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1.

PETER

Peter the apostle is one of the most prominent characters in the Gospels, a
rough and tumble man whose emotions often got him into trouble, and yet
he was clearly one of the favorites of Jesus Christ, who loved him for his big
heart.

Peter's true name was Simon. With his brother Andrew, Simon was a
follower of John the Baptist. When Andrew introduced Simon to Jesus of
Nazareth, Jesus renamed Simon Cephas, an Aramaic word meaning "rock."
The Greek word for rock, "petros," became this apostle's new name, Peter.

He is the only Peter mentioned in the New Testament.

His aggressiveness made Peter a natural spokesman for the twelve. Often,
however, he spoke before he thought, and his words led to embarrassment.

Jesus included Peter in his inner circle when he took Peter, James,
and John into the house of Jairus, where Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from
the dead. Later, Peter was among those same disciples Jesus chose to
witness the transfiguration. Those same three saw Jesus' agony in
the Garden of Gethsemane.

Most of us remember Peter for denying Christ three times during the night
of Jesus' trial. Following his resurrection, Jesus took special care to
rehabilitate Peter and assure him he was forgiven.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled the apostles. Peter was so overcome that
he began to preach to the crowd. Acts 2:41 tells us 3,000 people were
converted that day.

Through the remainder of that book, Peter and John were persecuted for
their stand for Christ.

Early in his ministry, Simon Peter preached only to Jews, but God gave him
a vision in Joppa of a huge sheet containing all types of animals, warning
him not to call anything made by God impure. Peter then baptized the
Roman centurion Cornelius and his household and understood that the
gospel is for all people.

Tradition says that persecution of the first Christians in Jerusalem led Peter
to Rome, where he spread the gospel to the fledgling church there. Legend
has it that the Romans were going to crucify Peter, but he told them he was
not worthy to be executed in the same manner as Jesus, so he was crucified
upside down.

The Roman Catholic Church claims Peter as its first pope.

Accomplishments of Peter the Apostle

After being invited by Jesus to come, Peter got out of his boat and for a
brief few moments walked on water. Peter correctly identified Jesus as
the Messiah, not through his own knowledge but the enlightenment of the
Holy Spirit. He was chosen by Jesus to witness the transfiguration. After
Pentecost, Peter boldly proclaimed the gospel in Jerusalem, unafraid of
arrest and persecution. Most scholars consider Peter the eyewitness source
for the Gospel of Mark. He also penned the books 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

Peter's Strengths

Peter was a fiercely loyal man. Like the other 11 apostles, he left his
occupation to follow Jesus for three years, learning from him about the
kingdom of heaven. Once he was filled with the Holy Spirit after Pentecost,
Peter was a fearless missionary for Christ.
Peter's Weaknesses

Simon Peter knew great fear and doubt. He let his passions rule him
instead of faith in God. During Jesus' final hours, Peter not only abandoned
Jesus but denied three times that he even knew him.

Life Lessons From Peter the Apostle

When we forget that God is in control, we overstep our limited authority.


God works through us in spite of our human frailties. No offense is too
great to be forgiven by God. We can accomplish great things when we put
our faith in God instead of ourselves.

Hometown

A native of Bethsaida, Peter settled in Capernaum.

Referenced in the Bible

Peter appears in all four Gospels, the book of Acts, and is referred to in
Galatians 1:18, 2:7-14. He wrote 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

Occupation

Fisherman, a leader in the early church, missionary, Epistle writer.

Family Tree

Father - Jonah
Brother – Andrew
2.ANDREW

The Apostle Andrew, whose name means "manly," was the first apostle of Jesus Christ.
He had previously been a follower of John the Baptist, but when John proclaimed Jesus
"the lamb of God," Andrew went with Jesus and spent a day with him.

Andrew quickly found his brother Simon (later called Peter) and told him "We have
found the Messiah. He brought Simon to meet Jesus. Matthew notes that Simon and
Andrew dropped their fishing nets and followed Jesus as he was passing by.

The Gospels record three episodes involving the Apostle Andrew. He and three other
disciples asked Jesus about his prophecy that the Temple would be torn down. Andrew
brought a boy with two fish and five barley loaves to Jesus, who multiplied them to feed
5,000people. Philip and Andrew brought some Greeks to Jesus who wanted to meet
him.

It is not recorded in the Bible, but church tradition says Andrew was crucified as a
martyr on a Crux Decussata, or X-shaped cross.

Accomplishments of the Apostle Andrew

Andrew brought people to Jesus. After Pentecost, Andrew became a


missionary like the other apostles and preached the gospel.

