x373...Pastors instead of Apostles

There certainly seems to be a lot of pastors in the body of Christ today. There are many many people whom we call pastors. They are certainly all, people who strongly desire to serve the Lord, and they take on a difficult job---perhaps a job which God never asked any one person to do.

But, when we look in the Bible, it's hard to find anyone who was called a pastor! In the new testament, there were lots of "apostles" ("messengers"--those who are "sent" of God'" to do His work in the world)--we see many prophets and teachers, and we see one man who is called an evangelist (Philip--see Acts 8)--but we don't at first see anyone who is directly called a "pastor".

The word "pastors" is used only used one time in the entire new testament (It is used about 12 other times in the old testament--but those pastors were very wicked leaders over Israel--yipes!). the one reference to "pastors" is in the book of ephesians, chapter 4--


"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:7-12, KJV).

So we see that there are meant to be "pastors" in the body of Christ--there certainly is a "pastoral anointing" as these are "the gift of Christ"--the gift of the Anointed One and His anointing. But it seems at first , that there is no real example of a "pastor" in the Bible--or is there?

This is the Greek word for "pastor", and it's meaning --


poimen poimen {poy-mane'} n m

-----shepherd 15, Shepherd 2, pastor 1; 18

1) a herdsman, esp. a shepherd
1a) in the parable, he to whose care and control others have
committed themselves, and whose precepts they follow
2) metaph.
2a) the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly:
so of Christ the Head of the church
2a1) of the overseers of the Christian assemblies
2a2) of kings and princes


Now, let's notice something. This Greek word--which is translated once as "pastors" is used 14 other times in the New Testament--but has been translated as the word "shepherd"

Now, here comes something that to me, at least, was a revelation. Every one of these other references--every other time the word "poimen" is used in the Bible, it refers to one person. There is only one person in the Bible who is directly referred to as a "pastor" --guess who--Jesus!

Let's take a look at all of these verses..


Mt 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mt 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
Mr 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
Mr 14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.
Joh 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Joh 10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
1Pe 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.


Now, lets study what Jesus says a "good pastor" will do--what He calls the functioning of a "good pastor" will be.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
(John 10:1-21, KJV).


In these verses, Jesus is telling first a parable, and then the explanation of this parable to a group of people, some of which are Pharisees. Jesus explains what a good pastor (shepherd) will do, but the explanation that He is giving is in reaction to something that He has just done. In order to fully understand what Jesus is speaking about in these verses, we should read the entire segment of the Bible--in context, to receive the full understanding of what He is saying. So let's read John chapter 9, which will give us some insight into what is going on --


"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
(John 9:1-41, KJV).


As we can see, Jesus words go from John 9:41 into the next chapter--He is continuing to speak to these Pharisees and people who are gathered around the blind man who was healed.

In John 9, a most amazing thing happens. We see the amazing healing that Jesus does to the blind man--but there is much more that is happening when we look carefully.

This man has been judged a sinner by the Pharisees--and apparently the disciples of Jesus agree with this idea--But Jesus says that the man has been made blind--"that the works of God should be made manifest in him.". What Jesus is saying is that He will heal this man--but also raise him up to the place where he can serve God.

Jesus "anoints" the man with the mud He has made, and tells him to " wash in he pool of Siloam" which is by interpretation, "Sent"--

the world "Sent" used above is the word "apostello" in the Greek--


apostello {ap-os-tel'-lo} v

----send 110, send forth 15, send away 4, send out 2, misc 2; 133

1) to order (one) to go to a place appointed
2) to send away, dismiss
2a) to allow one to depart, that he may be in a state of
liberty
2b) to order one to depart, send off
2c) to drive away



This is the root word of "apostle". The interpreters of the Bible chose not to interpret certain words that gave a title to many new testament people--(for example they chose to "title" Jesus as the "Christ"---the anointed One and His anointing--the Greek word "Christos")--Peter, Paul, Matthew--etc were given the title "apostles" which simply meant that they were "those who were sent"--messengers of God to do His will in the earth. Jesus describes Himself as being "sent" of God the Father--(see John chapter 17 among many others)--This traditon of titling certain people goes back to the Latin vulgate of the Roman church--to a time when people were already worshipping these "saints of the church".


After he receives his sight--the man goes about and witnesses Jesus to everyone he meets--including the pharisees--the man immediately begins to "work the works"--he immediately begins to serve God--He has been baptized into his apostleship--he has the boldness to ask the pharisees "do you also want to become His disciples?" (verse 27).

Jesus has certainly "sent" this man--he has made him an apostle--He has released him into serving God--the person whom everyone else has judged a sinner!

But is this unusual? That a person meets Jesus, has their life turned around--and is baptized into apostleship? Not according to the Bible--Acts chapter 9 and John chapter 9 read like duplicate stories. In Acts 9 we see the story of a man named Saul--who begins the chapter "breathing out threats and murder against the church".

