When YESHUA chose His disciples, eleven of them came from Galilee, where the people were hot-headed, impulsive, like James and John:
'Call down fire from heaven on these sinners, these Samaritans who refuse to offer us hospitality.'
The LORD can do something with people like that, but He only chose one Judean; the Judeans were icily correct. But they were not all so cold; many of them, but not all. So we find here in the book of Ephesians, a letter written by a Judean with a warm heart.
Let's come now to the Letter. If you wish to know more about Ephesus, get a good Bible dictionary, or Bible encyclopaedia, and you get there the history of the city and you find out how it became a very important city in the Roman Empire. That is something you can investigate at your pleasure.
Now let us look at our text from verse 1 of Ephesians, Chapter 1:
'Paul, an apostle of YESHUA Ha'Mashiach by the will of GOD.' There is a world of meaning in that salutation. Paul is the Greek name for 'Saul'. He just changed the 'S' into a 'P'. And we find also, other examples in the Tanakh. Daniel's name was changed to Belt'shatzar, and his friends, Hananyah, Mishae'el, and Azaryah, had these musical sounding names changed for Shadrakh, Meishakh, and Aved-N'go; in which names there are the names of the idols of Babylon. But in the case of Paul, the word 'Paul' means 'small'. He must have been short, one of the short people. There is a pop song many years ago about short people. Well, Paul was on the short-side. He wasn't imposing; he wasn't like his namesake, the first king of Israel, Saul, son of Kish. Saul, son of Kish, from his shoulders and upwards, he was higher than anybody else in Israel; he had such a handsome appearance. Someone could have called him 'Mr. Features'!
Saul of Taurus was not like that. Tradition says that he was short; he was bald; he was bow-legged. And he had something the matter with his eyes that made him look ugly at times. And yet this man was an 'angel' of GOD; a messenger of GOD; and arch-sufferer for the Messiah. I don't know if anyone, beside Messiah, suffered as much as Paul did. It's debatable, but I wonder whether he was not the greatest sufferer, second only to Messiah.
'an apostle.' The word is 'shaliach' in Hebrew. The word 'apostle', 'apostolos' in Greek means 'the sent one'. Just as Saul was sent, so were the prophets. Do you remember when we were looking at Isaiah, Chapter 6, Isaiah saw the LORD
'high and lifted up.' (Isaiah, Chapter 6, and verse 8). And he says, his
'train filled the Temple.' He saw the LORD in His Holiness! And incidentally, the LORD he saw, we find in the Gospel of Yochanan, was no other than Messiah! The Son of GOD!
He hears the voice of the LORD in verse 8:
'Also I heard the voice of the LORD saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'' So just as Shaul was sent, so was Isaiah sent; so was Jeremiah, and all the prophets; they were sent. Amos, the Prophet, was once accosted by the priest of Bethel, who said, 'What business have you got, preaching here? This is the king's chapel where he worships his golden calf. What right have you to be here?' And Amos said,
'I was one of the people who was a gatherer of sycomore fruit.' Literally, I pinched sycomore fruit. That's all he was; he was a herdsman, and he used to go around pinching those wild sycomore figs to make them ripen in a hurry. That's how they used to make them ripen. Pinch them; bruise them. That ripened the fruit. And he says,
'The LORD took me from following the flock, and said, 'Go and prophesy to My people, Israel.'' Amos was sent.
And in a real sense, all of us, everyone of us that believe in the LORD YESHUA, can say, 'The LORD has sent us on His errand.' It's our wisdom to find out what that errand is, and then go for it!
'an apostle.' He reminds us of who the apostles were. They were fallible human beings. But the revelation that they were given was infallible. In his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, he says,
'We have this treasure; this treasure of the Gospel in clay jars.' We are only clay jars! No credit to us. But inside this clay jar there is an invaluable treasure. It is the treasure of the Besorah, the Gospel. Those clay jars that were found in the Dead Sea, in the region around the Dead Sea, had invaluable treasure inside; the Scroll of Isaiah, scrolls from other Books of the Tanakh. Nearly all the Books of the Tanakh were found either whole, or in part. In those clay jars where the Essenes had hidden them in the dry, hot climate of the Dead Sea.
So he says, we are
'clay jars,' but we have a great treasure. And because we are clay jars, we are fallible. We are fallible human beings. There is no such thing as an infallible prophet in his own right. Even Nathan, the Prophet, the friend of David, made a mistake. Do you remember, David said, 'Here am I, dwelling in a palace, and the Ark of GOD is in a tent.' And Nathan knew what David was referring to. He said, 'Go and do all that is in your heart. The LORD is with you.' Nathan was right, the LORD was with David, but GOD came to Nathan and said,
'Go back and tell My servant, David, 'You're not going to build Me a Temple.'' So Nathan had to swallow his words and go back and say, 'I'm sorry, your majesty, I was wrong. I didn't consult GOD.'