The Apostles

The Last Supper (Leonardo da Vinci)

Matthew
Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

Mark
Died in Alexandria,Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

Luke
Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

Peter
He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James the Just
The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.  This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

James the Great
Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew
Also known as Nathaniel. Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew
Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece . After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas
Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

Jude
Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias
The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Paul
Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire . These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

43 thoughts on “The Apostles”

  1. To attribute their acts of bravery to they themselves would be wrong. Though some of it may have come from them, it is God who provides peace and comfort to His children when they are faced with persecution. Therefore, it is God who sustained them. Do not worship them for their bravery and courage, but the God who provides them the strength to stand firm.
    Do you think any man on his own could preach to those who were stoning him as Stephen did? No, the same Jesus that he saw at the right hand of God upheld him. The same goes for Andrew, Paul, James, and each and every child of God that goes through persecution. The same also is true for us.
    God bless,
    Hannah

  2. Good questions. This is part of the argument for the validity of the Gospel. How many individuals or groups of individuals would so consistently remain faithful to the belief in Christ’s resurrection if it was a deliberate hoax? They had to have believed it to dedicate their lives to that extent.

  3. Just a quick correction: Saint Peter was martyred on an upside down standard Latin cross (the kind our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up on). That is why the Roman Catholic Pope uses this cross frequently in Rome, the sight of Saint Peter’s martyrdom.

    On the Orthodox calendar the feast day of the Twelve is on June 30. This is the accompanying hymn:

    Hymns to the twelve

    O holy Apostles of Christ
    Pray to our merciful God,
    That He may grant us remission of our sins.

    Today Christ the Rock gladly glorifies the rock of faith,
    The chosen disciple, together with Paul and the entire company of the Twelve.
    As we celebrate their memory,
    We glorify Him who has glorified them!

    Christ God is Glorified in His Saints.

    You have a lovely website; thank you for taking the time to make all of this available for the betterment of everyone.

  4. That was interesting, I always wondered what happened to the rest. I knew about Paul, Peter and John.
    Thanks!

  5. i think these prove beyond reasonable doubt that the story of Christ is true.
    if these men knew that it was a lie (which they would, having spent years of their lives with Jesus) then why would they die defending their faith?

  6. Dear Lord, please forgive me, a lowly sinner, for I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

  7. Thanks so much for commenting and adding info and your thoughts. In many parts of the world Christians are still being persecuted and killed for their faith. Thank God for the courage and faith He gives His children in need. I pray for protection for our brothers and sisters, I pray that all believers would take refuge in the Lord, rest in His peace, and remain faithful to Jesus Christ.

  8. I am surprised that so many learned folks in this age of englightenment believe in the fable of Christ. Christianity was officially created by Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. after the death of Christ. There is no historical record of Jesus outside the fabricated new testatement canon gospels which were selected by Iranaeus, one of the early church fathers. The list of apostles is a fabricated one, including their lives and death. Many of them were patterned after the pagan gods incorporated into the church as saints and apostles. Most of the religious and secular historians and scholars have already written about the church history and scholarships have been available since the last two centuries. Archaelogy continues to find no proof of the old testament tales. In fact,
    patriarchs like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon and others did not even exist. The Jews after returning from Persia, sometime in 586 BC, wrote a new history for themselves and their god, Yahweh, patterned after Egyptian pharaohs, and other ancient legends and myths of the Sumericans, Babylonians and Persians. Christians also did the same, pilfering from the Jewish Hebrew Scriptues and adding the composite figure of Jesus Christ as a historial messiah dying and resurrecting saviour just like the many ancient saviours.

    I suggest, people ought to read and learn the actual truth, rather than blindly believing the biblical stories and the new testament fictions.

    Paul

    Paul Rodricks, Freelance Writer, Music Composer

  9. Paul – thanks so much for taking time to comment.
    I had to smile at your words “in this age of enlightenment”. When I look around our world and see how we’re killing each other and destroying our environment I don’t see much enlightenment!
    God said that the world he created was good, but we are rapidly changing it into a place that is anything but good. Sad.

    And then we come to Jesus who with his teaching showed us a better way – if we followed his commandment to love one another wouldn’t we be better off ? I can witness to the fact that he is my Saviour and has changed my life. For to get to know God is life-changing.
    Isn’t it amazing how millions of people have given their lives to Jesus as their Saviour over 2000 years ( and our calendar is a witness to the historical figure of Jesus)
    Isn’t it amazing how people are still willing to be beaten and flogged and die for their faith in God? (Right now in the news from India) Isn’t it amazing how lives are changed when Jesus is accepted as the Way, the Truth and the Life? And we are all willing to stake our lives though you say it’s all based on fables?

