John 1 – The Word became Flesh & Who Were the Twelve Disciples?

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Galician: Catedral de Santiago de Compostela), a cathedral of the archdiocese is in the World Heritage Site of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Spain.

The cathedral is the reputed burial-place of Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. The cathedral has historically been a place of pilgramage on the Way of St. James, since the Early Middle Ages. The building is a Romanesque structure with later Gothic and Baroque additions.

Below are the 12 original disciples, but there were a few others that were just as important.  Tomorrow we’ll look at…

John 1
The Word became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

“John” – in this Gospel the name John always refers to John the Baptist.

7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

The Apostle John is referring to the incarnation of Christ.

“Lighteth every man” – Christ enlightens every human being so that no one has an excuse.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 225 AD), was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.

He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy. Tertullian has been called “the father of Latin Christianity”[page needed] and “the founder of Western theology.”

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

“He was before me” – this is John the Baptist talking, saying that Jesus existed before him.  Jesus has always been, He’s before everyone.

16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

“Art though Elias?…I am not” – the Jews remembered that Elijah had not died (2 Kgs 2:11) and believed that he came back as John the Baptist, but denied it.  Yet, later Jesus said that the Baptist was Elijah (Matt 11:14), but He meant it in the sense that John was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Mal 4:5.

22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

A sign at the entrance to the “house of the fishermen” at e-tell. Although some suggest e-tell is ancient Bethsaida excavations at the site revealed so far only scarce evidence form the first century CE.

According to historical sources Bethsaida was also the burial place of Herod Antipas and home to a Roman temple dedicated to Livia, but to this day no clear remains of these structures were found.

23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

John the Baptist applied the prophecy of Is 40:3 to his own ministry of calling people to repent in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

“Lamb of God” – Jesus was the lamb of God because He would be sacrificed for God, i.e., for our sake.  And He was called the lamb of God because He would be crucified on Passover when lambs are sacrificed.

30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

Beirut, Lebanon
Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, with its million-plus inhabitants, conveys a sense of life and energy that is immediately apparent.

This dynamism is echoed by the Capital’s geographical position: a great promontory jutting into the blue sea with dramatic mountains rising behind it. A city with a venerable past, 5000 years ago Beirut was a prosperous town on the Canaanite and Phoenician coast.

Named Beroth, the city of wells, by the Phoenicians, it is one of the oldest settlements of man as evidenced by relics from prehistoric communities.

33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

“He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” – John baptized with water that has no power, it is only symbolic in showing that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.  Only Jesus can and does baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

The era of Roman emperors and gladiators and Greek gods and goddesses is a fascinating time in history and it is reflected in these unique and beautiful coins.

The first coins were made by the Greeks in the 7th Century BC.

They didn’t look much like coins as we know them today. They were basically a lump of metal, sometimes with the weight stamped into them.

44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Who Were the Twelve Disciples?

The twelve disciples, also known as the twelve apostles, were Jesus’ closest followers.  Disciple is a Biblical term meaning learner or pupil.

They were men who travelled with Jesus and learned from Him.  The Last Supper was the final meal Jesus and the 12 disciples shared together until after His resurrection. 

Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection they separated to cover the world and began spreading His teachings and the promise that He would return and bring all believers to heaven:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn 14:1-3).

A disciples is anyone who follows Jesus and an apostle is anyone that doesn’t just believe in him, but also has met Him personally.

There is some disagreement among Biblical scholars as to who exactly should be counted as an apostle.  Paul of Tarsus called himself an apostle.  He was active in the early Christian church bud did not meet Jesus while He was alive. 

But Paul argued that he received revelation from the risen Jesus directly.  Mary Magdalene, a female follower of Jesus, is often referred to as a disciples, and some call her the Apostles’ apostle.

In the following descriptions of Jesus’ disciples I include things that the Catholic Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia, and some Apocryphal Acts, but I don’t believe a word any of them say unless it is also said by a reliable source. 

I list these because it is up to you to believe them or not, I’m not God.

The Twelve Disciples.

Peter

Who is He?

Peter was originally called Simon and was a fisherman who was called to be a disciple by Jesus at the start of his ministry. 

This took place at the Sea of Galilee according to the first three Gospels, or in Judea according to the Gospel of John.

Peter’s original name was Simeon or Simon, and he is also referred to in John’s Gospel as “Simon, son of John.”  His brother Andrew was also a disciples.

What is He Famous For?

Peter is usually regarded as the leader of the disciples.  He was singled out by Jesus to found His Church. 

