the word of God (Galatians 1:11, 12; 2 Peter 1:20, 21). Others, for example, Mark, Luke, James and Jude, were also divinely inspired, but were not named as apostles.
  4. Apostles had the power to perform miracles by which they clearly established the truth of their teaching (2 Corinthians 12:12).

Miraculous Gifts Given to the Apostles

When Jesus began his personal ministry, He chose men whom He knew would carry on His work. He promised His apostles that the Holy Spirit would come upon them, giving them power, taking His place after He was no longer with them in the flesh. (Mark 16:17, 18; John 14:25, 26; 16:13; Acts 1:4).

After His death and resurrection, Jesus promised these chosen men that they would perform miracles and that the Spirit would guide them into all truth. We know, from our vision of faith through the Word of God, that Jesus’ promise to the apostles was fulfilled and His commission to preach the gospel was accomplished in the First Century, AD. Paul speaking,

“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” (Colossians 1:23).

 Preaching the gospel, (the good news surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), was the primary mission of the apostles. To enable them to remember everything that Jesus had taught them and for them to write accurately every word that was theirs to write, the Holy Spirit inspired them with perfect knowledge, understanding and ability to communicate the word to the people. It was not left to mere chance. And to give them proper credentials, the Holy Spirit enabled them to perform a variety of supernatural evidence to confirm to their hearers that they were indeed speaking the oracles of God. These abilities are called “signs of an apostle,” (2 Corinthians 12:12), “sign gifts,” or “confirming gifts.”

Signs of an Apostle

 To prove their message was true, the apostles were given power to:

  • Remember totally and accurately everything Jesus had said to them. (John 14:26).
  • Reveal the message of salvation to all nations. (Luke 24:45-47).
  • Drive out demons. (Mark 16:17).
  • Speak new tongues (languages). (Acts 28:5).
  • Pick up snakes with their hands. (Acts 28:5).
  • Drink deadly poison. (Mark 16:18).
  • Heal sick people by laying their hands on them. (Mark 16:18).
  • Reveal death. (Acts 5:5,10).
  • Overcome death. (Acts 9:36-42).
  • Reveal blindness. (Acts 13:9-11).
  • Extraordinary miracles happened through Paul. For example, handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and evil spirits left them. (Acts 19:12).
  • Not only did the apostles have power themselves, but by the laying on of their hands, they could give to other believers the power to perform some of these signs and miracles for the same purpose of confirming the word. However, it does not appear that those believers who were touched by the apostles could do everything the apostles could do, nor does it appear that they could in turn bestow powers of any kind on anyone else. (Which is another lesson for another time.)

To be continued…