Andrew's Strengths

He hungered for the truth. He found it, first in John the Baptist, then in
Jesus Christ. The Apostle Andrew is mentioned fourth in the list of
disciples, indicating he stayed close to Jesus.
Andrew's Weaknesses

Like the other apostles, Andrew abandoned Jesus during his trial
and crucifixion.

Life Lessons from the Apostle Andrew

Jesus truly is the Savior of the world. When we find Jesus, we find the
answers we have been looking for. The Apostle Andrew made Jesus the
most important thing in his life, and we should too.

Hometown

Bethsaida.

Occupation

Fisherman, apostle of Jesus Christ.

Family Tree:

Father - Jonah
Brother - Simon Peter
3.JAMES

The apostle James was honored with a favored position by Jesus Christ, as
one of three men in his inner circle. The others were James'
brother John and Simon Peter.

When Jesus called the brothers, James and John were fishermen with their
father Zebedee on the Sea of Galilee. They immediately left their father and
their business to follow the young rabbi. James was probably the older of
the two brothers because he is always mentioned first.

Three times James, John, and Peter were invited by Jesus to witness events
no one else saw: the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead,
the transfiguration, and Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

But James was not above making mistakes. When a Samaritan village
rejected Jesus, he and John wanted to call down fire from heaven upon the
place. This earned them the nickname "Boanerges," or "sons of thunder."
The mother of James and John also overstepped her bounds, asking Jesus
to grant her sons special positions in his kingdom.

James' zeal for Jesus resulted in his being the first of the 12 apostles to be
martyred. He was killed with the sword on order of King Herod Agrippa I of
Judea, about 44 A.D., in a general persecution of the early church.

Two other men named James appear in the New Testament: James, the son
of Alphaeus, another apostle; and James, the brother of the Lord, a leader
in the Jerusalem church and author of the book of James.
Accomplishments of the Apostle James

James followed Jesus as one of the 12 disciples. He proclaimed the gospel


after Jesus' resurrection and was martyred for his faith.

James' Strengths

James was a loyal disciple of Jesus. He apparently had outstanding


personal qualities that are not detailed in Scripture, because his character
made him one of Jesus' favorites.

James' Weaknesses

With his brother John, James could be rash and unthinking. He did not
always apply the gospel to earthly matters.

Life Lessons from the Apostle James

Following Jesus Christ can lead to hardship and persecution, but the
reward is eternal life with him in heaven.

Hometown

Capernaum

Occupation

Fisherman, disciple of Jesus Christ.

Family Tree:

Father - Zebedee
Mother - Salome
Brother - John
4. JOHN

The Apostle John had the distinction of being a beloved friend of Jesus
Christ, writer of five books of the New Testament, and a pillar in the early
Christian church.

John and his brother James, another disciple of Jesus, were fishermen on
the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called them to follow him. They later became
part of Christ's inner circle, along with the Apostle Peter. These three
(Peter, James, and John) were privileged to be with Jesus at the raising of
Jairus' daughter from the dead, at the transfiguration, and during Jesus'
agony in Gethsemane.

On one occasion, when a Samaritan village rejected Jesus, James and John
asked if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the place. That
earned them the nickname Boanerges, or "sons of thunder."

A previous relationship with Joseph Caiaphas allowed John to be present in


the high priest's house during Jesus' trial. On the cross, Jesus entrusted the
care of his mother, Mary, to an unnamed disciple, probably John, who took
her into his home. Some scholars speculate that John may have been a
cousin of Jesus.

John served the church in Jerusalem for many years, then moved to work
in the church at Ephesus. An unsubstantiated legend holds that John was
taken to Rome during a persecution and thrown into boiling oil but
emerged unhurt.
The Bible tells us that John was later exiled to the island of Patmos. He
supposedly outlived all of the disciples, dying of old age at Ephesus,
perhaps about A.D.

98.

John's Gospel is strikingly different from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the
three Synoptic Gospels, which means "seen with the same eye" or from the
same viewpoint.

John continually emphasizes that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, sent
by the Father to take away the sins of the world. He uses many symbolic
titles for Jesus, such as the Lamb of God, resurrection, and the vine.

Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus uses the phrase "I am," unmistakably
identifying himself with Jehovah, the Great "I AM" or eternal God.

Although John does not mention himself by name in his own gospel, he
refers to himself four times as "the disciple Jesus loved."

