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In search of the Apostles, Where did they go?

Updated on July 23, 2016
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

Would you like to know?

What really happened to these folks? (By the way Thank you Leonardo Da Vinci)
What really happened to these folks? (By the way Thank you Leonardo Da Vinci) | Source

A strange hub

Sat here this Sunday morning I was thinking about what kind of Hub I want to write this week and I had a strange kind of feeling that I need to return to some of the kind of hubs that I used to write a few months ago, kind of strange really as the last couple of days that feeling has been building, but I don't want to return to the stories and styles that argue for their reality, rather to take a look at the story and take some inspiration from them.

I've always been fascinated by the early Christians and the kind of things they had to deal with, but for me, the one thing I've been really curious about is what happened to the disciples of Jesus after he went into heaven? Where did they all end up?

Granted, we do know some of the stories from the book of Acts of the Apostles, but we don't know all of them, in fact the Book of Acts only really concentrates on the original followers of Jesus up until the council of Jerusalem but then it concentrates on the ministry of Paul as it tells us how the gospel came to the center of the Empire!

So what happened to them?

Who exactly are we talking about?

That's a question we probably need to look at first! Who exactly are we talking about?

Back in the days of the New Testament you get the impression that the Empire was a very male dominated society and that the Bible was a very male dominated book, on the surface it is. but we're not just looking at the men that the Bible talks about, we'll be looking at some of the women as well and the impact they had on the writing of the Bible.

One that comes straight to mind is Mary the Mother of Jesus. Actually she's a pretty important source of some of stories of the early part of Jesus' life, but who was she? and more importantly what happened to her after?

Take a look at Luke Chapter 2 verse 51

51 Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was subject to them. But His mother treasured up all these things in her heart


Question here, who's the one telling the story?

I know some of you are going to say "Oh it's a later invention of some nameless scribe" and I can't argue with that. It might well be, I don't think so and I've got another more plausible explanation. Maybe it's an old woman well into her 90s sat in the home of her 'adopted' son who's also a believer and overseer of the church in Ephesus! (we'll talk about that 'son' some other time).


The main places in Mary's story

show route and directions
A markerNazareth, Israel -
Nazareth, Israel
get directions

Mary's story starts here. Later, as a family they'll come back to here.

B markerBethlehem, Israel -
Bethlehem
get directions

Jesus birthplace

C markerHeliopolis, Egypt -
Heliopolis, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
get directions

Joseph, Mary and Jesus flee Herod to here.

D markerEphesus, Turkey -
Karaova, Ephesus Evleri, 09400 Kuşadası/Aydın, Turkey
get directions

Mary and John moved to here later in life where John was 'Bishop' of the group of believers.

Ask yourself. How many disciples actually watched the crucifixion?

The witnesses

Mary was a witness at quite a few of the events that the gospels tell us about, she was there (naturally) at the birth, she was there when the wise men showed up. When Jesus was twelve and left behind talking to the scribes in the Temple, it's Mary and Joseph that run back frantically searching for him!

She's one who knows the truth of what really went on at the time, and she's one who made sure that her side of the story, or at least as much of the story that she knew was passed down to us so that we can know what really went on.

A very different, yet possible picture of Mary

Be honest

This video above is a very disturbing picture of what life was like in the days of the Roman Empire, and while it doesn't totally accept the idea that Jesus was conceived the way the Bible states, it really shows the kind of world Mary and Joseph grew up in.

As I said i didn't totally accept everything the video said was possible, but it gave me a deeper appreciation of the horrors that Mary and Joseph faced and the way they made sure that their story was told for future generations.

Some of the things Mary mad sure we knew about!

  1. The Visit of the Angel. Luke 1 verse 26-38
  2. The Birth of Jesus. Matthew 1 verse 18-25
  3. The visit of the wise men (Magi) Matthew 2
  4. The flight to Egypt. Matthew 3
  5. The story of the boy Jesus at the Temple. Luke 2
  6. The first Miracle (turning water into wine)
  7. The fact most Jesus' brothers and sisters didn't believe in him
  8. Jesus last words at the Cross (only she and John were there!)

