Legacy of the Saints – the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ

Luke 6:12-16  “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.  And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”


The Apostle Peter – is the greatest and most prominent preacher of the twelve.  More than any other apostle, Peter laid the foundation of the church, followed up by the apostle Paul.  The Lord chose him to be the leader, and equipped him to be the leader.  God took a common man with an ambivalent, impulsive, unsubmissive personality and shaped him into the leader of the twelve.


The Apostle James – Jesus called him Boanerges, in Mark 3:17.  It means “sons of thunder.”   This fits James for he was zealous, thunderous, passionate, and fervent.  There’s a place in spiritual leadership for those people who have thunderous personalities, and James was mentored and shaped by Christ.   With the power of the Holy Spirit, James became a man whose zeal and ambition was for God and the kingdom of God, and his strength and intolerance was for divine purposes and the protection of the truth.


The Apostle John –  is the author of the Gospel of John, 1, 2, and 3 John and the book of Revelation in the New Testament.  He was part of the inner circle of Jesus, Peter, James and John were the most intimate followers of Christ.  When he is introduced for the first time, we learn he is the brother of James.  He is also called a “son of thunder” by Jesus.  John was brash, aggressive, and passionate, but he became known as ‘the apostle of love’.  John grasped the divine love of Jesus in a unique way.  He was the only one of the 12 disciples at the cross.


The Apostle Andrew – was the first apostle called by Jesus.  Andrew was the brother of Peter, and most referred to as ‘the brother of Simon Peter’.  Anytime you read of Andrew in the Bible, he is bringing people to Jesus.  He is an example of faithful servants within the body of Christ, that labor in the background of ministry.


The Apostle Philip– came from Bethsaida, up in Galilee.  The same town where Peter and Andrew came from.  Philip was a practical man, who looked at the logical side of things.  The supernatural was hard for Philip to grasp, and we see the Lord Jesus Christ work patiently with him, through the miracle of feeding the 5,000.  Philip had seen Jesus do miracles, but when Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitude of people, all Philip could do was count heads.   Eventually, Philip got it and faithfully proclaimed the gospel as commissioned by God.


The Apostle Nathanael – was the closest companion of Philip.


The Apostle Matthew – is the author of the gospel according to Matthew (the first book of the New Testament).  He was a Jewish tax collector for Rome.  This was considered a deplorable occupation to have, and Matthew was considered a traitor to his people, a thief and extortioner.


The Apostle Thomas– is notoriously known as “Doubting Thomas”.   This implies he may have been a second-rate disciple of Jesus, but this is not an accurate portrait of him as a man.  He loved Jesus deeply, his heart was broken over the death of his Lord.  Thomas mourned differently than the others, he said he would not believe Jesus had risen from the dead until he touched His wounds.  The Lord allowed Thomas to see and touch the wounds that brought salvation!


Simon, the Zealot – was from Galilee.  The New Testament gives us practically nothing on him personally except to say that he was a Zealot.  Zealots were fanatical Jewish Nationalists and regarded the purity of their faith above everything else.   They were passionate—zealous—for the law of God. They hated the Romans, and killed them at every opportunity.  Simon would have been a trained killer, an assassin, – and any Roman official or politician was his target.  Yet, Simon emerged as a man of faith. Jesus called him to abandon his life and follow Him. God used the passion and zeal of him to further God’s Kingdom.


The Apostles’ James (the less) & Judas (Thaddeus) – The Bible says absolutely nothing about James, other than listing him among the called Apostles.  He is the most obscure of the Twelve, and is referred to in the gospel of Mark as Mikros, (meaning little or small).  His nickname became “James The Less”.   Judas—also names Thaddeus, is also an obscure Apostle.  He is recorded in scripture as having a conversation with Jesus in the upper room, on the night before He was crucified.  Other than that—both of these Apostles are not spoken of in God’s Word.  Yet, they were uniquely chosen to follow Christ and will one day judge the 12 tribes of Israel.


The Disciple Judas Iscariot – “One of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?’                      Matthew 26:14–15.   Judas Iscariot, chosen by Jesus to be one of His twelve disciples—betrayed the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane.   He has notoriously come to stand for              every kind of betrayal.  For 3 years Judas lived with Christ. He saw the same miracles; heard the same words; but remained unchanged.  Judas fit into God’s plan.  The betrayal was predicted in detail in the Old Testament. (Psalm 41:9)