7.6.2 The function of the apostolate

The most important references to the work of the Apostles can be derived from the words and deeds of Jesus:


  • Christ gave the Apostles the authority to "bind and loose" (Matthew 18: 18). This formulation speaks to the fact that the Apostles, together with the Chief Apostle, comprise the spiritual leadership of the Church and that they decide on the ordinances of congregational life.
  • It was in the circle of His Apostles that the Son of God instituted Holy Communion, which they were then to celebrate in accordance with His example (Luke 22: 14, 19-20).
  • The Apostles are ambassadors for Jesus Christ (John 13: 20; 20: 21).
  • Through the Holy Spirit, the Apostles receive the essential knowledge required for the exercise of their ministry (John 14: 26).
  • The Apostles are dependent on their direct relationship with the Lord, "for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered" (John 15: 5-6).
  • Jesus issued His Apostles the authority to proclaim forgiveness of sins in His name (John 20: 23).