Think about it, that's a pretty impressive body of work for one 'illiterate' woman who was regarded as being a 'second class citizen' as most women were at that time. Yet she's the main source for these stories.

Here's a direct quote I found from a website that shows just what she was like, and I think it's 'right on the nail'

The Mary of the Gospels is a woman marked by chutzpah, not reserved piety. She is hardly the pious, poker-faced Mary of too much of Western Christian art. Her song — The Magnificat — is a beautiful mosaic of dozens of Old Testament expressions designed to announce that God has acted to bring Israel its Messiah. She pressed Jesus to provide wine when the wine ran low at a wedding. She — not Joseph — was the one who approached Jesus when he was left behind at the temple, and she was the one who seemed to reprimand him. Mary and her children seemingly took charge of the situation and went from Nazareth to Capernaum because of what was being reported about Jesus — and that scene appears to be one where Mary wants to protect Jesus from getting himself in trouble with the leaders.


What happened after?

That's what the story's about right? What did happen to her after? Well apparently there's a difference of thought as to whether she had more children. The Eastern Church says no she didn't and that the 'brothers and sisters' of Jesus would have been older kids through Joseph.

Remember that the Bible tells us of at least three brothers of Jesus and some sisters, the early church says there were at least four other brothers and two sisters that we know of! So she may have had other kids.

The Catholic church says that they're actually Jesus' cousins but were regarded as being 'like brothers and sisters' where the Protestant churches regard them as being later kids of Mary and Joseph.


Big deal, so what?

I can hear the questions being asked, "What's this got to do with the price of fish?"

Well it kind of explains why Jesus can get away with the stunt he pulls on the cross where he gives the care of his mother away to a seeming family stranger!

If Jesus' 'brothers and sisters' weren't actually 'family' then as the firstborn he had a moral duty to make sure that his surviving family were looked after, and considering they didn't even believe him (that was about to change) and even his Mum was having a hard time with the latest things he had a duty to make sure she wasn't going to 'come to grief' and what better way than to entrust her to the one person who'd showed true even in the crucifixion, the only one of his followers who was actually there for both him and her!

Later on we read that as the church was growing in Turkey, the Apostles decided that it was time that some of the bigger places that were getting a christian witness had someone who'd actually been there, one who'd walked and talked with Jesus, one who could tell many of the stories from memory, who'd been there when he fed 5,000. Who'd been there when Lazarus was raised from the dead and many of the other stories had happened.

It just so happened that the Apostle chosen for the assignment was the same one who'd also been given the task of looking after the earthly mother of Jesus, and she although she was probably into her seventies at the time was very much alive.

Her last years

I tried to look up traditions on her last years to see if there was some evidence and which way it pointed. Apparently all of the ancient churches believe that she was literally 'taken up into heaven' in bodily form, but that belief kind of comes from much later, around the seventh or eighth centuries.

The earliest records we have are from the mid second century writings of Irenaeus that simply tell us that John went to Ephesus.

There's no real way of knowing what happened to her, but the stories she left us and made sure were written down for us have changed the course of our history and that should never be forgotten.

That's all for now folks

To be honest I'm not 100% sure why I wrote this hub! I mean the desire to write it came on pretty strong, and it's only just now, as I'm finishing up letting go of me.

Maybe it's that someone needed to read something about the life of this amazing and truly Blessed woman. One who dealt with the kind of situations that most of us would deal with by running for all we're worth away from. One who despite all the hassles, the lack of education, the prejudice, the hatred (that's still poured out) and all that's bad in the world is still a shining example of how a frail Human being can still be the 'God Bearer' that she was.

After all, if ever there was a time that the world needed it, it's today.

Bye for now

Lawrence

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    • profile image

      Norine Williams 12 months ago

      Amen!

      But they have they "reward!"

      You know, the Holy Spirit is AWESOME. JESUS REALLY does "lead and guide us" as will be REVEALED to ALL on HP and ALL OVER THE WORLD (Matthew 24:14)!

      Blessings

      Norine

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Norine

      When I first thought of the idea I was just going to 'go with ' the idea of the 'traditional' twelve Apostles, but as I thought some it was as if the Holy Spirit was saying "What about the others?"

