Tag: Apostle

Saluting an Unknown Soldier (James, Son of Alphaeus)

John MacArthurby John MacArthur

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Alphaeus” (Matt. 10:3).

God often uses ordinary people to accomplish great things.

Like most Christians, James the son of Alphaeus is an unknown and unsung soldier of the cross. His distinguishing characteristic is obscurity. Nothing he did or said is recorded in Scripture—only his name.

In Mark 15:40 he is called “James the Less,” which literally means “Little James.” That could refer to his stature (he might have been short), his age (he might have been younger than James the son of Zebedee), or his influence (he might have had relatively little influence among the disciples).

In Mark 2:14 Matthew (Levi) is called the son of Alphaeus. Alphaeus was a common name, but it’s possible that James and Matthew were brothers, since their fathers had the same first name. Also, James’s mother is mentioned in Mark 15:40 as being present at Christ’s crucifixion, along with other women. She is referred to as the wife of Clopas in John 19:25. Since Clopas was a form of Alphaeus, that further supports the possibility that James and Matthew were related.

From those references we might conclude that James was a small young man whose personality was not particularly powerful. If he was Matthew’s brother, perhaps he was as humble as Matthew, willing to serve the Lord without any applause or notice. Whichever the case, be encouraged that God uses obscure people like James, and rewards them accordingly. Someday James will sit on a throne in Christ’s millennial kingdom, judging the twelve tribes of Israel—just like the other more prominent disciples (Luke 22:30).

No matter how obscure or prominent you are from a human perspective, God can use you and will reward you with a glorious eternal inheritance.

by John MacArthur

 

Our High Calling In The Lord

David Wilkersonby David Wilkerson

On the day of accounting, I picture the apostle Paul being called forth. All of his soul-winning victories will be recounted, as well as all the churches he established. Then a number of unknown men and women from Antioch will be called forward to stand next to Paul. These are the people who fasted and prayed for the apostle, who laid hands on him and sent him out as a missionary. They also supported him with sacrificial gifts.

Why will these others be handed a portion equal to the apostle’s? It is because they played a part in every soul Paul won, every church he built, every trip he took.

God desires that we all rest—and rejoice—in our calling. Many Christians feel guilty that they’re not serving on a foreign mission field. But staying home is also a high calling in Jesus Christ. If you love the Lord and walk in His Spirit, you can be sure of your calling. God’s Word assures us: “Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:18).

Do you see what Paul is saying here? If you’re a church elder, you have a high calling in the Lord. The same goes for those who teach Sunday school. Yet the same is equally true for any single mother striving to raise her children for Christ. She has a high calling right where she is.

If you’re a businessperson, a lawyer, a doctor, rest in your calling. If you’re a salesperson, a mechanic, a teacher, a food service worker, you don’t have to try to work up a calling to some mission field to please God. Unless the Spirit Himself is stirring you, you can be at rest where you are.

“Ye are the body of Christ. . . . And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:27–31).

by David Wilkerson