    Actually I am an archaeologist and have also studied theology and have read historical records apart from the Bible, which certainly exist. You could go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica e.g. for further info. There you will find hundreds of articles and books.
    You could also google Universities which teach archaeology, history and theology and see their list of books on these subjects written by eminent scholars.
    Wikipedia, though not always totally reliable, has also got an extensive article about the historical Jesus plus sources for further study and links.

    More and more archaeological finds are pointing to the fact that the Bible is accurate – you will find plenty of resources on the internet and there are very good books and many articles in magazines on the subject written by well known archaeologists. (Harvard University e.g.)

    Your thesis that Christians did some “pilfering from the Jewish Hebrew Scriptures and adding the composite figure of Jesus Christ as a historical messiah dying and resurrecting saviour just like the many ancient saviours.” seems rather odd as according to Judaism, (have you read the Talmud?) Jesus was a Jewish man who was executed and later given divine status by the Christian church.
    So what did they pilfer? The Talmud speaks of the historical Jesus who was crucified, not of a mythological figure.

    And why on earth should a handful of people go to such lengths as to invent this “fable” and then even to die for it?
    Would you die for something you knew was a fabricated myth?
    And then this myth invented by people who didn’t exist still changes lives?
    And what was their aim? They must either have been totally mad or telling the truth.

    Perhaps you would like to read the Bible under the aspect that just perhaps it could be the truth.
    It’s not about blindly believing, but about meeting with the living God. And that is really and truly amazing.
    You might find these links interesting for further study –
    http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html
    http://www.facingthechallenge.org/arch2.php
    http://www.bib-arch.org/
    http://www.bib-arch.org/reviews/reviews.asp (book reviews)

  10. Paul Winstock / Jun 13 2010 6:43 pm – Why have you omitted Judas?

    Judas Iscariot wasn’t martyred, the Bible says that he hang himself after having betrayed Jesus.
    Matthew 27:3-8
    Acts 1:18-19
    The followers of Jesus mentioned above died for their faith.

  11. Jonie,your response to Mr Rodricks post was very good and I pray that it counters his “enlightened” post in someones thoughts who,perhaps not yet transformed, has alighted upon this page.Yet as for Mr Rodrick and the “enlightened” minds of today…the apostle Paul ,through the Holy Spirit, told us that the gospel is foolishness to the Greeks(enlightened).
    We know the truth because our eyes have been opened by almighty GOD.The cross of Christ gave power to the apostles as well as we today who may be called on to die for Christ’s witness. Indeed, in Africa even now Christians are being killed,as well as in Afghanistan ,where those who convert to Christ face death.Soon all will face such trials.But we REJOICE because of the power of Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit, who lives in us.We can be just as they,the first apostles, that is: steadfast in the faith,which has the power to save and keep us.

  12. Thank you very much for encouraging words. May we always with the grace of God be steadfast in our faith and trust in Him who keeps us from falling!

  13. Niall, your question is fundamental to understanding what Jesus was teaching.
    It really is the crucial point – we cannot earn God’s love, we cannot earn our salvation, we can never be good enough to face the Lord God Almighty, who is holy.
    That’s why so many people turn away from Jesus – he said that he is the only way to God. We don’t like that, we’d rather feel we could be good enough and somehow earn our way to heaven.
    Jesus said no, we all fall short, and as he is God, well, we can’t really argue.
    We all sin – even a bad thought directed against someone is a sin – God is holy.
    But instead of us being punished, Jesus took the death penalty upon himself and was punished for us. Like when someone pays a debt for you, just because that person loves you, not because you have earned it.
    That’s the amazing love of God for us – that he takes our punishment upon himself.
    But as with all gifts – if we don’t open our hands and accept it, we don’t receive it.
    The same here – Jesus has done all to make the way to God available to us – so all we have to do is accept it.
    It means standing before Jesus and telling him that yes, I know I have sinned, that I am sorry and that I accept his sacrifice for me and want him in my life to live a life honouring to God – at that moment he becomes our Saviour and we are what the Bible calls born again and become children of God.
    If you feel you’re talking to the wall or ceiling, it doesn’t matter, just because you don’t see him, doesn’t mean that he’s not there – you can’t see the air, yet you breath.
    What follows is a growing relationship with our Father God – we get to know him through reading the Bible (start with the New testament, e.g. Luke) – his love-letter to us, through prayer and through experiencing his love and joy flooding our hearts.
    When you read the Bible you will see what I am talking about – people who met Jesus were totally changed. As they still are. As I was.
    Jesus isn’t dead, he rose again and we can experience the reality of that in our lives, because he sends us the Holy Spirit, as promised.
    Thanks again for commenting, I pray that you find the answers you’re searching for.
    God bless you!