      Mary was Jesu's Mum and in many ways the first to really believe in him!

      Salome and Zebedee were mum and dad to James and John, they literally 'bankrolled' Jesu's ministry!

      So many who helped in ways we don't think about.

      I remember from my time as a soldier that for every soldier in combat there are eight or more behind him/her in support roles, yet the credit due them is seldom given.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 12 months ago

      I'm just reading this particular HUB and it's very coincidental Reluctant Revival asked a question this week "If you were present in the time Jesus walked the earth, what role or who would you prefer to be? or something to that affect and I replied "Mary!"

      WOW! You see how GOD works! You were right in saying "Someone needed to read this for Something was "pressing" you to write" or something similar and that someone was me!

      I never noticed Mary was the "disciplinarian" in Jesus' life although I've read numerous times and saw she was always the one telling them to do what HE said, or defending her son, or scowling him when HE frightened her for "Being about HIS Father's business" it never really dawned on me! I guess because it just comes "naturally" for me to think the woman as the "disciplinarian!"

      Based on Scripture, Jesus had to be the eldest child because the angel appeared to "a virgin" (Luke 1:26-38)! Based on Scripture, his siblings were probably not at HIS crucifixion because Matthew 10:36 says "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household" they same way it is today!

      Yes, had it not been for Mary, the story could not have unfolded!

      Blessings

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 12 months ago

      I think you did a good job of that.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      Glad you enjoyed it, I tried to make it 'inspirational' with something that everyone could 'take away'

      Lawrence

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 13 months ago

      Thank you. An interesting article about the Virgin Mary and the early church.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Lovely thought and thank you for sharing a personal story.

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 13 months ago from Australia

      Folks

      I recall a dream about Mary at a time of serious crisis for my son only three years ago. My son was seriously assaulted nearly to death. I dreamed Mary was dressed in very plain rough bluish grey coloured robes. A young happy lady. She was concerned about my suffering too. She placed some of the rough cloth about my head for a moment and then pointed out the herb marigold (calendula) which helps maintain a weakened immune system and can relax a person. Of course the next day I bought some. After reading about marigold I realised it was related to Mary herself (literally "Mary's gold"). When the flower opens in the morning a tear drop of dew is released as if the flower sheds one tear. This is a symbol of Mary's tears at the suffering of Her Son.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Deb

      When we get there we'll all know the answers, until then sometimes looking at their lives can help us see what the people in the Bible had to overcome and that encourages us!

      As I researched this I was amazed at just how strong a woman Mary would have had to be.

      Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 13 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      It's all pretty remarkable, for sure. Maybe in the Afterlife, whatever that may be, I can look for Mary and ask her all these questions. But, then I will know, but you may not.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I know exactly what you mean, I'm usually three weeks or so behind everyone else.

      The important part is enjoying the hub.

      Have a great week.

      Lawrence

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Interesting stuff, Lawrence. Sorry, I'm late getting to this one. There's a lot I need to catch up on. Thaks for posting this.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 14 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      yes many ancient expressions still exist. I'm unaware of any controversy here?

      Yes the real persons all existed as primary source documents exist. The concept of purity of womanhood may seem out of date today but it was held up to be sacred by early Christians. I marvel at the average ancient Roman people who were sickened by Roman excesses and who turned to the modern concepts of love and purity as taught by all the Great Masters such as JC. The ideals of sacred motherhood, abstinence, self sacrifice etc were all embodied by Mary as qualities essential to the definition of "humanity".

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paladin and Oz

      Everyone's entitled to an opinion, and that's why I've left the comments 'standing'

      With regard to the 'metaphors' in my reply to Oz I pointed out that those same 'metaphors'are still used in Arab culture today, in fact I believe they're used in many other cultures as well.

      Does thay make the Bible 'timeless' or restricted to a 'time and place' thats probably how each of us see things differently!

      Lawrence

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 14 months ago from Michigan, USA

      As for the use of metaphors in the Bible, it seems some more easily fall into the trap of admitting that its text is a wholly HUMAN construct, while trying to make excuses for its inconsistencies, contradictions and historical inaccuracies.

