On the Apostle’s Suffering
We live in a age where every kind of knowledge is right at our fingertips. Yet there are certain facts, once known by many, that have slipped through the cracks. There were oral traditions in previous centuries that most Christians knew and passed on to their children and to their children’s children. These oral histories have begun to fade into antiquity, but we mustn’t forget them.
The capital “A” Apostles were those individuals who were Christ’s chief disciples and also those who saw the risen Lord and were commissioned to spread the Gospel. These people understood that having faith meant more than claiming Christianity and going to a building once a week. They understood that true Christian faith meant giving all of one’s life to the spread of the Gospel unto the point of giving one’s life. It is my goal to remind us of the fate of the apostles and the price that many paid so that we might know Christ.
2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Andrew – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14). A disciple of John the Baptist (see Mark 1:16-18) who brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus (see John 1:40) and was likely following Jesus already when Jesus called Peter, James and John (see Luke 5:1-11). He was a preacher and evangelist in Asia Minor and into Greece. He was crucified in Achaia, Greece on an X-shaped cross.
Bartholomew – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). The oral tradition is that he preached in Phrygia, Armenia, and India. He was flayed alive with knives in India.
James (The half-brother of Jesus) – Jesus Christ’s brother (see Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55). Did not follow Jesus Christ while Jesus was living, but tradition is that he came to faith after seeing the risen Lord Jesus. James is perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the authenticity of the resurrection because he gave his entire life to this belief and that is incredible since he was his brother. Became the Pastor or Bishop of the church of Jerusalem and served there some 30 years. He wrote the Book of James. According to Josephus, James was stoned and struck in the head by a clubs until death by the Pharisees in 62 AD.
James (Son of Alphaeus) – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). Preached in Palestine and Egypt. He was crucified and sawn into pieces in Egypt.
James (Son of Zebedee) – One of the 12 (see His name always appears with his brother, John (see Matthew 4:21, Mark 1:19-20, Luke 5:1-11, Luke 6:14). He preached in Jerusalem and Judea and was beheaded by Herod, AD 44 (Acts 12:1,2). He is the only apostle whose death is recorded in Scripture.
John the Beloved – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:17, Luke 6:14). He preached among the churches in Asia Minor, primarily in Ephesus. He wrote the Books of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and the Book of Revelation. He was boiled with oil in Rome and banished to the isle of Patmos. He later died of natural death, he is the only apostle who wasn’t martyred.
Judas or Thaddeus (Son of James; Not Iscariot) – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:16). He was a jewish nationalist sometimes referred to as Judas the Zealot and often accompanied with Simon the Zealot who shared similar views. Christ set them both on a new course. Tradition is that Judas and Simon were an evangelizing team. Christ did send them two by two (see Mark 6:7). They preached in Egypt, Assyria and Persia. He was crucified in Syria around 65 AD with Simon likely in modern day Beirut, Lebanon.
Jude (The half-brother of Jesus) – Jesus Christ’s brother (see Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55). Like James, he did not follow Jesus Christ while Jesus was living, but tradition is that he came to faith after seeing the risen Lord Jesus. Again, a great testament to the power of the resurrection. He preached in Persia and he wrote the Book of Jude. He was crucified and pierced with arrows around 80 AD near Mt. Ararat in Armenia.
Matthew – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14). He started as a hating tax collector but became a committed follower of Christ and used his penmanship to tell the story of Christ. He began preaching in Judea but became a missionary to Ethiopia. He wrote the Gospel of Matthew. Tradition is that he was struck down by the sword in Ethiopia by an swordsman sent by King Hertacus.
Paul – An apostle untimely born (see 1 Corinthians 15:8). Paul was originally named Saul who was a Pharisee who made it his mission to eradicate Christianity. He converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus when Christ appeared to him (see Acts 9:1-19). He became the greatest missionary to the Gentiles in that day, preaching from Asia Minor, to Macedonia, into Rome. He wrote much of the New Testament as 13 of the NT books have his autograph. He was beheaded in Rome around 64 AD under the reign of Nero. Nero caused one of the greatest Christian persecutions of our age.
Peter – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:16, Luke 6:14). Peter is referred to as Simon and also Cephas. Peter was the apostle to the Jews, but also a missionary who appears in Antioch and lastly in Rome. Irenaeus attributes Peter and Paul as the founders of the church of Rome. Peter wrote the Books of 1st and 2nd Peter. He is also the voice behind the Gospel of Mark because the historian Eusebius writes that John Mark penned the book while assisting Peter. Oral tradition is that Mark is based on Peter’s viewpoint. Peter was crucified upside down in Rome around 64 AD also under the reign of Nero.
Philip – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13). He preached in Syria, Greece and Phrygia. He became a missionary in Asia. Around 54 AD he traveled to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where he was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified.
Simon the Zealot – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). He was a jewish nationalist and Zealot meaning that he was militant in these beliefs. He shared much time with Judas Thaddeus as a result. They became a missionary duo and were crucified together in 65 AD. Simon shares a tomb with Judas Thaddeus in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Thomas – One of the 12 (see Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15). He is often referred to as doubting Thomas (see John 20:25) but he became a strong follower and evangelist for Christ. The oral tradition is that he labored in Parthia, Persia, and India, and was run threw with a spear near Mt. St. Thomas, India.
All of the Apostles were martyred for their faith except for John who was still persecuted greatly. Our heroes of the Christian faith paid a heavy price for the passing of the Gospel torch to future generations. We mustn’t forget the value of the Gospel in our lives. It is more valuable than food, shelter, and water, it is more valuable than our very lives. We must centralize our belief in the grace of Jesus and make it our life’s purpose.
Galatians 2:20 (ESV) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.