How Jesus Chose The Apostles
The qualifications for being a Disciple of Jesus Christ were laid out by Peter in Acts 1:21-26:
21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
The criteria were correct, but the method used to make the actual choice was invalid. Here's how Jesus did it in Luke 6:12-13:
12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
The choice of who would be an apostle was too important to be made by a pseudo-choice expressed through the casting of lots to select between two pre-vetted individuals. That choice was too important to be done by anyone else except by Jesus Christ Himself. While it would be nice to know what he was thinking that influenced him in his choices, we must remember that he took responsibility for choosing Judas Iscariot. Thus, there had to be something about Judas himself, or the position he held, or the function that he fulfilled in the group, that was the reason for Jesus choosing him.
But back to Paul. One of Jesus' criteria that was cited by Peter was that the new Apostle had to have been an eyewitness of Jesus' life from his baptism by John to his Ascension. This could not be the case with Matthias, because the record is clear that only the Eleven, without Judas Iscariot, were present with Jesus in the Upper Room for the full duration of the Last Supper. If Matthias was not qualified because he was not present in the Upper Room, then how could Paul be qualified?
Paul attained his qualifications for being an Apostle because the post Resurrection and Ascended Jesus explicitly chose him, and took him through the important events of his life while he was here on earth via that series of visions that Paul claimed to have experienced himself. For instance, it was through this vision that he claimed to have witnessed the key events that took place at the Last Supper. His first encounter with Jesus was certainly an indirect way of attesting to the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, since dead men are not known to smack people off horses by shining a light from heaven on them.
We must not assume that the disciples were given a vision from Jesus Christ to accept Saul/Paul as an apostle, since we have this from Acts 9:27:
27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Readers of "Only a Metaphor?" should recognize that Barnabas appealed to the disciples to accept Saul based on the fruit he displayed. This fruit was not only the cessation of his persecution of Christians, but also his vigorous witness to the Divinity of Jesus Christ while he was in Damascus. Faced with someone whose behavior was fruitful and explicitly based on a knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Disciples accepted Saul into the brotherhood of believers.
We should note that Acts records several appearances of Jesus Christ to Saul/Paul, in addition to those appearances in visions that Paul cites in his letters. Of these, the vision of the Last Supper will be the most pertinent. It will be after that discussion that I will touch on how The Eleven came to accept Paul as one of their number.
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