According to the dictionary definition, the words apostle and disciple mean the same thing – “one who is a follower of Christ”. However, the word apostle has come to refer to one of the original 12 followers of Christ. It means ‘one who is sent’.
When we think of those Apostles and their relationship with Jesus it is hard not to feel some envy. They were his friends. He talked with them, laughed with them, partied with them. They felt the weight of his affectionate arm around their shoulder. These are the things that we can only dream about as we wait to see Jesus in heaven.
Not only do we envy their relationship with Jesus, we may also be inclined to think that it couldn’t really have been that hard for them to live and share their faith, after all, they really KNEW Jesus in the flesh. The truth is that it was very hard for the Apostles. Even though they loved him and called him “Teacher”, they weren’t always convinced that he was the long awaited Messiah. They were often confused and afraid. It was only after the Ascension of Jesus when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost that they gained the grace and power and wisdom to spread the Good News of the Gospel with authority.
While the Apostles experienced Jesus as a Man, we experience him as God, and through the teachings of the Church, we have the full assurance that Jesus truly is God. We have the same Holy Spirit guiding us who led the Apostles but we also have so much more. We have the Church and her sacred teachings, the Bible, the Sacraments, and the promises of Christ.
He said, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12
We, the Church, are the body of Christ, and Jesus works through us. We can be the presence of God’s love to one another. In this way we become the Hands and Feet of Christ passing his own love on to others.
Do not envy the close relationship Jesus had with his Apostles, for Jesus is very much alive today and he longs for a close relationship with you. He has given us all that we need to be Dynamic Disciples. We need only trust and obey.