      In trying to explain away such glaring and fatal flaws as mere "metaphors," "parables" or "analogies," they forget that if the Bible were TRULY the work (or even only the inspiration) of an omniscient creator, one wouldn't need to use such literary devices to make people comprehend its meaning.

      As Yahweh is supposedly 'timeless' his texts should be just as timeless -- NOT dated to a particular audience, then or now. Indeed, one would never need a concordance or reference volumes to understand what is written in its pages. It should so clear, unambiguous and unchanging that even a child can understand it!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      I haven't read all your comment yet but just to pick up on what you say about the phrase 'son of' actually that metaphor is still used today!

      In Arab culture if you want to say someone is a 'good person' you use the literal phrase 'ibn il balad' literally 'son of the country' of if you were talking to a lady it was 'bottling il balad' (daughter of the country)

      With regard to Mary it wasn't my intention to cause friction with what people say about later tea hing of the church but simply to look at the real person behind the story.

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 14 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      Part of the "problem" is coming to grips with ancient metaphors and forms of literary expressions. We can't impose our modern interpretation. For example "the son of" was an adjectival expression and often not literal. eg the "son of the desert" or the "son of a jackal" or in this case "the son of god". Likewise the "mother of god" etc. A virgin birth was symbolic of God not having a father because He existed before all else.

      These things are endemic in the Bible and ancient cultures. The symbolism of blood for example.

      As in Hindu religion EVERYTHING has an inner symbolism seperate to the outer meaning.

      The mother of JC fell into this long literary tradition of spiritual metaphor.

      It is quite startling to repeatedly see educated atheist scholars (who seem to study the Bible) take everything literally including metaphors and ancient Biblical expressions in order to reinforce their "points". Furthermore putting aside primary evidences and holistic archaeological studies is inexcusable.

      This relates to your valid theme of Mary as part of the solid recent verbal tradition behind the primary source scriptures.

      Her bodily resurrection into heaven is both an allegory of her purity of physical being and a physical reality just as her virginity was. How else could ancient writers express themselves but through the literary expressions of the time?

      Jesus had a physical mother who was both real and also possessed inner symbolic meanings.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      This is one of those hubs that took on a direction of its own as I was writing it. I'd meant to write about one thing but something else came out of the computer!

      Just think about it, almost everything we know about Jesus' early life is told from his mothers perspective!

      Mary was a strong woman and I'm glad the hub spoke to people

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      Regarding the grammar yep you're right about the first draft! I normally write in another program over the week and transfer to HP at the weekend.

      This one I just wrote straight into HP 'as the inspiration took!

      I've got it saved in word as well as im thinking that as the series develops I might do other things with the articles, but meanwhile I'll make changes to the grammar.

      I'm pretty much 'with you're regarding oral tradition but with this one I wanted to 'peel away' the later stuff and look at the real person behind the story.

      I was trying to find out what happened to Mary after the days of the New Testament but found there are no traditions before the 7th century that's why I didn't really go down that track!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 14 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Lawrence - I am glad that you started this series. There, I said it--now you simply must create more. Of course we will never actually know what happened to the followers of Jesus, but I find it fascinating to speculate.

      As a Christian (but non-Catholic) I'm afraid I have always felt a bit of bias on the part of the Catholic church in stating that Mary was not only a virgin when Jesus was born (and I do believe that), but that she was a virgin the remainder of her life and bore no more children. That isn't the family unit I envision.

      I like your assumption that Mary was a strong woman.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 14 months ago from Australia

      Eric

      I too immediately contacted all my ex wives and got onto the phone to the Vietnemese bombshell I'm currently dating to tell the assembled throng how much I appreciate them all.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 14 months ago from Australia

      Lawence

      There are some great sentiments in this Hub as well as vaguely implied insights into the importance of early oral evidence in the formulation of the NT.

      Uninformed critics disregard the power and accuracy of oral evidence. Indigenous societies in Australia have oral traditions that accurately describe extinct ancient animals and geographical changes dating back over 50,000 years. Compare this with the accurate eyewitness narratives of the generational contemporaries of JC that were all written down within a brief historical time. Scientifically such accounts are defined as primary source material. "Nobodies" try to deny this.