On the night of his arrest, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny knowing him three times before the cock crowed in the morning.

This happened as Jesus predicted (Matt 26:769-75, MK 14:66-72, Lk 22:54-62, Jn 18:15-18, 25-27).

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Peter was the leader of the early church.  He appointed Matthias as an apostle to replace Judas.  Peter allowed non-Jews to join the church without first having to convert to Judaism (Judaism had not yet become evil). 

Herod Agrippa II (born AD 27/28),[1] officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes just called Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, the Herodians.

He was the son of the first and better-known Herod Agrippa, the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla (second wife of the Roman procurator Antonius Felix.

He was arrested and imprisoned by Herod Agrippa I around 44 A.D.  an angle released him from his chains and he escaped. 

Christian tradition says that Peter went to Rome and founded a church, which later became the Roman Catholic Church, but Peter was not of the Catholic faith.  Peter was considered to be the first bishop.

How Did He Die?

An early Christian document, the “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” by John Foxe and First Epistle of Clement strongly suggests that Peter was martyred in Rome c. 64 A.D. 

The Church History, a 4t century text, says Peter was executed by being crucified upside down.  Reportedly, Peter requested this because he didn’t consider himself worthy of dying in the same way as Jesus.

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says the same thing.

Peter is buried in the catacombs under the Vatican but there is some theological disagreement as to the location of Peter’s last resting place.

Andrew

Who is He?

Andrew was a fisherman, was the brother of Peter.  Jesus called them both from their boats, telling them He would make them fishers of men.  This is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

What is He Famous For?

According to John’s Gospel, before Andrew joined Jesus’ disciples he was a follower of John the Baptist, the Jewish prophet (a person who speaks messages from God) who baptized Jesus with water.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Legends of the early church place Andrew in the area around the Black Sea, where he spread the teachings of Jesus.  Church history says he preached in Scythia, a region covering eastern Europe and western Asia.

How Did He Die?

The Bible does not describe how Andrew died, but later accounts dating from the 4th century to medieval times say he was crucified on an X-shaped cross.  This became known as the St. Andrew’s Cross. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that his execution was ordered by Aegeas, the Roman governor of Patras in Greece, and that Andrew was tied to the cross, not nailed.  His remains were taken from Patras and moved several times, eventually being brought to Rome.

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says the same thing.

In 1964 A.D. Pope Paul VI gave Andrew’s had back to Patras.

James the Greater

Who is He?

  James was also known as James the Greater.  He was the elder brother of John.  Matthew’s Gospel also calls him “James the son of Zebedee”.

What is He Famous For?

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus nicknames James and John the “sons of thunder” for their tempers.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Spanish tradition reported in the Catholic Encyclopedia says that James went to preach in Spain.

How Did He Die?

James is the only martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament.  Herod Agrippa I had him beheaded with a  sword. 

According to Spanish tradition, James’ remains were brought to the city of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. 

Christian pilgrims visit his shrine there, which by the Middle Ages was the third most important Christian pilgrimage site after Rome and Jerusalem.

John

Who is He?

John was James’ brother.  He is called John the Evangelist or John the Divine.

What is He Famous For?

He is the author of the Book of John, the Books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and the Book of Revelation. John sat next to Jesus as the Last Supper

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Not much is known for certain about John’s life after Jesus’ death.  An early Church father, Irenaeus, wrote in Against Heresies c. 180 A.D. that John wrote his Gospel at Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. 

John’s official shrine is found there.  John spent time in exile on the island of Patmos, according to a line in Revelation, which he wrote there. 

A book called “The Acts of John” contains further stories about him, but it is considered apocryphal (of doubtful accuracy, not part of official scripture) by churches.

How Did He Die?

Tertulian, a 2nd century Christian writer, wrote that John was plunged into boiling oil in Rome and came out miraculously unhurt.

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says the same thing.

Early traditions say John didn’t  die at all, but ascended into heaven like the Jewish prophets Enoch and Elijah, although the Catholic Church believes that he died in or around 100 A.D. “at a great age”.

Philip

Who is He?

Philip is only mentioned in passing in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels.  The Gospel of John goes into more detail about him.  He came from Bethsaida in modern-day Jordan and was a follower of John the Baptist before joining Jesus.

What is He Famous For?

Philip was one of the disciples who took part in Jesus’ miracle of the loaves and fish.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Philip the Apostle is often confused with Philip the Deacon, another member of the early Church. 

Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus, writing in the late 2nd century, claims Philip had three daughters.

Another document of similar age, the Dialogue of Caius, mentions a Philip with four daughters, but this may be Philip the Deacon, or a confusion of the two.

How Did He Die?

According to Bishop Polycrates, Philip was buried in Hieropolis, in modern-day Turkey, with two of his daughters who had died of old age.  This makes it likely that Philip died naturally.

However, the apocryphal Acts of Philip says that he was crucified upside down in Hierapolis.

“Fox’s Book of Martyrs” by John Foxe says that Philip was scourged, thrown into prison and crucified in 54 A.D.

Bartholomew

Who is He?

Bartholomew may have been the man John’s Gospel calls Nathaniel, who joined Jesus at the same time as Philip. 

The name Bartholomew means “son of Tolmai,” so it is possible that Nathaniel was his given name. 

This is not accepted by all Christian scholars, but Pope Benedict XVI talks about them as the a same man, for example in a sermon he gave in St. Peter’s Square in October 2006.

What is He Famous For?

John’s Gospel describes Nathaniel as being from Cana in Galilee and a friend of Philip.  Although initially prejudiced against anyone coming from Nazareth, Nathaniel let Philip take him to meet Jesus.

Jesus described Nathaniel as an Israelite with no guile, and proved his power by saying he had seen him in the past under a fig tree. 

John’s Gospel does not explain what the fig tree incident was but this convinced Nathaniel, who immediately said that Jesus was the son of God.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

The 4th century bishop Eusebius, known as the “Father of Church History,” records a legend that Bartholomew preached in India.

And gave the Church there a treasured copy of the Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew.

This learned father and apostolic man flourished in the second century. He was by birth a Sicilian, by profession a Stoic philosopher. His esteem for virtue led him into an acquaintance with the Christians, and being charmed with the innocence and sanctity of their conversation, he opened his eyes to the truth.

He studied the Holy Scriptures under the disciples of the apostles, and his thirst after sacred learning brought him to Alexandria, in Egypt, where the disciples of St. Mark had instituted a celebrated school of the Christian doctrine.

In the 2nd century, when St. Pantaenus of Alexandria travelled in India, he was shown the Gospel and told Bartholomew had been there before him.

How Did He Die?

Bartholomew is said to have died at Albanopolis in Armenia, where he had converted the King Polymius to Christianity and was killed by the king’s brother Astyages in revenge.

Most legends say his skin was flayed off his body and he was crucified upside down.  Others say he was beheaded.  The Catholic Encyclopedia lists both, but doesn’t give their original sources. 

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says he was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by idolaters.

Thomas

Who is He?

Thomas is also called Didymus, meaning “the twin,” and his full name is sometimes given as Judas Thomas.

The Gospels don’t give details of his life before meeting Jesus.  An apocryphal text (of doubtful accuracy, not part of official scripture) called “The Acts of Thomas” suggests that he was the twin brother of Jesus and a carpenter and stonemason by profession, but God doesn’t have a twin.

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LOD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God” (Is 43:6).

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by mysel”f (Is 44: 24).

“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD, and there is none else” (Is 45:18).

What is He Famous For?

We know most about Thomas from John’s Gospel.  When Jesus planned to return to Judea, where he would be in danger of being put to death, Thomas bravely spoke p “Let us also go, so that we may die with him.”

Chennai formerly known as Madras is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state and is the fourth largest metro city in India.

The city grew up around the English settlement of Fort Saint George and gradually absorbed the surrounding towns and villages. However, despite the strong British influence, Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil Hindu culture and effectively blended it with the foreign influence.

The city is widely spread in about 180 Sq. Kms. It is a major trade center, being well linked by road, rail and air to important cities besides being a sea port. Compared to the other major metros of India, it is far less congested and polluted.

At the Last Supper, Jesus announced that he was going to prepare a place for his disciples to be with him.  Thomas didn’t understand and asked how they would know the way there, to which Jesus replied with his famous words:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).

Thomas’ most famous moment, and the source of his other nickname, “Doubting Thomas,” came after Jesus was resurrected. 

When the other disciples told Thomas what they had seen, he refused to believe it until he saw Jesus and touched his crucifixion wounds for himself.

Although Jesus rebuked Thomas for doubting, this event resulted in Thomas being the first to acknowledge Jesus’ divinity aloud with the words, “My Lord and My God!”

Remember, Didymus  means “the twin.”  Don’t take this literally, but his twin could be Satan since he doubted and doubting Jesus a sin and sin is evil.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6).

