The APOSTLES of CHRIST - Calling of the Disciples - The Original Twelve (13) Apostles of Christ - (PART 3)

"Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you. . ."

". . .And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20 NIV)
". . .And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20 NIV)

The First Disciples of Jesus Christ

In this section we will complete the roster of the original disciples that became the first twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16). These were His closest companions and friends who became instrumental in establishing the hierarchy of the early Christian Church. This will also include the demise of the "fallen Apostle" (Judas) and his replacement (Matthias), the "13th Apostle" (Acts 1:15-26).

(Listed in Part-2 of the series)

*John the Baptist - the precursor to the "Messiah" Jesus Christ.

The "Fishers of Men"

1- Andrew the brother of Simon
2- Simon or (Peter)
3- James the son of Zebedee
4- John the son of Zebedee

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The Calling of the First Disciples

5- Philip
6- Nathanael or (Bartholomew)
7- Matthew or (Levi)
8- Thomas Didymus
9- James the younger
10- Thaddeus or (Jude)
11- Simon the Zealot
12- Judas Iscariot
13- Matthias (Acts 1:26)

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*The Above LIST contians the Answers for PART-1 of this series - Can You Name the First (13) Apostles of Jesus Christ?

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Jesus had already begun his ministry and was laying down the foundation of His discipleship and administration for the future church. He had already called the first four disciples (the "fishers of men") and was continuing His ministry in the area of Bethsaida and Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

The following day, after the calling of the first four fishermen (Andrew-Simon-James-John), Jesus was leaving the town when He came across Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and his brother Simon-Peter. Philip went and found Nathanael (Bartholomew) resting under a fig tree and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:43). When the two of them went to see Jesus, He stated: "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" Nathanael asked, "How do You know me?" Which Jesus replied, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael was amazed and answered, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Then Jesus further responded: "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." (John 1:47-51) These two men were the next disciples to be called and would become members in the ranks of the twelve original Apostles.

Now half of the men had been selected and the goal was an even twelve. The Gospel of Mark (Mark 6:7-13) states that Jesus would initially send out the twelve Apostles in pairs, two by two. This was done not just for security purposes but because the individuals could collaborate with one another, as each could always attest to the other's respective words and otherwise the pair could corroborate each other's testimony.

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Statue of the Apostle Philip - Saint Isaac's Cathedral - Saint Petersburg, Russia
Statue of the Apostle Philip - Saint Isaac's Cathedral - Saint Petersburg, Russia

Philip

Philip is always listed fifth among the Apostles. The Gospel of John describes Philip's calling and connects him to Andrew and Peter, who were from the same town. It further connects him to Nathanael (Bartholomew) and describes how Philip introduced Nathanael to Jesus. Apparently the two men had already known each other and were more than likely friends and/or work mates. Of the four Canonical Gospels, Philip is most prominently mentioned in the Gospel of John where his two known appearances play a notable role as a link to the Greek-speaking Jewish communities. Here Philip introduces members of these communities to Jesus (John 12:20–36).

Otherwise in scripture, Philip the Apostle is more frequently confused with Philip the Evangelist (one of the Seven Deacons of the early church) who quickly left Jerusalem to preach in Samaria after the matyrdom of the disciple Stephen.

During the "Last Supper", Philip is the one who asked Jesus to see God the Father, which provided Jesus with the opportunity to teach about the unity of the Father and the Son (John 14:8–11). Later Christian traditions describe Philip as the Apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia.

Other Christian stories about Philip's life and ministry can be found mostly in the extra-canonical writings of later Christians than in the New Testament. One of the most reliable fragments of knowledge about the Apostle Philip comes from the Christian theologian Clement (Titus Flavius Clemens), head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, who states that Philip was married, had children, and one of his daughters was also married.

Gnostic Christians appealed to the apostolic authority of Philip, ascribing a number of Gnostic texts to him, most notably the Gospel of Philip from the Nag Hammadi library. Later stories about Saint Philip's life can also be found in the apocryphal texts such as the anonymous Acts of Philip, where there is an account of Philip's martyrdom in the city of Hierapolis from A.D. 54. According to this account, through a miraculous healing and his preaching Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne (Philip's sister) all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside-down, while Philip continued to preach from his cross. As a result of Philip's persevering plead, the crowd is said to have finally released Bartholomew. This account is considered as legendary and no reputable source describing Philip's death has been found otherwise. The Saint Philip Martyrium in Hierapolis, near Denizli, Turkey, is said to be the location where the Apostle Philip is buried in the center of the building, but no grave has yet been discovered.