Accomplishments of the Apostle John

John was one of the first disciples chosen. He was an elder in the early
church and helped spread the gospel message. He is credited with writing
the Gospel of John; the letters 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John; and the book of
Revelation.

John was a member of the inner circle of three who accompanied Jesus
even when the others were absent. Paul called John one of the pillars of the
Jerusalem church:

John's Strengths

John was especially loyal to Jesus. He was the only one of the 12 apostles
present at the cross. After Pentecost, John teamed up with Peter to
fearlessly preach the gospel in Jerusalem and suffered beatings and
imprisonment for it.

John underwent a remarkable transformation as a disciple, from the quick-


tempered Son of Thunder to the compassionate apostle of love. Because
John experienced the unconditional love of Jesus firsthand, he preached
that love in his gospel and letters.
John's Weaknesses

At times, John did not understand Jesus' message of forgiveness, as when


he asked to call fire down upon unbelievers. He also asked for a favored
position in Jesus' kingdom.

Life Lessons From the Apostle John

Christ is the Savior who offers every person eternal life. If we follow Jesus,
we are assured of forgiveness and salvation. As Christ loves us, we are to
love others. God is love, and we, as Christians, are to be channels of God's
love to our neighbors.

Hometown

Capernaum

References to John the Apostle in the Bible

John is mentioned in the four Gospels, the book of Acts, and as the narrator
of Revelation.

Occupation

Fisherman, a disciple of Jesus, evangelist, Scripture author.

Family Tree

Father - Zebedee
Mother - Salome
Brother - James
5.PHILIP

Philip the Apostle was one of the earliest followers of Jesus Christ. Some
scholars speculate that Philip was first a disciple of John the
Baptist because he lived in the region where John preached.

Like Peter and Peter's brother Andrew, Philip was a Galilean, from the
village of Bethsaida. It's probable they knew one another and were friends.

Jesus issued a personal call to Philip: "Follow me."

Leaving his old life behind, Philip answered the call. He may have been
among the disciples with Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana, when Christ
performed his first miracle, turning water into wine.

Philip recruited the skeptical Nathanael (Bartholomew) as an apostle,


leading Jesus to reveal that he supernaturally saw Nathanael sitting under a
fig tree, even before Philip called him.

In the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus tested Philip by asking him
where they could buy bread for so many people. Limited by his earthbound
experience, Philip replied that eight months' wages would not be enough to
buy each person one bite.

The last we hear of Philip the Apostle is in the book of Acts, at Jesus'
ascension and the Day of Pentecost. Another Philip is mentioned in Acts,
a deacon and evangelist, but he is a different person.
Tradition says Philip the Apostle preached in Phrygia, in Asia Minor, and
was martyred there at Hierapolis.

Philip the Apostle's Accomplishments

Philip learned the truth about the kingdom of God at the feet of Jesus, then
preached the gospel after Jesus' resurrection and ascension.

Philip's Strengths

Philip fervently sought the Messiah and recognized that Jesus was the
promised Savior, even though he did not fully understand until after Jesus'
resurrection.

Philip's Weaknesses

Like the other apostles, Philip deserted Jesus during his trial
and crucifixion.

Life Lessons from Philip the Apostle

Starting with John the Baptist, Philip sought the path to salvation, which
led him to Jesus Christ. Eternal life in Christ is available to anyone who
desires it.

Hometown

Bethsaida, in Galilee.

Occupation

Early life unknown, an apostle of Jesus Christ


6. NATHANAEL

Nathanael was one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus Christ. Little is


written about him the Gospels and book of Acts.

Most Bible scholars believe Nathanael and Bartholomew were the same
person. The name Bartholomew is a family designation, meaning "son of
Tolmai." Nathanael means "gift of God." In the synoptic Gospels, the name
Bartholomew always follows Philip in lists of the Twelve. In the Gospel of
John, Bartholomew is not mentioned at all; Nathanael is listed instead,
after Philip.

John also describes Nathanael's call by Philip. The two may have been
friends, for Nathanael scoffs, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from
there?”. Seeing the two men approach, Jesus calls Nathanael a "true
Israelite, in whom there is nothing false," then reveals that he saw
Nathanael sitting under a fig tree before Philip called him. Nathanael
responds to Jesus' vision by proclaiming him the Son of God, the King of
Israel.

Church tradition says Nathanael carried a translation of Matthew's


Gospel to northern India. Legend claims he was crucified upside down in
Albania.