  14. makes me think about the messed-up ways that human beings have devised in order to kill one another and the inconsequential reasons they need to do so.

  15. https://joniewp.wordpress.com/ancient-evidence-for-jesus/

    Please go to the link above to read about historical evidence for the life of Jesus outside the Bible.

    “Although there is overwhelming evidence that the New Testament is an accurate and trustworthy historical document, many people are still reluctant to believe what it says unless there is also some independent, non-biblical testimony that corroborates its statements. “

  16. Although this is a good post about martyrs, some of these men were not apostles, and you have left out a few. The apostles were: Simon Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, his brother John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Matthias who was chosen to replace Judas, and some people count Paul as an apostle, even though he never knew Jesus personally. Mark and Luke, though they wrote two of the Gospels, were not apostles, and neither was Jude. This is a good post however about some of the first people who suffered and died for Christ.

  17. Thanks Ainsley.
    I guess it depends on how we define Apostle –

    The word “apostle” has two meanings, the broader meaning of a messenger and the narrow meaning of an early apostle directly linked to Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps I should more correctly have named this post “Early Martyrs”.

  18. well thats 90% being martyred for their faith…. amazing, quite thought provoking….. reads like hebrews 11…. THANKS Jonie for the challenge…
    I will never moan again!

  19. Words fail me , these men were true disciples. I didn’t know about all of these. Thank you Jonie, reading it has stopped me in my tracks and made me think deeply about my faith.

  20. what a great trail of comments – read the lot and thought it was debate that would bring great blessing to our Lord. He loves humble response to genuine doubters (and he loves genuine doubters – remember Thomas!!)

  21. Hi John – let me quote Enoch Pond

    “No one of our sacred books has excited so many questions, and led to such diverse interpretations, as the Apocalypse. It is not my purpose to notice all of these, or any considerable part of them, but I shall content myself with showing what I conceive to be its true history, design, and interpretation.
    I begin with inquiring as to the author of the book, and the date of it.
    The Apocalypse is repeatedly said to have been written by John. It commences with a declaration to this effect: ‘And He sent and signified it, by His angel, to His servant John.’ Also: ‘John to the seven Churches of Asia.’—‘I John, saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.’
    But what John was this? Was it John the beloved disciple and apostle, or some other man? Papias speaks of a presbyter of the name of John, who lived in Asia Minor in the latter part of the first century; and by some critics, the Apocalypse has been ascribed to him. But of this John we know little or nothing except the name; and the supposition that he wrote the Apocalypse is a mere conjecture, got up two hundred years after his death, by those who wished to destroy the canonical authority of the book.
    We dismiss the suggestion, therefore, as not worthy of serious consideration, and adopt heartily the commonly received opinion, that the author of this wonderful book was no other than the apostle John.
    In proof of this, we cite, first, the circumstances of the writer, as detailed by himself.
    He says (chap. 1:9), ‘I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ In other words, the writer, whoever he may have been, was, at the time, suffering persecution or the truth’s sake, and was in banishment on the isle of Patmos.
    But, according to the united testimony of the early fathers, the apostle John, in a time of severe persecution, was banished to the isle of Patmos.
    I hardly need quote their language on this point. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Victorinus, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Sulpicius, Severus, Jerome, and a great many others,[1] tell us (to use the very words of Origen), ‘that a Roman emperor banished the apostle John into the isle of Patmos, for the testimony which he bore to the word of truth.’
    This shows that it was John the apostle, and not another, who wrote the book under consideration.”

    More important than the author though, is the message – that God is in charge and one day we will all stand before Him and will have to answer the crucial question whether we believe in Christ our Saviour or not. That decides where we will spend eternity.

    Enoch Paul – http://www.covenanter.org/Postmil/AntiPreterist/ponddate.htm

  22. What good is a dead messiah? What could possibly have changed men that ran away and hide when Jesus was taken prisoner to end up dying and/or being tortured rather than disavow him.

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