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"St. Bartholomew displaying his flayed skin" from Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" (1535-1541) in the Sistine Chapel - Vatican
"St. Bartholomew displaying his flayed skin" from Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" (1535-1541) in the Sistine Chapel - Vatican

Nathanael (Bartholomew)

Nathanael is mentioned in the Gospel of John but was more commonly referred to as Bartholomew in other scripture. In the Synoptic gospels, Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Nathanael is only used to describe Philip's friend in John. Therefore, it is believed that Bartholomew was his surname, which was consistent with contemporary naming conventions of the time. That would translate then as Nathanael "Bar-Tholomew" (son of "Tholomew"), or from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay, meaning son of Tolmay (Ptolemy) translated as son of "the furrows" (perhaps being a ploughman).

Though "Bartholomew" was listed among the Twelve Apostles in the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew-Mark-Luke), and was also present with the Apostles as a witness of the Ascension of Christ (Acts 1:4,12,13), and each time being named in the company of Philip, he is one of the Apostles whom little is recorded nor any individual action is reported in the New Testament otherwise.

In the Gospel of John, Nathanael is introduced as the friend of Philip, who is initially skeptical about the "Messiah" coming from Nazareth but upon meeting Jesus, he immediatley realizes that Jesus is "the Son of God" and "the King of Israel" (John 1:45-51). Nathanael reappears at the end of John's gospel as one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Galilee after the Resurrection (John 21:1).

Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History (early 4th century) states that after Christ's Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Another ancient testimony from Saint Jerome (late 4th century), also held similar evidence that the Bombay region was the field of Bartholomew's missionary activities.

After leaving India, Bartholomew is reputed as having brought Christianity to Armenia with his fellow Apostle Jude (Thaddeus) and thus both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It was in Armenia that Bartholomew is said to have been martyred and according to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward. The story holds that he converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity and as a result had angered the king's brother, Astyages, who then later ordered Bartholemew's execution. The St. Bartholomew Monastery near the town of Başkale, in the Van Province of southeastern Turkey, was built on the traditional site as recorded for the martyrdom of Bartholomew the Apostle.

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"The Calling of St. Matthew" by Hendrick ter Brugghen (1621) - Centraal Museum - Utrecht, Netherlands
"The Calling of St. Matthew" by Hendrick ter Brugghen (1621) - Centraal Museum - Utrecht, Netherlands

Matthew "the Evangelist"

Matthew (tranlated from the Hebrew "Mattithyahu" as "Gift of Yahweh") is described as the former tax collector from Capernaum who was called into the circle of the Twelve Apostles by Jesus (Matthew 9:9; Matthew 10:3). Matthew is also equated with the identical accounts of "Levi", who is mentioned in the other two Synoptic Gospels (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27). He would later become known as "Matthew the Evangelist" as one of the "four Evangelists" that were the writers of the Gospels.

Matthew was presumably born in Galilee, which was not part of Judea or the Roman province. During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 B.C. with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for King Herod Antipas, the original tetrarch (one of four subordinate rulers in Judea) of Galilee appointed by Rome. Matthew's tax Office was located in Capernaum where Jesus had been conducting hs early ministry. Jews who became wealthy in such a fashion (working for Rome), were despised by their fellow countrymen and considered outcasts by their peers. However, as a tax collector, Matthew would have been somewhat educated and literate in Aramaic.

In the Synoptic Gospels, the story records that Jesus saw Matthew sitting in his office and said to him, "Follow Me." Then Matthew (Levi) invited Jesus to a banquet at his home, where later a great number of other tax collectors and patrons also sat together with Jesus and His disciples for the feast. In is noted that the scribes, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect, heavily criticized Jesus and His disciples associating with these people, stating: "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Christ answered back to them and said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:30-31)

As a disciple, Matthew followed Christ and When he is mentioned, Matthew is usually found paired with Thomas. He was one of the witnesses of both the Resurrection and the Ascension. Afterwards, Matthew along with Mary, James and the other close followers of the Lord, withdrew to the Cenacle (the "Upper Chamber"-the usual place where the Apostles stayed) in Jerusalem to continue with the administration of their ministry.

