Our Saints: The Reverend Apostles

First, we should mention that those reverend Apostles had been called for their mission by Jesus Christ himself. He
is the One who said to them:" You did not choose Me, but I chose you
and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your
fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may
give you" (Jn15:16)

And Jesus Christ also said to them after the Resurrection" As the Father has sent Me, I also send you"(Jn20:21).

How
gracious it is that God's servants are called to the service by God
Himself. St. Paul the Apostle said in his Epistle to the Hebrews "And
no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just
as Aaron was"(Heb5:4).

In the Old Testament, we find examples of God's calling:

As
when God called Noah (Gn6), and our father Abraham (Gn12), also when
God called Jacob the father of all fathers and said to him" I am with
you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this
land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to
you"(Gn28:15). God blessed him and gave him a new name (Gn32:28). God
had also called Moses, He granted him the power of working miracles,
and God said to him "I have made you as God to Pharaoh" (Ex7:1). And
also said "Not so with my servant Moses; He is faithful in all my
house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark
sayings; And he sees the form of the Lord. (Nm12:7, 8).

All those whom God called, were blessed. And God granted them with special grace.

God
had called Jeremiah from the day he was in his mother's womb. He said
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I
sanctified you; ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jer1:5). And
God also said "They will fight against you,

but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you," says the Lord, "to deliver you" (Jer1:19).

God
had also called Joshua and said to him" No man shall be able to stand
before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be
with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you" (Jos1:5).

When God called The Apostles in the New Testament: He granted them a special grace. It was said that He loved His own who were in theworld,
He loved them to the end. (Jn13:1). And said to them: "I go to prepare
a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be
also." (Jn14:2, 3). And about them He said to the Father ", I desire
that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am", and also
said "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them." (Jn17:24,
22).

God
loved them so much that, after the Resurrection, He granted them the
grace of Priesthood with all its power. He breathed on them and said
"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are
forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained"
(Jn20:22.23).

And on the day of Pentecost, God filled them with the Holy Spirit and the talent of speaking with other tongues (Acts2).

And
because He loved them so much He said to them: "Abide in Me, and I in
you." (Jn15) Like a branch to the vine, abide in My love.

In
this concern, St. Paul the Apostle said "I have been crucified with
Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal2:20).

Our Reverend Apostles were the initiators of many incidents:

They
are the first who were blessed by the grace of Priesthood according to
the rite of Melchizedek. And they are the ones who gave over the grace
of Priesthood to others whom they ordained as Bishops, Priests and
Deacons. They also established the Christian Socialism System; they had
everything in common (Acts 2, 4), the believers sold their possessions
and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had needed…

They
are the first who convened a Holy Council. This was in Jerusalem
(Acts15). This Council discussed the issue of accepting the Gentiles in
the faith and how to deal with them.

They
are, as well, the first who chose by lots in the New Testament when
they were choosing Judas successor and the lot fell on Matthias.
(Acts2).

They are the first who spoke with foreign tongues when they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

They are the first who had set rules and constitutions of the Holy Church.

They
are the first who instituted Churches and constructed it as well, this
is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts9:31): "Then the churches
throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified.
And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy
Spirit, they were multiplied". I loved this phrase so much that I wrote
it on every occasion of constructing any of our new Churches in the
States or in the UK.

Churches
were at first inside the believers' homes as St. Mark's (Acts 12:12).
It was also in Cemeteries, and then Churches started to be constructed,
also, during the Apostles' era.

The
Apostles are the first who made the Holy Chrism (anointing oil), as
mentioned in (1Jn2:20, 27) "But you have an anointing from the Holy One
". Believers, at first, received the Holy Spirit when the Apostles laid
their hands on them as mentioned in (Acts8), (Acts19). And when
Churches grew in number in many different countries, the Apostles then
used the Sacrament of the Holy anointing (Myron).

The Reverend Apostles were the first preachers, and that shows how importantly great they were:

That
was after the day of Pentecost when they obeyed God's saying to them;
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts1:8).

