Luke 6:13

ESV And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:
NIV When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
NASB And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:
CSB When daylight came, he summoned his disciples, and he chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles:
NLT At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:
KJV And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

What does Luke 6:13 mean?

Jesus is ready to choose His twelve primary disciples out of a great many who have been following Him. Even though Jesus pulls out twelve, many in the multitude still follow Him for part of His ministry; at least two, Barsabbas and Matthias, witness all of it (Acts 1:21–23).

A disciple is someone who learns from and emulates their teacher. In the time of the New Testament, rabbis would gather students to be their disciples, to learn their worldview and teach it to others. Throughout His ministry, Jesus had many disciples—including women, which wasn't common in that era. Every Christian should be a disciple. We should all learn from and seek to emulate Jesus. Jesus didn't call us just to be saved by Him but to follow Him (Matthew 4:19; 10:38; John 10:27).

The status of "apostle" can be confusing. Literally, "apostle" means "sent-out one." The passages in Matthew 10:1 and Mark 3:14–15 elaborate on this, as they specify that Jesus chooses the Twelve to go out and preach, heal, and expel demons with His authority. But there is a difference between the office of apostle and being more generally sent out. Only the Twelve—Matthias replacing Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26)—and Paul hold the office of apostle. Other men, including Barnabas (Acts 14:14) and Apollos (1 Corinthians 4:6, 9), are sent out with special blessing and authority of the church, but this is a role, not an office. Churches today who claim to have apostles are misinterpreting Scripture.

Jesus has already called out Andrew, Peter, James, John, and Levi—also called Matthew—for special attention (Luke 5:1–11, 27–28; Mark 1:16–20; 2:13–14). Now, He fills out the Twelve. Throughout the next few chapters, Jesus will give a general call for stronger discipleship to the public (Luke 6:46–49), exhort the Twelve to recruit more disciples (Luke 8:4–18), and invite the Twelve into a deeper, more committed discipleship that may require they follow Him to their own crosses (Luke 9:18–50).

Some speculate that each apostle is from or represents one of the twelve tribes of Israel. They can't be from every one of the tribes: Andrew and Peter are brothers, and James and John are brothers. Those pairs would include two men from the same tribe. Nor does Scripture specify that each apostle represents a specific tribe. Some use the numbers to claim the church replaces Israel in God's plan. If this means God is working through the church in the current age, perhaps, but God still has a plan for the literal nation of Israel. Certainly, the number twelve is symmetrical (Luke 22:29–30), but there is no one-to-one correlation. More likely, the placement of Jesus choosing the disciples so closely after several altercations with the traditional Jewish leaders (Luke 5:12–26; 5:29—6:11) acts as Jesus' judgment against those religious leaders.
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