Matthew is known to have remained in and about Jerusalem proclaiming Jesus as the promised Messiah for about 15 years, preaching the Gospel in Hebrew. These early Jewish Christians were thought to have also been called "Nazarenes". It is near certain that Matthew belonged to this sect, as both the New Testament and the early Talmud affirm this to be true. Later in his ministry (according to the Catholic Encyclopedia), Matthew would travel to Gentile nations and spread the Gospel to the Ethiopians, Macedonians, Persians, and Parthians.


Origen Adamantius (early African scholar and Christian theologian - A.D. 185-254) states that the first recorded Gospel was written by Matthew. It was composed in Hebrew near Jerusalem for Jewish Christians and was originally kept at the Library of Caesarea where the Nazarene community later transcribed a copy for Saint Jerome which he used in his missionary work. The original text was known as the "Gospel of the Hebrews" (a lost gospel preserved only in fragments), and it is believed that this was later used to author the original Greek translated version of the Canoniacl Gospel of Matthew found in the Bible, while filling in missing portions from the other Gospel works.

Matthew is said to have died a natural death either in Ethiopia or in Macedonia. However, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr, being stabbed to death while travelling to Ethiopia around A.D. 60.

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"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" - by Michelangelo-Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)
"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" - by Michelangelo-Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Thomas Didymus

Thomas the Apostle, also called Judas Thomas "Didymus" (meaning "twin"), was one of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus. It is argued whether he had an actual twin or if this was a symbolic reference to something else all together. Thomas appears in some passages from the Gospel of John for example, when Lazarus has just died, Jesus wishes to return to Judea (Bethany) to see the family, but the disciples resist saying that their fellow Jews had previously tried to stone him. Jesus is determined, and Thomas bravely states: "Let us also go, that we might die with him" (John 11:8-16). Thomas also speaks at "The Last Supper" (John 14:5) where Jesus is assuring his disciples that they know where he is going. Thomas is confused and claims that they don't know at all, which is reinforced by Philip's similar question. Jesus replies to them with an exposition describing the relationship of God the Father with the Son (John 14:8–11).

The best known incident involving the Apostle Thomas in the New Testament is when he doubts the Resurrection of Jesus, even when seeing the actual risen Christ before him. Thomas makes the request to touch Jesus' wounds before being convinced (John 20:24-29) and thus the infamous title "doubting Thomas" is derived. Thomas then of course professes his faith in Jesus.

Thomas was one fo the few Apostles who went outside of the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. It is believed that he crossed the largest area, including the entire Parthian Empire (Greater Persia from 247 B.C.–224 A.D.) and is known as being the missionary to India through the apocryphal Acts of Thomas. He is believed to have sailed to India in A.D. 52 to spread the Christian faith among the Cochin Jews, the Jewish immigrants present in Kerala at the time. Thomas landed at the ancient port of Muziris (which became extinct in 1341 A.D. due to a massive flood) near Kodungalloor. Thomas then went to Palayoor (near present-day Guruvayoor), which was a Hindu priestly community at that time. He left Palayoor in A.D. 52 for the southern part of what is now Kerala State, where he established the "Ezharappallikal", or "seven and half churches", at the locations of Kodungallur, Kollam, Niranam (Niranam St. Mary's Orthodox Church) , Nilackal (Chayal), Kokkamangalam, Kottakkayal (Paravoor), Palayoor (Chattukulangara) and Thiruvithancode Arappally - the "half church".

Thomas is reported as being killed by a spear in Mylapore of Madras, India in A.D. 72. The Santhome Basilica of Mylapore now houses the tomb of Thomas the Apostle in Chennai, India.

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"Saint James the Just" - Russian Orthodox Church Icon
"Saint James the Just" - Russian Orthodox Church Icon

James "the younger"

Originally identified as James, "the son of Alphaeus" (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13) and is also generally referred to as "James the Younger" (or "James the Less") to clearly distinguish him from "James the Greater" (the "Elder" son of Zebedee) another one of the original twelve Apostles. This James is rarely mentioned in the New Testament, being listed only a few times in scripture, as in connection with his mother: "Mary the mother of James" - (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Mark 16:1).

A slight discrepancy arises with this later association, as with his mother Mary's husband being listed as "Clopas" (John 19:25), not "Alphaeus". It has been explained by the early Church Fathers in this way: that the name "Clopas", is thought by many to be the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic name "Alphaeus", and also that "Clopas", who through his wife Mary is thought by some to have been the stepfather to "James the Less". Likewise, though both Matthew (Levi) and this James are described as being the "son of Alphaeus" in different accounts, there is no scriptural account of the two being called brothers together, even in the same context where John and James or Peter and Andrew are described as being fraternal pairs of brothers, so the theory regarding "Alphaeus" as being unrelated then prevails as being the most accurate.

