The Apostles of Jesus Christ

So, we know the Man, and because of the scriptures, we know the deeds that He performed. We also know that there were several people that He chose to help Him, and from His promise, they would receive a great inheritance in Heaven.

After doing some research, I found myself asking a question about the Men that Jesus chose, to become the twelve that He would pass the knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven to. Of course my hopes where not very high seeing how the events of these Men happened over two thousand years ago.

My first stop for knowledge led me to the Holy Scripture. While doing my research, I try to be as complete as possible by taking any information that I find and cross referencing it against at least two other scholarly sources. This doesn’t aways mean it is correct but it does increase the changes.

Several things jump out at me when reading about how Jesus selected His Disciples over time. When they were asked, the Scripture makes it sound like they dropped everything immediate and started following Him. But of course they did, right? This is the Son of God we are talking about here. Ah, but they didn’t know that when He asked. Of course, this information would not be complete without some explanation around the why.

The Culture

For us to understand the answer to this question, we need to understand the culture.

The information that I wanted to understand was, who where these people that Jesus selected and why would they just drop everything to follow someone that they didn’t know.

So, first we will talk about their culture and their upbringing. Of course it is import to note that their upbringing will closely match what the upbringing of Jesus would have looked like.

Jewish Study

Boys of the Jewish faith began the study of the Torah at an early age since it was the foundation of the Jewish faith. From that early age, usually around five, it would have been proper for Jesus and others from that region, to begin to study the scripture. Interesting enough, many people expressed interest in what have been called, the “missing years” of Jesus. Based on our research, they are not missing. Jesus was learning.

Based on the Mishnah, which describes the educational process for a young Jewish boy in Jesus’ time, at five, a boy is fit for the scripture; at ten, he begins the oral Torah, interpretations; at thirteen, fulfilling of the commandments; and fifteen, the Talmud which is making Rabbinic interpretations; at eighteen, the bride chamber; at twenty, pursuing a vocation; and at thirty, to be able to teach with authority. Very few students reach the final level.

So, back to the “missing years.” Even though very little was stated about the early years of Jesus, what if we apply the age milestones for Jewish learning to the scripture that we understand today?

Jesus Studies Applied

We know that He “grew to wisdom” as a boy which is in Luke 2:52, and He reached the “fulfilling of the commandments” which is stated in Luke 2:41 with His first Passover at age twelve. He then learned a trade in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, and spend time with John the Baptist, Luke 3:21 and John 3:22-26. After that, He began His ministry around thirty years old based on Luke 3:23. And in Mark 1:22, the people were amazed at His teachings because He spoke as someone who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

The decision as a student to follow a rabbi meant that the person was ready to give up everything and was prepared for a total commitment. The goal of the disciple would be to become like the teacher in every way. Jesus had this goal for each of His disciples to be like Him. Either the student would seek out the rabbi they wished to follow or the rabbi would find the student. In the case of Jesus, both were true. For example, in John 1: 37-39, two disciples followed Jesus. In the other instance, Jesus calls other disciples such as in John 1: 43.

The disciples who initially followed Jesus, the ones that would be the blessed twelve, were named:

Peter, Andrew, James the Greater, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the Lesser, Simon, Jude, and Judas Iscariot.

Jesus made it very clear that being His disciple would be a great responsibility and full of challenges. For example, in many different verses, He stated specifically that anyone that wanted to follow Him would need to pick up their cross and follow Him. Matthew 10:38, Mark 8:34, Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27.

The Details

Here is a more detailed list of each Apostle, when and how they died (best known), and where their remains are interred. 12 Apostles + Matthias & Paul the Apostles chosen after Jesus’ resurrection

SelectedNameType of DeathWhereYear DeadRemains
7Matthew aka LeviImpaled by SpearEthiopia74 ADCathedral of Salerno, Italy
3James the Greater; Son of ZebedeeBy the Sword by Harod the KingJerusalem44 ADGalicia, Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Spain
11Jude aka Thaddeus aka Judas Son of JamesCrucifiedPersia65 ADSt. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
4John; Son of ZebedeeOld AgeEphesus99 ADUnknown: Originally in Ephesus. Possible: Ephesus and buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill
13Matthias (Chosen by lots)CrucifiedJudea80 ADAbbey of St. Matthias, Trier, Germany, castle of Gonio-Apsaros, Georgia
5PhilipCrucified upside downHierapolis, Egypt80 ADRome: Basilica dei Santi Apostoli: Stairs at the altar. Walk down.
1Peter (Greek) aka Simon aka Cephas (A)Crucified Upside Down by NeroRome, Vatican Hill68 ADSt. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
8ThomasStabbed with a SpearIndiaDec 21 72 ADBasilica di San Tommaso Ortona, Italy
9James the Lesser; Son of AlphaeusThrown from Temple and Beaten to DeathJerusalem62 ADRome: Basilica dei Santi Apostoli: Stairs at the altar. Walk down.
10Simon the ZealotCrucifiedPersia65 ADSt. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
2AndrewCrucified on X-shaped crossPatras, GreeceNov 30, 69 ADConstantinople, Modern Day: Istanbul, Turkey
6Bartholomew aka NathanaelFlayed to death by whip and beheadedAsia Minor (Modern day Turkey)70 ADRome: Basilica San Bartolomeo
14Paul (Chosen by Jesus)BeheadedRome65 ADSt Paul’s Basilica in Rome
12Judas IscariotSuicide by hangingJerusalem30 or 33 ADPotter’s Field, Field of Blood
12 Apostles + Matthias & Paul the Apostles chosen after Jesus’ resurrection

As Jesus stated, so it was for His disciples. All but one of His disciples managed to avoid being put to death including the two that were added after His resurrection, Matthias and Paul.

This is a powerful message for the disciples of today. If it is your plan to become a disciple of Christ, we must believe that Jesus can instruct us, empower us, and fill us with His spirit so we can be like him. Most importantly we much have faith and believe in ourselves.