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The 12 apostles, also referred to as the 12 disciples or simply “the Twelve,” were Jesus Christ’s 12 closest followers. Each of them were major leaders in the movement which became Christianity and helped spread the gospel throughout the world.

The word apostles refers to the twelve individuals whom Jesus choose from among his disciples for positions of leadership.

The Names of the 12 Disciples are:

1.          Peter

He is known as Simon, Simon Peter, or Cephas (Rock), Peter was a gregarious, natural leader, and an obvious spokesperson for the twelve. Peter’s name is mentioned far more in the New Testament than any other of the disciples. He was the older of the two brothers and the only married disciple.

He was a married man (Mk 1:30) who frequently took his wife along with him on his missionary travels (1 Cor 9:5). He was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, who told him, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41). John writes, “When Jesus looked at him, he said, ‘You are Simon, the son of Jonah.

2. Andrew

Andrew was Peter’s brother, and they were natives of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. As fishermen, they worked in partnership with the brothers James and John (Lk 5:10), also destined to be apostles. Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist before he met Jesus. When John the Baptist identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:36), Andrew immediately decided to follow him, and the first thing he did was to go to Peter and tell him straightforwardly, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41).

 Andrew traveled to Patras in western Greece in 69 A.D., where the Roman proconsul Aegeates tried to convince him to forsake Christianity so that he would not have to execute him.

3. James

Like Andrew and Peter, the brothers James and John also had a fishing business at Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. James is the elder brother of John. He is a rather quiet part of the team of disciples in that we don’t read much about him in Scripture. As part of Jesus’ “inner three” he was permitted to be present along with Peter and John when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead check from (Mark 5:37), he witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 17:1), and he was in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. Read from (Mark 14:33). James was called to full-time ministry together with John, and immediately following fellow fishermen Peter and Andrew. He was one of the three so-called “inner circle” apostles, and although he is not as famous as John and Peter, he was privileged to be in Jesus’ company with them at times when others were forbidden.

4. John

He is known as the “disciple Jesus loved,” he was also a part of the inner three. (John 3:23He wrote a large portion of the New Testament—The book of John, 1, 2, and 3 John, and the book of Revelation. John wrote more about love than any other New Testament author. John was given the nickname “son of thunder” (Mark 3:17). Whether it was for their explosive temperaments, speech, ambition, or something else, James and John clearly had some defining quality in common. John is most known for:

  • Asking Jesus if he and James should call down fire from heaven to destroy a village which failed to show them hospitality (Luke 9:54)
  • Asking Jesus if he and James can sit on either side of Jesus’ throne in heaven, and unwittingly promising to follow Jesus into martyrdom (Mark 10:35–40)
  • Taking care of Jesus’ mother, Mary (John 19:26–27)
  • Beating Peter in a race to Jesus’ empty tomb (John 20:2–9)

5. Philip

Philip was a native of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee and he was one of the earliest disciples, for he received his calling from Jesus the day after they did. He was also responsible for introducing another of the apostles, Bartholomew, to Jesus. He is mentioned in connection with the feeding of the five thousand, where Jesus asks him, “‘where shall we buy bread that these may eat?’ But this he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little’”

 (Jn 6:5-7). Again, he is shown in discourse with Jesus shortly before the crucifixion. Philip was stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia.

6. Nathanael

He was known as Bartholomew, Nathanael came from Cana in Galilee. (John 21:2) He expressed some local prejudice about Nazareth. (John 1:46) Jesus recognized how sincerely his love for God was from the beginning when He said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” (John 1:47). Bartholomew and Nathanael have been accepted throughout church history as one and the same. The early church historians used the names interchangeably, and the occurrences of the two names in the New Testament seem to indicate that both names refer to the same person. It is likely that Bartholomew was his last name (bar means son of). When Philip found Jesus, the first thing he did was to seek out Bartholomew and tell him plainly that he had found a man from Nazareth, who was the one of whom Moses and the prophets wrote. Bartholomew responded with the famous question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46).

7. Matthew (Levi)

Matthew is referred to as Levi. Levi, the Son of Alpheus, Matthew was a tax collector–the most despised people in all of Israel. They were known for taking extra money from the people of Israel to pay off the Romans and to pad their own pockets.

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, Follow Me! And he got up and followed Him. (Matthew 9:9)  

Matthew brought the gospel to Ethiopia and Egypt. Hircanus the king had him killed with a spear. Tax collectors were generally despised, for not only did they collect money for the occupying power, they were usually dishonest, charging more tax than was legally required in order to boost their own income. Nothing definite is known of Matthew’s later life, but he is believed to have preached in Palestine and its neighboring areas.so generally Mattew was Tax collecter among disciples of Jesus.

8. Thomas

Thomas, or Jude Thomas Didymus, was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. The name Thomas means “twin” in Aramaic, and Didymus has the same meaning in Greek.

St. Thomas the Apostle, a Jew and fisherman by trade, was blessed to follow Christ, who made him an apostle in the year 31.

St. Thomas is known for his unbelief after the Lord’s death. Jesus appeared to the disciples on the day of the resurrection to convince them that he had really risen. Thomas was absent and refused to believe in the resurrection of Jesus: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger in the nail holes and put my hand in his side, I will not believe

Tradition strongly suggests that Thomas started the Christian church in India. Some suggest being run through by a spear killed him, ironically, similar to Jesus being pierced by a spear.

9. James the Less

He is the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:15). His mother’s name is Mary (Mark 15:40) and he has a brother named Joseph (Matthew 27:56).  Except for a few details about his family, there is nothing more mentioned about him in Scripture.

He received this name to distinguish him from another apostle, James the Greater. James the Less was the son of Clopas or Alphaeus and Mary of Clopas, and brother of Judas Thaddaeus and Joseph.

 In ecclesiastical Latin he was called Sanctus Iacobus, that is, Saint Jacob.

10. Simon the Zealot

The Zealots, as Simon would have been, were members of a religious and political faction considered to be the most radical and fundamentalist wing of first century Judaism.

No one knows for sure where the Canaanite would have exercised his ministry. Some traditions say that he established Christianity in Egypt, together with Mark and in Syria accompanied by Philip.

Others may have evangelized North Africa, Asia Minor and Spain. It is also said that he may have gone with Judas Thaddeus to Mesopotamia, Syria and Persia.

He was a man of fierce loyalties, amazing passion, courage, and zeal. Simon had believed the truth and embraced Christ as his Lord.

11. Judas, son of James

Judas Thaddeus appears last in the list of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, but it is not known when or how he became one of the disciples.

The Apostle Jude Thaddaeus was probably the brother of James the Less.

Most early tradition says that Judas, son of James, a few years after Pentecost, took the gospel north to Edessa. There he healed the King of Edessa, Abgar. Eusebius the historian said the archives at Edessa contained the visit of Judas and the healing of Abgar (the records have now been destroyed).

12. Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot was one of the apostles of Jesus of Nazareth. He followed his master during his preaching in Judea and Galilee and, according to the canonical Gospelswas the traitor apostle who revealed to the members of the Sanhedrin the place where they could capture their Master without his followers interfering, as Jesus himself had announced during the Last Supper. He obviously became a follower and stayed with Jesus for three years. He gave Christ three years of his life, but he certainly didn’t give Him his heart, and Jesus knew this. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:15).

Source: overviewbible, crosswalk, jesus,medievalart, tubibliaonline

By alexoo

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