Saul meets Jesus--but is made blind--until he walks into the church of Damascus (the very people he was going to attack!)--they take him in, pray for him and he is healed--but they immediately baptize him--


"And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God."
(Acts 9:18-20, KJV).


Saul is baptized--and after only a few days with the disciples at Damascus he walks directly into his apostleship!

The freedom that meeting Jesus gives us, should not be considered unusual. The free release to ministry--the apostlship which we recevie when we meet the Lord is apparent by Biblcal example, Biblcal doctrine, as well as testimonial example. And it is an intricate part of Jesus' ministry and purpose, every bit as important as the Gospel itself!


"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty (Greek: "apostello"!) them that are bruised,"
(Luke 4:18, KJV).


But of let's go back to John 9 and 10. At the end of chapter 9 we see that the blind man again meets Jesus, and he now confesses his belief. Some of the pharisees who were with Jesus then ask a question--"Are we blind also?" They are amazed at what they have seen Jesus do in the blind man--a person whom everyone had judged a sinner--Jesus sees as an apostle. But isn't that just like our Lord!?

But now, Jesus' answer gets even more interesting. In chapter 9 verse 41 Jesus answers them--but then His words continue directly into chapter 10--and as we can see the setting doesn't change all the way into chapter 10 and verse 21.

The answer that Jesus gives these pharisees--first in parable form, and then by explanation---is that he is demonstrating how to be a "good pastor!" Jesus explains it in verse 9--

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
(John 10:9, KJV).

Jesus explains that He "saves" (sozo---heals completely) but His leading--His pastoral work, frees people to "go in and out and find pasture". Jesus is saying that His pastoral ministry is to lead people --to baptize people into their ministry--to release people to serve God in the gift and calling that they have.

Jesus answer to the question of the pharisees' blindness is that a good shepherd releases His sheep to the point where they can serve God. A good shepherd finds the blind--the sinner--and sees the gift inside of that person--and leads them to the baptism--the immersion that will release them into their gift and calling. Jesus calls being a good pastor--the act of releasing apostles.


"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;"
(Matthew 9:35-10 2, KJV).


Here is another of the few places where the world "poimen" is used in the Bible. Jesus sees the multitudes and realizes the He cannot reach every one--so He prays for laborers. He then calls together His disciple (students) and gives them the very same authority (power) that He had (compare 9:35 and 10:1) Jesus releases His power--His authority (to heal the sick to cast out devils--to preach the Gospel of the kingdom--sounds a lot like Luke 4:18 again--right?!) to His disciples--and suddenly, in 10:2 they are now called "apostles" (those who are sent--see also 10:5)

The sending out of apostles--the releasing of people to serve God with power and authority is what the pastoral ministry is all about according to the Bible.


"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."(Matthew 10:1-16, KJV).


Let's continue reading in this area. We see that Jesus pastoral annointing is to release the disciples, they are then called "apostles"--(if we could only tranlsate the Bible 100% into English we might understand that ministry is a function--NOT a title!!). But let's take a look at the word "sheep" which is used here.

What does "sheep" mean to you? Is it the word that is used to describe the "congregation"--the "lay people"--the group of people who are not minsters in your church? LOOK AT IT'S 3 USES IN THIS AREA OF SCRIPTURE.....


(9:36) " But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."

(10:6) "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

(10:16) "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."


The fact is that the word sheep is a metaphor. And like any metaphor, it can only be understood in reference to the context in which it is used. Notice that in 9:36 and 10:6, the reference is made to the lost being like sheep. This makes sense to us--the lost are being lead by their sin--they are in need of the Gospel, and the healing and deliverance and love that only Christ can bring to them.The unsaved are "dumb" in that way--they are Spiritually ignorant. The connotation of ignorance alwyas sems to cling to the concept of what "sheep" are. But what about verse 16?? Suddenly Jesus refers to the apostles as sheep!! When we look at all the uses here, (and let's remember--this is one of the few references of "sheep and shepherd" in the new testament) it is very clear that "sheep" is simply a metaphor, which means group of people. It can be a group of lost souls, or it can be a group of apostles.

It is a huge problem in the Christian church, that we have, by tradition and ignorance to scripture, taken a metaphor, and turned it into the operational plan for the church!


"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Also notice that when Jesus refers to the apostles as sheep, the lost are now the wolves. The metaphors have shifted--but the point is being made, that the apostles are NOT to use the authority He has given them to rule the people. They are to minister to them, NOT rule them. Jeuss doesn't say to the apostles--" I now release you to be ruling pastors over that flock"--rather He is saying to be like them--to serve them--by His example..

"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord......"(Matthew 10:24-25)

Jesus goes onto say this directly in verses 24-25. Jesus is a Lord who serves. He is our Lord, and we are to be as Him. His example of ministry was to lay His life down for others. And the act of releasing others to serve God, is what the pastoral ministry is meant to be.