James, the son of Alphaeus, has also been identified with "James the Just". This associaton was supported by Saint Jerome and therefore was widely accepted in the Roman Catholic Church, while Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant reformists tend to distinguish between the two. The Catholic Encyclopedia concludes that, based on the account by Hegesippus (a chronicler of the early Church), it is probable that "James the Just" is also "James the Less", and is in line with "most Catholic interpreters", that he is therefore James, the son of Alphaeus as well as James the son of Mary. "James the Just" was an important apostolic leader in the New Testament church and was recorded by early Church Fathers as becoming the Bishop of Jerusalem after Christ's Ascention and the missionary journeys of Peter, James (the "Elder") and John, proceeded outside of Judea.

Several other early sources describe "James the Just" as the brother of Jesus and scripture suggests him as possibly being one of the blood siblings of Jesus (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19). Historians have interpreted this description more literally as meaning that James was a close family relative of Jesus, such as his half-brother or stepbrother, a cousin, or possibly some other relation. The oldest surviving Christian liturgy, The Liturgy of Saint James, called James the Just "the brother of God". Apart from a handful of references in the Gospels, the main sources for "James the Just" are in the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of Saint Paul, the historian Josephus, and the early Christian author Hegesippus. He is believed to be the author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament and is the first of the "Seventy Apostles". "James the Just" was also the author of the Apostolic Decree declared by the Jerusalem Council (A.D. 51) in Acts 15. In the Epistle to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul describes his first visit to Jerusalem where he met James and stayed with Cephas (Simon-Peter).

According to a passage in Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews, the High Priest Ananus took advantage of a lack in imperial oversight to assemble a council of judges who condemned James "on the charge of breaking the law" and then had him executed by stoning. According to Hegesippus, the scribes and Pharisees had come to James for help in putting down Christian beliefs but to their discontent, James boldly testified that Christ: "Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven." It is also reported that as his stoning began, James knelt in prayer asking for the Lord to forgive his accusors and executioners. Which then, one of them proceeded to beat him to death with a staff (a fuller's club) and he was thus martyred in A.D. 62.

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"Saint Jude Thaddeus" by Georges de La Tour (1615-1620) - Museum Toulouse - Lautrec - Albi, France
"Saint Jude Thaddeus" by Georges de La Tour (1615-1620) - Museum Toulouse - Lautrec - Albi, France

Thaddeus or (Jude)

Thaddeus is listed in two of the Synoptic Gospels as one of the Twelve Apostles and is also traditionally identified as Jude ("Judas, brother or 'son' of James") as referred to in the Gospel of Luke (6:16). Thaddaeus is also noted as being his surname or family name in Matthew (10:3): "Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus", which occurs only in this one instance, whereas the name Thaddeus or Jude (Judas) prevail otherwise in all other accounts.

Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple and the later betrayer of Jesus. Both "Jude" and "Judas" are translations of the Greek name variant of Judah in the original New Testament, which was common among Jews at the time. In most Bibles in languages other than English and French, Jude and Judas are referred to as the same name. The Gospel of John also once mentions a disciple called "Judas not Iscariot" (John 14:22) which is mostly accepted to be the same person as the Apostle Jude (Thaddeus). Many Christians since early times harmonized these listings by positing it as "Jude Thaddeus", known by either name. This is made plausible by the fact that "Thaddeus" is not only a man's given name but also seems to be a nickname most likely derived from the Aramaic word, "taddā", meaning "breast", which would then be used for a close friend, as in a "bosom buddy", or a younger brother. A further note is the fact that the name "Judas" had become tarnished by Judas Iscariot and it has been argued that for this reason, it is not unusal that the other Apostles then began referring to him by this alternate name when writing their texts. Opinion is divided on whether Jude the Apostle is the same as Jude, the brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3; Matthew 13:55-57) but it is agreed that he is the traditional author of the Epistle of Jude in the New Testament.

It is reported that Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town of Galilee later rebuilt by the Romans and renamed Caesarea Philippi. In all probability he spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like most of his contemporaries in that area, and was a farmer by trade. According to legend, Jude was a son of Clopas and his wife Mary, was a sister of the Virgin Mary and Jude is thus noted as being the bridegroom at the "wedding in Cana" where Jesus performs the first of His miracles, turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). Tradition also has it that Jude's father, Clopas, was murdered because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ.

Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia and Libya. He is also said to have visited Beirut but is not the same emissary listed as being sent to Edessa (identified as Thaddeus of Edessa), who was one of the "Seventy Disciples". Jude and Bartholomew are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Linked to this tradition is the Saint Thaddeus Monastery (now in Northern Iran) and Saint Bartholomew Monastery (now in southeastern Turkey) which were both constructed in what was then Armenia. The Armenian Apostolic Church honors Thaddeus along with Saint Bartholomew as its patron saints. According to the Armenian tradition, Saint Jude suffered martyrdom by crucifixtion around 65 A.D. in Beirut, Lebanon together with the Apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected.

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St. Simon, St. Thaddeus, St. Sandukht and other Christians in Sanatruk's prison by Fusaro (19th c.) - Armenian History of Italian Art
St. Simon, St. Thaddeus, St. Sandukht and other Christians in Sanatruk's prison by Fusaro (19th c.) - Armenian History of Italian Art

Simon the Zealot

The apostle called Simon the Zealot (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) was one of the most obscure among the Apostles of Jesus. Little is recorded of him aside from his name. Simon is listed in all the passages of the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts where a list of the Apostles is given, but without any further details.

Simon the Zealot is also referred to as Simon "the Cananite" (Greek = "Kananaios" or "Kanai") in some of the listings (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18), but all the references of his name are shown mainly to distinguish him separately from Simon-Peter. The former title is derived from the Hebrew word "qana", meaning "the Zealous", though Saint Jerome and other early Church leaders mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of Cana or even from the region of Canaan. As such, the translation of the word as "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is purely traditional and not representive of being a "zealot" but perhaps more like a "zealous" man. Therefore, it is agreed by most that this refers to Simon's zeal and enthusiasm for the Lord and is not meant to imply that he was a member of the revolutionary jewish "Zealots", one of the "four sects" of Judaism during his time.

In the Gospels, Simon the Zealot is never identified with Simon, the "brother" of Jesus, as mentioned in Gospel of Mark (6:3) and he is also not to be confused with "Simeon of Jerusalem" who later became the second Bishop of Jerusalem.

In later tradition, Simon is often associated with Jude (Thaddeus) as an evangelizing team. The most widespread belief is that after conducting missionary work in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Armenia. Both Apostles later suffered martyrdom by crucifixtion around 65 A.D. in Beirut, Lebanon. This later version is the one found in the "Golden Legend", the late medieval Hagiography (study of saints) by Jacobus de Voragine.

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"Judas Iscariot retiring from The Last Supper" by Carl Bloch (late 19th century)
"Judas Iscariot retiring from The Last Supper" by Carl Bloch (late 19th century)

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus "who also betrayed Him" (Mark 3:19) into the hands of the chief priests in the Garden of Gethsemane. The significance of his surname "Iscariot" is uncertain. There are a couple of theories on its etymology; the most likely explanation derives Iscariot from the Hebrew "man of Kerioth"; the Gospel of John also refers to Judas as the "son of Simon Iscariot", implying it was not Judas, but his father, who came from there. Judas is mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.

In the Gospel of Mark it is mentioned that the chief priests were plotting to have Jesus killed and were looking for a cunning way to have Him taken. The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were coming up in a few days and they decided not to kill Jesus during these festivals, since they were afraid that people would riot (Mark 14:1-2). Satan enters Judas at this time (Luke 22:3) and he goes to the priests and asks: "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). Judas then left them to seek out an opportunity to betray Jesus.

The night of the "Last Supper" arrives for Jesus and His Apostles where they dine together in the "Upper Room" (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12) to celebrate the Passover, whereas Jesus later confirms his betrayer (Matthew 26:25) as Judas. Judas then leaves to complete his treacherous act.

After Jesus had instituted the "Lord's Supper", performing the first communion with the remaining Apostles, they left for the the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane where they could spend the night. Judas also knew this place, for Jesus often met there with His disciples (John 18:2). On arrival, Jesus told the discples to rest while He prayed, taking Peter, James, and John with Him aside from the others and asked them to stay watchful so He might pray more privately. They fell asleep as Christ reconciled with Himself the ordeal that lie ahead.

