An improbable group that followed an unlikely looking leader. They were fishermen, Jewish freedom fighters and tax collectors who continued the teaching of their leader who was unfairly tried and put to death. They were sold-out, no-compromise and sometimes mistaken, and between them wrote part of the best-selling book in the world, ever! This rag-tag bunch turned the world upside down!
|Brother to John, and son of Zebedee and Salome, James was the first disciple of Jesus to be executed for his new found faith. A fisherman by trade, he was later killed by the sword by King Herod Agrippa I. This was as a result of ongoing persecution by the Jewish leaders opposed to the early Christian Church.
James was part of the inner circle of the disciples alongside John and Peter. Although a founder of the early church, quite surprisingly, James was once keen to hold a special position in Heaven alongside Christ. He also held a reputation for being fiery, when he demanded that Jesus should destroy a Samaritan village, when Jesus and the disciples were turned away by its inhabitants!
| James and John earned the joint nickname Sons of Thunder after their proposal to send fire from Heaven to destroy a village (see James).
In contrast, John wrote about God as a God of love, and was articulate in his portrayal of Jesus in the same way. John etched himself a place in history when he wrote the Gospel of John, the three letters of John and the Book of the Revelation. Although once perceived as having anger management issues and a tendency to be selfish at times, John became a history maker in the development of the early church.
| Simon Peter, brother to Andrew, was given the most bizarre name by Jesus, as Peter the Rock. He was anything but a rock. He was rash and impulsive, and famously denied Jesus three times after boasting of how determined he was to follow Christ. However, Peter did live up to his name, and became the rock that Jesus built His church upon.
||Under persecution, Philip was transformed from being a deacon responsible for food distribution in Jerusalem, to a full time evangelist. He was responsive to the call that God had placed on him, and was obedient when he took the Good News of Jesus to the Untouchables of Samaria!
He was a people-person, who was open about his faith, and refused to allow prejudice to get in the way of his ministry.
Philip was studious and took great care in presenting the Gospel message to those he met. In contrast, Philip did not write anything in the Bible, yet he did his absolute best to preach to those he met.
|Saul was a trouble making (well-educated tentmaker!) Pharisee, only out to do one thing… to persecute and eradicate the Christian people, and showed no mercy. He approved of and witnessed the martyrdom of Stephen when he was stoned. Saul had been loyal to his Jewish faith, and had acted with fervency assuming he was doing the right thing to stop this apparently dangerous new religion.
Thomas has only a relatively small mention in the Bible, yet his life story has had a fundamental impact on the Christian Church throughout the last 2000 years.