Their
missionary started on the day of Pentecost when they attracted 3000
souls to the faith and baptized them (Acts2:41). and then when they
healed the lame man at the gate of the temple which was called
Beautiful, they then said to the chiefs of the Jews: it is not by our
own power or godliness we had made this man walk…and the Apostles
directed the people's attention to God the Holy One whom they delivered
up and denied when they asked for a murderer to be granted to them
instead…and they said that through faith in His name, the lame man
stood and walked (Acts3). Then many of those who heard the word
believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand
(Acts4:4).

And
after ordination of the seven Deacons, we read that: "the word of God
spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in
Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith"
(Acts6:7).

After
a great persecution had arisen against the church which was at
Jerusalem, and lots were all scattered, we also read that "those who
were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts8:1, 4).

We
then read about the faith of the Samarians, and that the Apostles sent
them the two Saints Peter and Paul who laid their hands on them so they
received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8).

Preaching
then started to be extended throughout Cities, and lots of territories,
as from Jerusalem it extended to Antioch. The Disciples were first
called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Then preaching moved forward
outside of Judea and Galilee to Cyprus and Minor Asia, to the Western
direction in Greece and Rome and towards the East in Iraq and India,
also it moved towards the South to Egypt and Libya and in the Northern
direction to Europe.

During 30 years of time, preaching has been extending in such a great success.

Saul of Tarsus, his faith had helped the preaching missionary to grow (Acts9), Saul whom God appeared to him and called him to be a prophet for the Gentiles.
Preaching grew with the great effort of this great Saint, whom Bernaba
participated with for some time, then St. Mark with lots of other
disciples who then became Preachers.

God granted the Reverend Apostles a power of working miracles; this power helped strengthening their preaching.

In
this concern, the Bible says "And through the hands of the apostles
many signs and wonders were done among the people…And believers were
increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so
that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds
and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on
some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to
Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean
spirits, and they were all healed" (Acts5:12-16).

Concerning
St. Paul the Apostle, the Bible says" Now God worked unusual miracles
by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought
from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil
spirits went out of them." (Acts19:11, 12).

We can notice in their preaching the quality of courage and endurance.

when
the Chief Priests wanted to stop them, and threatened them not to speak
at all nor teach in the name of Jesus, they answered and said to them:
"we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard"
(Acts4:20). On the contrary, they replied courageously "We ought to
obey God rather than men"(Acts5:29).

When
the Apostles were whipped and imprisoned, they went rejoicing out of
jail that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. "And
daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching
and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts5:41, 42).

they
were preaching everywhere, even along the roads as when Philip preached
the Ethiopian eunuch who was sitting in his chariot reading the
scripture of Isaiah the prophet, the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near
and overtake this chariot" and Philip preached Jesus to him. When he
believed, Philip baptized him and then he went on his way rejoicing
(Acts8:27-39).

And
also Paul the Apostle who preached the Gospel to the jailer when he was
in the prison of Philippi, the jailer was saved and his entire
household (Acts16). God's Angel was always getting the Reverend
Apostles out of jails, then they resume their preaching mission and
chiefs became amazed of what they do.

They employed all methods of preaching.

St.
Paul the Apostle says" and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might
win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I
might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as
without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward
Christ, that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I
became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to
all men, that I might by all means save

some"
(1Cor9:20-22). And also said "For if I preach Of God and teaching the
things which concern the the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for
necessity is Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one laid upon
me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the forbidding him." (Acts28:30,
31). gospel" (1Cor9:16). St. Paul spoke also of God's word before both

And
as they preached the Gospel in the Felix the Governor (Acts24), and
King Agrippa Sanctuary, in prison and along the road; St. Paul
(Acts26). The Apostles preached the Gospel and lots preached at
Areopagus in Athens (Acts17:22). "Dwelt of the Epistles, in addition to
their oral education. two whole years in his own rented house, and May
their prayers and their intercession be with received all who came to
him, preaching the kingdom all of us. Amen.

 

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