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Eusebus recorded that Thomas preached in Syria and Persia.  The apocryphal Acts of Thomas records that he travelled from there to India, where he converted the king of Mylapore, near Madras (modern-day Chennai), and performed further miracles.

How Did He Die?

Thomas is supposed to have been martyred in India, but there is no support for this accept in “Foxes Book of Martys” that says he was thrust through with a  spear by the pagan priests he was preaching to.

Matthew

Who is He?

Matthew is introduced as Levi in Mark and Luke’s Gospels.  It’s possible Jesus named him Matthew after recruiting him as  a disciples.  He is sometimes also called Matthew the Publican.

Jesus met Matthew in a customs house on Capernaum, modern-day Israel.  “Publican,” in a Biblical context means a man who collected taxes on behalf of the Roman Empire.

In Matthew’s case, he would have worked for Herod Antipas.  These tax workers were figures of hatred among the Jews of Judea, so for Jesus to recruit one as a disciples was an unpopular move.

What is He Famous For?

In Matthew’s Gospel, the first of the Gospels to be written, the author himself is not often mentioned.  After meeting Jesus in the customs house, Matthew invited him and his disciples to his home for a after this, he left home to follow Jesus.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

The rest of Matthew’s life is not recorded in the Bible.  Irenaeus recorded that Matthew wrote and distributed his Gospel in the Hebrew language wherever he travelled.  He may have visited Ethiopia and Persia.

How Did He Die?

According to the Gospel of Mark, John the Baptist criticized the king and was consequently killed. Flavius Josephus writes that Herod Antipas’ subjects were convinced that the war with Aretas that broke out in 36, and the Arabian successes during this war, were a divine punishment.

Most sources agree that Matthew died a martyr’s death, but there is disagreement about how he died.  The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions burning, stoning or beheading.

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says that Matthew was slain with a halberd  (a combined spear and battle-ax) in The city of Nadabah, 60 A.D.

James the Less

Who is He?

The son of Alpheus and is called “St. James the Less” to distinguish him from the other Apostle James. 

He’s called “James the brother of the Lord” (Jesus) in the book of Galatians, but despite his apparent Biblical evidence he may not have been Jesus’ brother by blood or even a brother-in-law from Joseph’s earlier marriage.

The Catholic Church considered James, and other men referred to as Jesus’ “brethren,” to be his close associates rather than relatives. 

This is partly because tradition says that Jesus’ mother Mary had no other children and partly because at his crucifixion Jesus sent Mary to live with the apostle John, which would not have been necessary if she had had other sons to take care of her.

I take everything the Catholics say as a grain of salt, Jesus had younger brothers and sisters (Matt 12:46, 13:55-56; Lk 8:19; Mk 3:31).

What is He Famous For?

In the book of Corinthians, St. Paul records that Jesus appeared to James after his resurrection. 

When Paul came to Jerusalem after his conversion, he met Peter and James the brother of Jesus. 

James appears to have been highly placed in the Jerusalem Church: Church History records that he was their first bishop.  James supported Peter in the decision to let uncircumcised non-Jews into the Church.

Clement was born in the middle of the second century. He was a cultured Greek philosopher who sought truth in many schools until he met Pantheons, founder of the Christian Catechetical School at Alexandria in Egypt.

Clement succeeded Pantheons as head of that school in about 190, and was for many years an apologist for the Christian faith to both pagans and Christians. His learning and allegorical exegesis of the Bible helped to commend Christianity to the intellectual circles of Alexandria.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

The 2nd century Jewish Christian Hegesipus, recorded that James became known as “James the Just” and was very pious, never drinking alcohol or eating meat, and that he never bathed, shaved or anointed himself.

How Did He Die?

The early theologian Clement of Alexandria, quoted in Church History, wrote that James was thrown from the roof of the temple in Jerusalem and “beaten to death with a club by a fuller (a half-round hammer used for grooving and spreading iron).”

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says that James, at the age of 94, was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club.

Lebbaeus/Thaddeus/Jude

Who is He?

Lebbaeus is also called Thaddeus or Jude. 

Lebbaeus/Thaddeus/Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciples and later the betrayer of Jesus. 

Opinion is divided on whether Jude the apostle is the same Jude, brother of Jesus, who is mentioned in the Gospel of Mark.

What is He Famous For?

The Armenian Apostolic Church honors him along with St. Bartholomew as its patron saints.  In the Roman Catholic Church he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

According to tradition after Jesus’ death he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamian and Libya.  He is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa.

