Your comment seems to make a mistake early on. The Gospels and Acts don’t use the word “apostle” in the same way as Paul does. In the former, the apostles are just the twelve apostles, i.e. the twelve disciples. Here, only the twelve are apostles. In Paul, the word apostle refers to anyone who has been sent out. Paul lists many apostles who are not and were never members of the twelve disciples, as I will soon show.
- Why did Jesus choose 14 men total? The original 12, then Matthias through lots and finally Paul in a vision to be the Apostles sent out by him? Why did he not pick a woman?
This mixes things up. Firstly, Jesus chose twelve disciples. Jesus did not choose Matthias. Matthias was chosen by the leadership of the church in the aftermath of the casting of lots. Jesus did send Paul out, but He did not send Paul out as one of the twelve disciples. Nor does Jesus call Paul an “apostle”. But Paul uses the word apostle to refer to anyone who Jesus sends out, it seems, not just the twelve disciples, and so included himself as an apostle. But he also included plenty of others as apostles, including Jesus’s brothers (1 Cor. 9:5), Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), and Timothy and Silas (1 Thess. 1:1 + 2.7). Keep in mind that you may read a translation say ‘messenger’ for Epaphroditus. But the word in the Greek, apostoulous, is the same as the one usually translated as apostle.
But it is not true that Jesus only chose twelve. He chose twelve individuals to be a part of the special group called “the twelve”. But Jesus chose WAY more than twelve people. Luke 10:1 says that Jesus sent out seventy-two individuals. We don’t know whether they were men or women. At best, your quotations from Acts 1 shows that only men were to be a part of “the twelve” in particular. But that’s not the same as only men being apostles, which is different. That answers question 2. Honestly, I don’t see the relevance of questions 3-4.
What’s the scriptural evidence that Junia was handpicked by Jesus Christ himself and sent out to be one of his chosen apostles with the ability to lay on hands?
There’s no scripture that says Jesus chose Junia, but there’s also no scripture that says Jesus chose Timothy, Silas, Epaphroditus, or his brothers, and yet they’re all called apostles. And so it is a moot point to say that there’s no scripture saying Jesus chose Junia; neither is there anything for any of these other individuals. Scripture only specifically mentions the twelve disciples and Paul by name anyways. There’s a whole seventy two, at least, unnamed, that Jesus chose. Junia might have been one of them, who knows. What we do know is that Paul outright says Junia is an apostle in Romans 16:7. I provided significant evidence for this in my last response and you did not address any of it. Here’s a screenshot of all that evidence put together:
By the way, look at this gospel text:
Luke 8:1-3: After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
In other words, as Jesus was travelling from town to town, several women are named as being with him beyond just the twelve, including Mary Magdalee, Joanna the wife of Chuza, Susanna, and “many others”. These women were a part of Jesus’s travelling ministry, going city to city. In fact, it is these women, including Mary and Joanna mentioned by name, that first visit the empty tomb of Jesus, and it is also them whom Jesus first speaks to after having resurrected, telling them to tell the twelve of His resurrection (Matthew 28:8-10). Interestingly, Richard Bauckham has argued that the “Joanna” of the Gospels is the “Junia” that Paul mentions. “Joanna” is a Hebrew name, whereas “Junia” is a Latin name. Jews often had a second, Latin name, that was a near sound equivalent to their Jewish name, and the virtual sound equivalence is true for Joanna/Junia. Furthermore, Paul describes Junia as being a Christian before him. Remember, Paul converted only three years after Jesus died, and so Junia was a member of the Chistian community prior to that. Furthermore, he also describes her as “prominent among the apostles”, signifying her special importance. This makes perfect sense if she is the Joanna so prominent in the Gospels. Most likely, Bauckham is correct that the Junia in Paul is the Joanna in the Gospels. Do you know what that means?
Jesus DID handpick Junia.
EDIT: Just read through the comments and saw your story about your divorce. I am sorry for that, it must have been a hard time. However, you have shown the strength of a Christian. You chose Christianity and following Christ over the world. Good on you. Praise be to God.