Judas had received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, and was on his way. Jesus had returned and tried to wake the disciples three times but on the final attempt while He was still speaking, Judas arrived with a great multitude of men having lanterns, torches, and weapons. Judas approached and signaled to the officers as Jesus spoke: "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:47-48) A brief scuffle erupted but Jesus stopped them all, so that He could be arrested and taken away. The disciples then forsook Him and fled.

Judas is said to have felt remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." (Matthew 27:3-4) The priests would not accept the money because it had become tainted, so Judas threw down the silver and departed. After Judas left however, the priests consulted together and bought the "Potter’s Field" with the money in which to bury strangers, thus fulfilling the prophecy that was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet (Matthew 27:9-10; Jeremiah 32).

Judas is reported as having gone out and committed suicide at this point. There are two separate accounts of this (Matthew 27:5; Acts 1:18) one by hanging and the other by jumping from the hilltop, both ending in death of Judas and the final result of the "Potters Field" being named the "Field of Blood" from that day forward. Thus, for the purposes of these articles, we have named Judas Iscariot the "fallen apostle".

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Saint Matthias (circa 1317-1319)
Saint Matthias (circa 1317-1319)

Matthias

According to the Acts of the Apostles, Matthias is the disciple chosen by the Apostolate to replace Judas Iscariot following his betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent suicide. In the days following the Ascension of Jesus, the assembled disciples (who numbered about one hundred and twenty), decided that they must choose someone to fill the place of the traitor (Acts 1:15). Peter addressed the assembly and declared: "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." (Acts 1:21-22) It is recorded that the assembly proposed two candidates (Joseph called Barsabas who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias) and they prayed. Then they cast lots, a traditional Jewish method to determine the Will of God. The lot fell upon Matthias and he was then appointed as the Apostle to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:15-26). The numbers in the membership of the Apostolate had been made even again.

Otherwise, there is no further information to be found about Matthias anywhere in the canonical New Testament. Since the passage identifies the candidates as "men which have companied with us all the time", it would be reasonable to conclude that Matthias was a member of the wider circle of disciples, possibly from the ranks of the "Seventy Disciples" that were originally selected by the Lord to go out into Judea and introduce the Gospel.

Later Coptic texts account that Matthias first preached in Judaea and then went into Aethiopia to a "the city of the cannibals" to spread the Gospel. It is confused at that point whether this refers to Ethiopia in Africa or Aethiopia as in Greek mythology (associated with the kingdom seated at Joppa-Phoenicia). Another account places him far to the north instead, at the Kingdom of Colchis (eastern Black Sea). Since a barbaric settlement of "flesh-eaters" is eluded to, the choice for Africa seems more reasonable. Two seaparate traditions are also found relating to his death; one claiming he was crucified in Aethiopia, while another maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded.

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  • (COMING) APOSTLES (PART 10) - The "Beloved Disciple" -
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  • (COMING) APOSTLES (PART 11) - The "Apostle to the Gentiles" and Early Christian Church - The Apostle Paul becomes instrumental in spreading Christianity to the Gentiles, but the Romans fights back. Eventually, the new "Holy Roman Empire" would rise and dominate the scene of Christianity, setting the standard for the future of the church.
  • (COMING) APOSTLES (PART 12) - The HOLY ROMAN Empire and Orthodox Religion -
    The Apostle Paul becomes instrumental in spreading Christianity to the Gentiles, but the Romans fights back. Eventually, the new "Holy Roman Empire" would rise and dominate the scene of Christianity, setting the standard for the future of the church,

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COMMENTS - Tell Us What YOU Think (^VOTE Above^) 4 comments

olgakhumlo profile image

olgakhumlo 5 years ago from Mira Road Mumbai India

A great deal of research and insights expounded .God bless you!Have a wonderful Sunday.


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

Thanks Olga... The research was the fun part and I get to glorify the Lord in the process. Sounds like a win-win in my book! Blessings to you and your family as well.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 5 years ago from Southern Minnesota

I should have read this before I took the test. Interesting background history on the disciples. It was interesting to see what they did and where they went after the biblical accounts.


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

Hi Tamarajo and thanks for stopping by! It was a fun research project using both scripture and other early church sources to get a more complete picture of these peoples lives. Happy you enjoyed it.

With your love for our Hebraic roots, you will probably enjoy the future series I'm gonna do on the "Prophets" too! With blessings, shalom... Rev.Ted

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