How Did He Die?

According to the Armenian tradition, St. Jude suffered martyrdom about 65 A.D. in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected.

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says he was crucified at Edessa in 72 A.D.

Simon

Who is He?

Simon is known as Simon the Zealot to distinguish him from Simon Peter.  His name is sometimes wrongly translated as “the Canaanite.”

What is He Famous For?

The New Testament says nothing about Simon apart from listing him as a disciples.

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

The apocryphal Acts of Simon and Jude describes the two disciples travelling to preach in Persia.

How Did He Die?

According to his apocryphal Acts, Simon was martyred in Persian by being cut in half with a saw.

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” says Simon preached the gospel in Mauritania, Africa and even in Britain, which latter country he was crucified in 74 A.D.

Judas Iscariot

Who is He?

Judas was the son of Simon Iscariot.  The origin of his surname may be a place name, Karioth in Judea, asking him “Judas of Karioth.”

Another theory is that Iscariot was derived from the Sicarii, a radical Jewish group of the time that included some terrorist who fought against Roman rule.  “Sicarius” is Latin for murderer or assassin.

This gave rise to minority theory that Judas, in keeping with his radical roots, wanted to provoke a conflict so that Jesus could drive out the Romans and become the ruler of the Jews on earth.

This would mean that Judas was well-intentioned but had completely understood Jesus’ message.  However, most Christians reject this idea.

I myself say this is possible because of what Jesus said here:

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

No man taketh it from me, but I lay ti down of myself.  I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my father” (Jn 10:17-18).

What is He Famous For?

At the foot of the Mount of Olives stands the Garden of Gethsemane. Filled with olive trees, the Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus spent his last hours praying to his Father, just before the Roman soldiers arrested him.

Pleading with the Father for a “Plan B,” he humbly submitted to his Father’s will, preparing for the cross, as his disciples fell asleep when he needed them to help him pray.

Judas is always the last to be mentioned in lists of the disciples.  He was in charge of the group’s funds and the Gospels say that he had a habit of stealing the money for himself.

Judas is most famous for betraying Jesus, which resulted in Jesus’ execution by crucifixion.

Judas approached the Jesus authorities to make this offer and was paid 30 pieces of silver to reveal where Jesus was hiding and point him out to them. 

After the Last Supper Jesus and some of this followers went to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Judas guided a group of soldiers there and identified Jesus by greeting him with a kiss on the cheek.

John and Luke’s Gospels say that Satan entered into Judas to make him betray Jesus.  The Gospels of Matthew and Mark do not mention this, giving impression that Judas did ti purely for the reward.

An apocryphal Gospel of Judas says that Judas was acting under Jesus instructions, having had secret knowledge revealed to him that the other disciples did not know. 

In this version, Judas betrayed Jesus in the knowledge that His death was necessary to redeem humanity.

This idea is also rejected by most Christians.  Although Jesus had to die, the general view is that Judas was acting selfishly and carrying out God’s plan without knowing it.

That is also quite possible because the Bible makes it real clear that Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection were predestined and necessary for us. 

The apocryphal of the Acts of Judas says that only Jesus and Judas knew of this plan, that I can’t buy because:

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ blossom one of this disciples, whom Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23). 

That disciples is the Apostle John, but more so is this verse:

Judas, overwhelmed by the grief that accompanied the massive mistake he had made, took his own life.

He couldn’t internally reconcile the conflict that existed within him. He had just betrayed his friend, his rabbi, his Jesus… For a reward that would never last. He felt outcast, I mean it’s not like he could go and try to connect with the other disciples because they watched him betray both Jesus and them. He was in a rough place and the easiest out seemed to be to kill himself.

If you ever get so down you think about killing yourself, learn from Judas, it doesn’t solve the problem.

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you” (Jn 15:15).

What Did He Do After Jesus’ Death?

Matthew’s Gospel says that Judas did not live to see Jesus’ execution.  After hearing of the death sentence, he was overcome by remorse and tried to return the silver back to the priests, ending up throwing the money on the floor because they wouldn’t take it back.

How Did He Die?

According to Matthew’s Gospel, after trying to return the bribe, Judas hanged himself.  The priests, who did not want to take the blood money back used it to buy a potter’s field for use as a graveyard for strangers.

The field became known as Hacedalma, meaning “the field of blood.” 

The book of Acts seems to disagree with this, saying that Judas himself bought the field with the money and “being hanged, burse asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out.”

…the few people not mentioned here.