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Paul: an apostle because Jesus had met him

February 26, 2024
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Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 9:1-5, 1 Corinthians 15:7-9

1 Corinthians 9
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord? Aren’t you my work in the Lord? 2 If I’m not an apostle to others, at least I am to you! You are the seal that shows I’m an apostle. 3 This is my defense against those who criticize me. 4 Don’t we have the right to eat and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to travel with a wife who believes like the rest of the apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas?

1 Corinthians 15
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me, as if I were born at the wrong time. 9 I’m the least important of the apostles. I don’t deserve to be called an apostle, because I harassed God’s church.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

NOTE: It’s not too late to start reading Paul’s letters for Lent. Pastor Hamilton says, “Join me during Lent, as we focus on Paul’s messages, to read the 13 letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament–the earliest documents of our New Testament.” Click here to download our reading plan that will allow you to read all of Paul’s letters between now and Easter.

Paul regularly called himself an “apostle,” a term with a specific meaning for early Christians. “Paul regularly identifies himself as an apostle or divinely appointed missionary (1 Corinthians 9:2; 15:9; Romans 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1). An apostle must be a witness to the resurrected Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7-8); demonstrate signs of his apostleship (2 Corinthians 12:12); and prove himself through turning people to the faith (1 Corinthians 9:2).” * Paul’s path to that title was different, but he was sure that by God’s grace he qualified.

  • That was not just a matter of arguing pointlessly about titles or ranks. “The Book of Acts makes it clear that the supreme test of an apostle is that he is a witness of the Resurrection. (Acts 1:22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33). This is of intense importance. Faith, in the New Testament, is very seldom acquiescence in a creed; it is almost always trust in a person.” ** Paul’s deepest loyalty was not to a document or organization, but to Jesus, his Lord and Savior. Who claims your deepest loyalty?
  • As Paul met the living Jesus, it both upheld and upset his whole faith: “It showed him that the God he had been right to serve, right to study, right to seek in prayer…. had done what he always said he would…. The God who had always promised to come and rescue his people had done so in person. In the person of Jesus.” *** What have you had to learn and unlearn after meeting Jesus?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, no matter how it happens, meeting you is a life-changing experience. Thank you for meeting me in the ways I most needed and including me in your heavenly family. Amen.

GPS Insights

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt serves as Resurrection's Silverlink Pastor specializing in pastoral care of elderly adults. She is an ordained Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference and has served since 2007. She is married to Randall, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Elliott and Marlowe. When Emily is not in a care home sharing communion or with her family on another Kansas City adventure, you can find her curled up on the couch at home binge watching "Friends" or "Golden Girls."

The season of Lent holds a very powerful memory for me. When I was growing up, my home church had Wednesday evening Lenten services. Everyone would eat a meal together and then head upstairs for worship. Choir practice and all other extra programming was put on hold during Lent. I usually hated it because I loved the Wednesday nights that included time with my friends learning new songs or Scriptures. Who wanted to sit in a boring service? We already did that on Sunday mornings!

But I grew up in the family that if the church doors were open, we were there. So I went. And one worship service during Lent changed my life and faith deeply. I cannot even tell you what week of Lent it happened to be. All I can tell you is that I was about eight years old and understood for the first time that Jesus died for me too. Not just my grandparents or parents or the preacher or my Sunday school teachers. But for me too. Little Emily was included in his love.

As I grew up and started to make sense of my faith, I since figured out that this is what we would call in Wesleyan theology a moment of justifying grace. It is the sort of grace that turns you around, sets you on a new path with a new understanding. As I think about what I have had to learn after meeting Jesus, that little girl often comes to mind during this season. She believed so purely that Jesus was her Savior and that what the preacher said that evening applied to her life too. I suppose with that I have had to unlearn that Jesus was more interested in everyone else. Turns out, I am still working on that one. Faith is a journey. I pray you take a step to believe with me today that indeed, Jesus is for you too.  

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Charles A. Wanamaker, study note on 1 Corinthians 1:1 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 306 NT.
** William Barclay, The Letters to the Corinthians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 78.
*** Wright, N. T., Acts for Everyone, Part One: Chapters 1-12 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 141). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.