Men, as in members of the human race, yes, but in other ways they were different from other disciples of Jesus Christ. Luke records that Jesus “called His disciples to Him; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles” (Lk 6:12-16). Some three years later He commissioned them to preach the saving gospel of Christ in all the earth (Matt 28:18-20). He empowered them with “the Promise of the Father…the Holy Spirit,” to fulfill that commission (Acts 1:4-8). Did the apostles speak, face to face, to every person on earth? No, but they brought the gospel to strategic locations throughout the world and taught others to carry it to the far reaches of the globe.
Acts the second chapter records the apostles receiving “the Promise of the Father,” (i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit). “Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
The antecedent of the pronouns “they…them” is the word “apostles” used in chapter one verse twenty-six. The apostles were the ones who, on Pentecost, were “speaking…the wonderful works of God” in the languages of all that were present that day to hear the first preaching of the gospel (cf. 2:5-13).
Why do we speak so often of the apostles? The reason is that they were empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal all truth to man. Read these statements made by Jesus specifically to them:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…” (Jn 14:15-17).
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (Jn 14:26).
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn 15:26-27).
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…” (Jn 16:12-13).
Again, the antecedent of the underscored pronouns is the twelve apostles minus Judas (cf. Jn 13:23).
Today, the Holy Spirit works with the hearts of men through the gospel. He is not revealing new truth to mankind through other sources. The reason the apostles of Jesus Christ are so important, is that we can look to them for “all truth,” “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jn 16:13; 2 Pet 1:3; Jd 3).
Paul tells us that the “members of the household of God,” (i.e., the church) is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:19-20). We must take heed how we build upon that foundation. For that foundation will not support the doctrines and traditions of men (Matt 7:21; 15:8-9). Therefore, we are to look to the Lord and His apostles for our rule of faith and practice in this life.