Accomplishments of Nathanael

Nathanael accepted Jesus' call and became his disciple. He witnessed


the Ascensionand became a missionary, spreading the gospel.
Nathanael's Strengths

Upon meeting Jesus for the first time, Nathanael overcame his skepticism
about the insignificance of Nazareth and left his past behind.

He died a martyr's death for Christ.

Nathanael's Weaknesses

Like most of the other disciples, Nathanael abandoned Jesus during


his trial and crucifixion.

Life Lessons from Nathanael

Our personal prejudices can skew our judgment. By being open to God's
word, we come to know the truth.

Hometown

Cana in Galilee

Occupation

Early life unknown, later, disciple of Jesus Christ.

Family Tree

Father - Tolmai
7. MATTHEW

Matthew was a dishonest tax collector driven by greed until Jesus


Christ chose him as a disciple. We first meet Matthew in Capernaum, in his
tax booth on the main highway. He was collecting duties on imported goods
brought by farmers, merchants, and caravans. Under the Roman Empire's
system, Matthew would have paid all the taxes in advance, then collected
from the citizens and travelers to reimburse himself.

Tax collectors were notoriously corrupt because they extorted far and above
what was owed, to ensure their personal profit. Because their decisions
were enforced by Roman soldiers, no one dared object.

Matthew the Apostle

Matthew was named Levi before his call by Jesus. We don't know whether
Jesus gave him the name Matthew or whether he changed it himself, but it
is a shortening of the name Mattathias, which means "gift of Yahweh," or
simply "the gift of God."

On the same day Jesus invited Matthew to follow him, Matthew threw a
great farewell feast in his home in Capernaum, inviting his friends so they
could meet Jesus too. From that time on, instead of collecting tax money,
Matthew collected souls for Christ.

Despite his sinful past, Matthew was uniquely qualified to be a disciple. He


was an accurate record keeper and keen observer of people. He captured
the smallest details. Those traits served him well when he wrote the Gospel
of Matthew some 20 years later.
By surface appearances, it was scandalous and offensive for Jesus to pick a
tax collector as one of his closest followers since they were widely hated by
the Jews. Yet of the four Gospel writers, Matthew presented Jesus to the
Jews as their hoped-for Messiah, tailoring his account to answer their
questions.

Matthew displayed one of the most radically changed lives in the Bible in
response to an invitation from Jesus. He did not hesitate; he did not look
back. He left behind a life of wealth and security for poverty and
uncertainty. He abandoned the pleasures of this world for the promise
of eternal life.

The remainder of Matthew's life is uncertain. Tradition says he preached


for 15 years in Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of Jesus,
then went out on the mission field to other countries.

Disputed legend has it that Matthew died as a martyr for the cause of
Christ. The official "Roman Martyrology" of the Catholic Church suggests
that Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia. "Foxe’s Book of Martyrs" also
supports the martyrdom tradition of Matthew, reporting that he was slain
with a halberd in the city of Nabadar.

Accomplishments of Matthew in the Bible

He served as one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. As an eyewitness to the


Savior, Matthew recorded a detailed account of Jesus' life, the story of his
birth, his message and his many deeds in the Gospel of Matthew. He also
served as a missionary, spreading the good news to other countries.

Matthew's Strengths and Weaknesses

Matthew was an accurate record keeper.He knew the human heart and the
longings of the Jewish people. He was loyal to Jesus and once committed,
he never wavered in serving the Lord.

On the other hand, before he met Jesus, Matthew was greedy. He


thought money was the most important thing in life and violated God's
laws to enrich himself at the expense of his countrymen.
8. THOMAS

Thomas was one of Jesus Christ's 12 apostles, specially chosen to spread the
gospel after the Lord's crucifixion and resurrection.

How He Got the Nickname 'Doubting Thomas'

The Apostle Thomas was not present when the risen Jesus first appeared to
the disciples. When told by the others, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas
replied that he would not believe it unless he could actually touch Jesus'
wounds. Jesus later presented himself to the apostles and invited Thomas
to inspect his wounds.

Thomas was also present with the other disciples at the Sea of Galilee when
Jesus appeared to them again.

Although it is not used in the Bible, the nickname "Doubting Thomas" was
given to this disciple because of his disbelief about the resurrection. People
who are skeptical are sometimes referred to as a "Doubting Thomas."

Apostle Thomas' Accomplishments

The Apostle Thomas traveled with Jesus and learned from him for three
years. Tradition holds that he carried the gospel to the east and was
martyred for his faith.

Thomas' Strengths
When Jesus' life was at risk by returning to Judea after Lazarus had died,
the Apostle Thomas courageously told his fellow disciples they should go
with Jesus, no matter what the danger.

