Salvation: How were The Twelve Apostles saved?
I think people assume the twelve apostles were saved the same way people are saved today. But is that true? People are saved today by believing in the gospel as presented by the apostle Paul.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]
Salvation comes to anyone today when or if they choose to believe this message of the cross and resurrection.
II Corinthians 5:19-21
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]
But did the apostles even know about these things in the timeframe discussed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Were they then believing and expecting Christ to die for their sins and be raised on the third day? They were not! The Bible record clearly shows that they were shocked when Christ was arrested, tried, and crucified.
31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. [Emphasis added]
Furthermore, the record also shows that they weren’t hanging around Christ’s tomb, expecting Him to be raised on the third day. All this came as a complete surprise to them. Instead, they had been expecting Him to establish a long-prophesied earthly kingdom. Even after His resurrection, they were still then expecting Him to establish that promised kingdom. Right before His ascension, this was the question most pressing on their minds.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Instead of giving them a direct answer, notice what He says.
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. [Emphasis added]
He, of course, knew He wasn’t going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time. But if He had told them that, they would have been highly disappointed and disillusioned. Instead, He commissioned them to go forth with that which is called the gospel of the kingdom, beginning their ministry in Jerusalem.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. [Emphasis added]
The passage most referred to that speaks of their commissioning is this one.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The apostle Mark also tells us about this.
32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,
33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:
34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. [Emphasis added]
Then later, after His death and resurrection, we have His commission to them. The Mark 16 account is more detailed than what is given in the Matthew 28 passage.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. [Emphasis added]
You’ll notice that they were not only given a message, but miraculous abilities to help convince their hearers of the authenticity of their message.
Some people claim that the last part of Mark 16 is not found in the best manuscripts of the Scriptures, but such is not the case. Besides, other passages of Scripture tell us the apostles did those very things described in Mark 16 after Christ’s ascension.
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. [Emphasis added]
Altogether these things were done to provide even more proof of the authenticity of their message.
But how were these men saved? Were they saved because they were expecting Christ to die for their sins and be raised? Note still more of what the Scriptures tell us about that.
31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. [Emphasis added]
Obviously, they couldn’t believe in something for salvation that they didn’t understand.
44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying. [Emphasis added]
Again, they were obviously not saved by believing Christ was going to die for their sins and be raised on the third day. So, what did they believe? How is it that salvation was given to them? The answer to that is to do with their belief in Who He was as their promised Messiah. Notice Christ’s questioning of them concerning this, giving them an opportunity to openly express what they were believing.
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Then notice our Lord’s response to Peter’s declaration.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. [Emphasis added]
Therefore, salvation came to those who believed in His identity as the promised Messiah of Israel. This is what all those passages are about that speak of the importance of believing in His “name” for salvation. Who was He? He was the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah of Israel.
Of course, those who believed this were also ones who worked at following the Mosaic Law. That activity alone couldn’t save them because nobody could follow it perfectly. It was for that reason that they all needed a Savior. But this Jesus of Nazareth was their Savior and their Christ. Their faithfulness to work at following the Mosaic Law and by believing in this Jesus as their Messiah provided them with eternal salvation.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [Emphasis added]
His ministry was to lead them to believe in Who He was. Salvation came when someone accepted His true identity.
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. [Emphasis added]
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [Emphasis added]
Obviously believing in His name, His identity was not optional for salvation.
Some of the apostle John’s closing words in his writing of “the Gospel of John” is to do with this very thing.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
This was not only Israel’s means of salvation in the past but will be again in the time of the coming Tribulation period after the Rapture and before Christ’s Second Coming to the Earth. The message will then include the cross and resurrection, but it will also be about Christ’s identity, His name. [Emphasis added]
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
This first part of this passage was fulfilled in the first century, but this last part will not be fulfilled until the coming seven-year period of tribulation that occurs after the Rapture of the Church, the Body of Christ.
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. [Emphasis added]
Acknowledging Him as the Savior and as their promised Messiah will provide them with eternal salvation.
Scripture makes it clear that it is this Man Jesus Who is the world’s only hope. There is none other like Him.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [Emphasis added]
If you’ve not received Jesus Christ as your Savior, why not do that now? He knows your thoughts and your beliefs. Put your faith in His death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for your salvation and you’ll be saved immediately and forever.