Who Are the Twelve Disciples of Jesus Christ
They Were All Ordinary Men With an Extra Ordinary Calling
Most amazing about the twelve disciples is that Jesus selected them at all. Who are the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ? They were just ordinary men with an extra ordinary calling. Among them were fishermen, a hated tax collector and an impulsive political zealot.
Jesus deliberately passed over those who were aristocratic and influential. He chose men from the lower class of society and promised them that if they followed him, He would make them fishers of men. So, they left everything behind to follow the Lord and turned the world on its ear.
God chooses the humble, the lowly, the meek and the weak so that there will never be any question about their source of power. As their lives changed, the world changed as a result.
The twelve disciples were trained by the master (Jesus) and entered their ministries as apostles. They started the church and played a pivotal role as leaders as the church grew. They also became the channel through which the Gospel (good news) would be given to the rest of the world.
The disciples, now apostles (shaliah) were given the power and authority to heal the sick, even raise the dead as a sign of their authority in Christ Jesus. The scriptures record many of their miraculous deeds, for instance... Acts 20:7
The new Jerusalem described in Revelation 21:14 "The wall of the city had twelve foundations and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Each foundation being made of precious stone.
The twelve disciples are listed as three groups of four, in the scriptures the same twelve men are always named in a similar order. The first name in all four lists is Peter. He stands out as the leader of the whole company of twelve. In three lists, Judas’s name appears last (he was dead by the time of the fourth list, Acts 1) along with the remark of being a traitor.
Christ's Inner Circle of Disciples Were 3 Groups of Four Men
Even a small group of twelve is too large for one person to maintain the closest involvement with each group member... Therefore there were 3 groups of four listed in descending order based on their level of closeness with Christ.
The first group of four disciples was closest to Christ (his most inner circle). They were the first disciples Jesus called unto himself. They had been with him the longest and occupied the most trusted positions among the twelve.
Their names are Peter (also known as Simon), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (the apostle of passion) and John (whom Jesus loved).
John was the younger brother of James and the only disciple to die of natural causes around 98 A.D. (despite being boiled in oil by those who sought to kill him). John was also the one whom was taken up by the Spirit and given the visions he describes in the book of Revelation.
Three of these four men had an early encounter with Jesus at the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5), before they left their business to follow Him...
Jesus was teaching a large crowd and saw at the water's edge two boats left there by the fishermen, one belonging to Simon. He asked Simon to put out a bit from the shore, then sat down and taught the crowd. Afterwards, Jesus told Simon (Peter) to put his fishing nets out in deep water but Simon answered by saying, "We've worked all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."...
They had such a large catch that they signaled their partners to bring more boats, two boats were so full that they began to sink. Simon and all his companions were astonished at the catch, along with James and John, who were partners with Simon. From that time on, they chose to follow Jesus.
These four disciples of Jesus were all fisherman from Galilee and each one became fishers of men after their anointing by the Holy Spirit, which happened on the day of Pentecost.
The second group of disciples didn’t have as high of a profile but are significant members in the Gospel accounts.
Their names are Philip (the bean counter), Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew), Matthew (the tax collector, sometimes called Levi) and Thomas (the twin). Thomas was a pessimist, he refused to believe that Christ had risen from the dead until he could see and touch his wounds.
It’s interesting to note that the Lord uses a tax collector (tax collectors were despised out- casts because they worked for the Romans) and a moody, melancholy pessimist such as Matthew and Thomas to spread the good news of the Gospel. Christ transformed both men in the same way he transformed the others in group 1 by opening their eyes and renewing their minds in matters of "The Blessing".
Yes, the original Blessing, which Adam had before the fall. Jesus had fulfilled His mission by restoring God's Blessing to mankind at His resurrection.
These men, among others witnessed this great event and were then sent out to spread the good news of death's destruction and how whoever (you and I are a whoever) can partake and operate in the Blessing, which is a deep subject in itself.
The final group of disciples includes James (the less, son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), Thaddeus (the apostle with three names; a.k.a. Lebbaeus and Judas, son of James), then there is Judas Iscariot (the traitor).
