We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Apostle.’
The author of Hebrews refers to the Son of God as ‘the apostle’: ‘Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess’ (Hebrews 3:1).
Now usually we associate the name ‘apostle’ with the twelve disciples who Jesus called to be his twelve apostles: ‘He appointed twelve– designating them apostles– that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons’ (Mark 3:14-15).
So what does it mean that Jesus is also an apostle? The English word ‘apostle’ is really just a transliteration of the Greek word which comes from the verb ‘to send’. Thus the word apostle in Greek usually refers to messengers.
So why would the Son of God be called ‘the sent one’? Just like the name ‘apostle’ for the twelve disciples tells us that they were ‘sent’ for a particular task, so too the name ‘apostle’ for Jesus tells us that he was sent for a particular task.
So what was Jesus sent to do? In the context of the book of Hebrews, one of the reasons Jesus was sent was to speak God’s word to humanity. The book of Hebrews opens with: ‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe’ (Hebrews 1:1-2). God has always sent always sent messengers with his word. But in these last days, Jesus is the ultimate messenger from God.
Also, Jesus was sent to atone for sin. The book of Hebrews makes much of the fact that God raised up priests in the family of Aaron. But none of them were able to make sacrifices that truly covered sin. Whereas Jesus was sent to offer the perfect sacrifice of his own body which truly does atone for sin. We read later in the book: ‘now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself’ (Hebrews 9:26).
The words of John’s gospel are in complete agreement: ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son’ (John 3:17-18).
Yet these are only two of the big reasons God sent his Son. Jesus himself says: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor’ (Luke 4:18-19). Thus, we could easily talk endlessly about why Jesus is an apostle.
But, at least, do you believe Jesus was sent to reveal God to you? Was he sent by God to pay for your sins?