Thomas' Weaknesses

Like the other disciples, Thomas deserted Jesus during the crucifixion.
Despite listening to Jesus' teaching and seeing all his miracles, Thomas
demanded physical proof that Jesus had risen from the dead.

His faith was based solely on what he could touch and see for himself.

Life Lessons

All of the disciples, except John, deserted Jesus at the cross. They
misunderstood and doubted Jesus, but the Apostle Thomas is singled out in
the gospels because he put his doubt into words.

It is worth noting that Jesus did not scold Thomas for his doubt.

In fact, Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds and see for himself.

Today, millions of people stubbornly want to witness miracles or see Jesus


in person before they will believe in him, but God asks us to come to him in
faith. God provides the Bible, with eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life,
crucifixion and resurrection to strengthen our faith.

In response to the Apostle Thomas' doubts, Jesus said that those


who believe in Christas Savior without seeing him—that's us—are blessed.

Occupation

The Apostle Thomas' occupation before he met Jesus is unknown. After


Jesus' ascension, he became a Christian missionary.

Family Tree

Thomas has two names in the New Testament. Thomas, in Greek, and
Didymus, in Aramaic, both meaning "twin." Scripture does not give the
name of his twin, nor any other information about his family tree.
9. JAMES THE LESS

The Apostle James, son of Alphaeus, was also known as James the Less, or
James the Lesser. He's not to be confused with James the son of Zebedee,
brother of the Apostle John.

A third James appears in the New Testament. He was the brother of the
Lord, a leader in the Jerusalem church, and writer of the book of James.

James of Alphaeus is named in each listing of the 12 disciples, always


appearing ninth in order.

The Apostle Matthew (called Levi, the tax collector before becoming a
follower of Christ), is also identified in Mark 2:14 as the son of Alphaeus,
yet scholars doubt he and James were brothers. Never in the Gospels are
the two disciples connected.

James the Lesser

The title "James the Lesser" or "the Little," helps to distinguish him from
the Apostle James, son of Zebedee, who was part of Jesus' inner circle of
three and the first disciple to be martyred. James the Lesser may have been
younger or smaller in stature than Zebedee's son, as the Greek word for
"the less", mikros, conveys both meanings.

Although it's argued by scholars, some believe James the Lesser was the
disciple who first witnessed the risen Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:7:

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostle.


Beyond this, Scripture reveals nothing more about James the Lesser.

Accomplishments of James the Lesser-James was hand-picked by Jesus


Christ to be a disciple.

He was present with the 11 apostles in the upper room of Jerusalem after
Christ ascended to heaven. He may have been the first disciple to see the
risen Savior.

Although his accomplishments remain unknown to us today, James may


simply have been overshadowed by the more prominent apostles. Even still,
being named among the twelve was no small achievement.

Weaknesses-Like the other disciples, James deserted the Lord during his
trial and crucifixion.

Life Lessons

While James the Lesser is one of the least known of the 12, we can't
overlook the fact that each of these men sacrificed everything to follow the
Lord. In Luke 18:28, their spokesman Peter said, "We have left all we had to
follow you.

They gave up family, friends, homes, jobs, and all things familiar to answer
Christ's call.

These ordinary men who did extraordinary things for God, set the example
for us. They formed the foundation of the Christian church, initiating a
movement that steadily spread across the face of the earth. We are part of
that movement today.

For all we know, "Little James" was an unsung hero of faith. Evidently, he
did not seek recognition or fame, for he received no glory or credit for his
service to Christ. Perhaps the nugget of truth we can take from the
altogether obscure life of James is reflected in this Psalm:

Occupation-Disciple of Jesus Christ.

Family Tree

Father - Alphaeus
Brother - Possibly Matthew
10.SIMON THE ZEALOT

Simon the Zealot, one of Jesus Christ's 12 apostles, is a mystery character in


the Bible. We have one tantalizing bit of information about him, which has
led to ongoing debate among Bible scholars.

In some versions of the Bible (such as the Amplified Bible), he is called


Simon the Cananaean. In the King James Version and New King James
Version, he is called Simon the Canaanite or Cananite. In the English
Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, New International
Version, and New Living Translation he is called Simon the Zealot.

To confuse things further, Bible scholars argue over whether Simon was a
member of the radical Zealot party or whether the term simply referred to
his religious zeal. Those who take the former view think Jesus may have
chosen Simon, a member of the tax-hating, Roman-hating Zealots, to
counterbalance Matthew, a former tax collector, and employee of the
Roman empire. Those scholars say such a move by Jesus would have shown
that his kingdom reaches out to people in all walks of life.