One named Matthias was chosen by the eleven to replace Judas Iscariot, that’s all we know about him.
These twelve disciples of Jesus lived with him for three years, yet they didn’t gain full understanding of Christ or his kingdom until after he rose from the dead. They were truly converted after receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Later, after Jesus ascended into heaven, a man named Saul, who breathed murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples was confronted by Jesus. Saul was stricken blind while on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Saul became known as the Apostle Paul who was commissioned by Christ to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. A number of books in the New Testament are accredited to Paul, such as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and Thessalonians.
The apostles are still gathering souls into the body of Christ (the church) by casting their nets into the sea of humanity through their testimony in the Gospels and their epistles.
Read more about John the Apostle
Character of the Disciples
We can get an idea from the scriptures of the type of personalities or characteristics of the twelve disciples, before they were anointed with the Holy Spirit. They were a varied group of individuals. Their transformation in itself can be considered proof of Christ's Resurrection, because nobody will endure persecution, prison, torture and even death for a lie.
A Human Common Thread
The one common thread all these men had (except Judas Iscariot) was a willingness to acknowledge their own sinfulness and look to Christ for forgiveness. Does this thread run through you?
Christ met these twelve disciples with mercy, grace and forgiveness, transforming their lives into lives that glorified Him. And in doing so, he opened the door for all who trust in him to live an abundant life eternally.
After all is said and done, the ministry of Jesus (the Anointed One) as explained in the beginning by the original twelve disciples of Jesus Christ through the counselor (Holy Spirit). These teachings can be found in the Holy Bible. There lay the keys to understanding God's perfect will for our lives. A will of God that all human beings take hold of the keys to God's kingdom and learn how to function in love, because eternity is a very long time. The best thing about this opportunity is this... all you have to do is ask! Now that is a golden opportunity, wouldn't you agree? Jesus is the perfect example and all those who believe in Him will be as He is.
Peter, Leader of the Twelve
Jesus gave Simon the name “Peter” (meaning rock or stone). Peter seems to be an aggressive, bold, inquisitive, outspoken and self- confident type of person. He has the characteristics of a leader and Christ (anointed one), Jesus molded him into the type of leader he was designed to be, which became a reality on the Day of Pentecost.
Peter was the rock on which Christ built his church. The church being the body of Christ, consisting of those whom are indwelt with the Holy Spirit also known as the Spirit of Christ and the third member of the Holy Trinity.
Although it is "kingdom of heaven" principles that are the foundation of our Lord's teaching, the church started with the twelve. Peter being number 1, the Rock. When he addressed the crowd on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41), about three thousand were saved that day.
At times he spoke out before thinking. He is the only Apostle to rebuke Jesus (Matthew 16:22). When Jesus rebukes Peter, he calls him Simon. On the other hand Jesus called him Peter when commending him.
For instance, in Luke 22:31 (the last supper) Jesus says “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat but I have prayed for you”… Peter replies, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and death.” Jesus answers, “ Truly I tell you that before the roster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
Another instance, which shows the character of Peter, is in Gethsemane (the garden) when Jesus is arrested. There were hundreds of battle ready Roman soldiers in and around the garden that night. Peter decides to draw his sword and strike the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. I’m sure he tried to decapitate the man but missed. What was Peter thinking? Was he going to slay an entire detachment of Roman soldiers? Jesus healed Malchus’s ear and told Simon to put away his sword. “Put your sword in its place for all who take up the sword will parish by the sword.”
Matthew 14: 26, describes the time Jesus walked out on the water to meet up with the disciples in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, as they were in their boat. Peter was out of the boat walking on the water while the others were clinging to their seats.
The Lord put Peter through three years of tests and difficulties, giving him a lifetime of experiences a true leader must endure.
Peter’s wisdom of divine principles can be found in his epistles (1 peter 3 commentary). He grew in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter learned (as did the rest of the twelve) that a true leader loves and serves those he leads. He was a great leader of the early church holding the keys to the kingdom.
Scripture doesn’t record the death of Peter but the early church testimony of Clement indicates that Peter was crucified. Peter pleaded to be crucified upside down because he wasn’t worthy to die as his Lord did.
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