      Can I be critical of your grammar? From the title and then throughout there are constant and formidable lapses of grammar. A first draft perhaps?

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paladin

      In stripping away the 'hype' or religious teaching and trying to look for the real people behind the stories I'd agree.

      Sometimes taking all the 'trappings' away and looking at what's left shows some pretty inspirational stuff.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Mel

      I hear ya! I've got a daughter at the Catholic school here in Hamilton so I have to watch what I say at times lol!

      Joking aside I think there's times when stripping back the stuff that's grown up around some of the Bible characters and seeing them in their own culture and time can really help us get to the nessage.

      After writing this hub I'm even more impressed with the young girl who took on the huge task of raising the boy we all know as Jesus!

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 14 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Sort of like my "Atheist Boogeymen" series (such as it is). Looking forward to it!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paladin

      "Guilty as charged your honour" lol!

      I don't think you were 'nitpicking' as you did point some things out that were valid.

      You're right that the Bible does tell us there were crowds at the cross when Jesus was as crucified but as far as I'm aware the only followers of his that were 'fight there' at the foot were 'The disciple Jesus loved' and 'Mary'

      I hadn't really thought where the hub would go, I had thought I'd probably cover one or two in the same hub but it didn't come out that way.

      There probably will be a series but I might not write them 'one after the other'

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 14 months ago from San Diego California

      Please continue this series, I find it a fascinating subject. I am anxious to hear your account of what happens to the 12 and their close associates and allies.

      How much of the Biblical account of Mary is real, and how much do you think was embellished as the need for a Christian version of the popular mother goddess motif became apparent? My Roman Catholic wife would slap me for such blasphemy, but perhaps your treatment of the question will be more restrained. Great stuff.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I think when we read the Bible we think it's a book that's a 'product of it's time' and in a lot of ways I think it is, but one major way it differs from it's 'time' is the prominence it gives to the 'second class' citizens that women were.

      I mean think about the stories where women play a major role, the very human, yet very strong men and women.

      I did want to take a look at the later traditions of what happened after the days of the New testament but found that a lot of that is based on much later traditions, so I stuck to the narrative and was amazed at how big a role she must have played in lives of the early believers.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      I'm glad you refrained from waking your wife, though you can go and tell her how much you love her when she wakes up!

      To be honest this was a hub that I really had no idea how it was going to 'come out' when I began (I'd deleted two hubs that I started as they just weren't right) I just knew I had something to say, but no idea what!

      You're so right about the God fearing women in our lives, and exploring this hub to me it showed just how strong Jesus' Mother must really have been, and who knows, maybe why God chose her in the first place.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 14 months ago from Michigan, USA

      An interesting hub, Lawrence, though I do have one minor complaint -- the hub's title suggests an examination of multiple apostles, while the actual hub concerns only Mary, Jesus' mother. Am I correct in presuming this is going to be an ongoing series?

      Also, this may be a bit nitpicky, but you mention in your list that only Mary and John were there at the cross when Jesus died, but in every single gospel account, there are multiple people at the cross to hear his last words (which, incidentally, are different in each gospel account).

      Further, the gospel of John never actually identifies who Jesus anointed as Mary's "son" to look after her (though there are popular theories among theologians). The gospels make multiple references to the "disciple whom Jesus loved," but never specify who it is. Indeed, the only person identified by name in the New Testament as being "loved" by Jesus is Lazarus (in John 11).

      In any case, there I go nitpicking again! On the plus side, you've made a promising start...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

      From a historical standpoint this was very interesting. One of those mysteries lost in time we will never know. Maybe conjecture is the fun part of it all. Anyway, I'm glad you wrote the article so I could read it. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Way cool. I almost just went in to wake up my wife to tell her how awesome she is -- I thought better on her one day to sleep in. I do not know a whole lot but I know that I am made better by being attached to my God fearing wife. My moms have made me better. I just cannot imagine my life without the strength of my women.

      Oh and thanks for reminding me of the Council of Jerusalem. Good stuff, I am a big fan of James.