Another odd aspect of Simon's appointment was that the Zealots generally
agreed with the Pharisees, as far as legalistic observance of the
commandments. Jesus frequently clashed with the Pharisees over their
strict interpretation of the law. We might wonder how Simon the Zealot
reacted to that.

The Zealot party had a long history in Israel, formed by men who were
passionate about obeying the commandments in the Torah, especially those
that banned idolatry.
As foreign conquerors imposed their pagan ways on the Jewish people, the
Zealots sometimes turned to violence.

One such offshoot of the Zealots was the Sicarii, or daggermen, a group of
assassins who tried to cast off Roman rule. Their tactic was to mingle in
crowds during festivals, slip up behind a victim, then kill him with their
Sicari, or short curved knife.

The effect was a reign of terror that disrupted Roman government.

In Luke 22:38, the disciples tell Jesus, "See, Lord, here are two swords."
When Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter draws his
sword and cuts off the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. It's not a
stretch to assume that second sword was owned by Simon the Zealot, but
ironically he kept it hidden, and Peter turned to violence.

Accomplishments of Simon the Zealot

Scripture tells us almost nothing about Simon. In the Gospels, he is


mentioned in three places, but only to list his name with the 12 disciples. In
Acts 1:13 we learn that he was present with the 11 apostles in the upper
room of Jerusalem after Christ had ascended to heaven.

Church tradition holds that he spread the gospel in Egypt as a missionary


and was martyred in Persia.

Strengths

Simon left everything in his previous life to follow Jesus. He lived true to
the Great Commission after Jesus' ascension.

Weaknesses-Like most of the other apostles, Simon the Zealot deserted


Jesus during his trial and crucifixion.

Life Lessons From Simon the Zealot

Jesus Christ transcends political causes, governments, and all earthly


turmoil. His kingdom is eternal.

Following Jesus leads to salvation and heaven.

Occupation ; Unknown, then disciple and missionary for Jesus Christ.


11.THADDEUS

Compared to more prominent apostles in the Scripture, little is known


about Thaddeus, one of Jesus Christ's 12 apostles. Part of the mystery stems
from him being called by several different names in the Bible: Thaddeus,
Jude, Judas, and Thaddaeus.

Some have argued that there are two or more different people represented
by these names, but most Bible scholars agree that these various names all
refer to the same person. In lists of the Twelve, he is called Thaddeus or
Thaddaeus, a surname for the name Lebbaeus , which means “heart” or
“courageous.”

The picture is confused further when he is called Judas but is distinguished


from Judas Iscariot. In the single epistle he authored, he calls himself
"Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James." That brother
would be James the Less, or James the son of Alphaeus.

Historical Background About Jude the Apostle

Little is known of Thaddeus' early life, other than he likely was born and
raised in the same area of Galilee as Jesus and the other disciples — a
region which is now part of northern Israel, just south of Lebanon. One
tradition has him born into a Jewish family in the town of Paneas. Another
tradition holds that his mother was a cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus,
which would make him a blood relation to Jesus.

We also know that Thaddeus, like other disciples, preached the gospel in
the years following the death of Jesus. Tradition holds that he preached in
Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya, possibly
alongside Simon the Zealot.

Church tradition holds that Thaddeus founded a church at Edessa and was
crucified there as a martyr. One legend suggests his execution occurred in
Persia. Because he was executed by ax, this weapon is often shown in
artworks depicting Thaddeus. After his execution, his body is said to have
been brought to Rome and placed in St. Peter's Basilica, where his bones
remain to this day, interred in the same tomb with the remains of Simon
the Zealot. Armenians, for whom St. Jude is the patron saint, believe that
Thaddeus' remains are interred in an Armenian monastery.

Accomplishments of Thaddeus in the Bible

Thaddeus learned the gospel directly from Jesus and loyally served Christ
despite hardship and persecution. He preached as a missionary following
Jesus’ resurrection. He also penned the book of Jude. The final two verses
of Jude (24-25) contain a doxology, or "expression of praise to God,"
considered the finest in the New Testament.

Weaknesses

Like most of the other apostles, Thaddeus abandoned Jesus during his trial
and crucifixion.

Life Lessons From Jude

In his short epistle, Jude warns believers to avoid false teachers who twist
the gospel for their own purposes, and he calls us to staunchly defend the
Christian faith during persecution.

Occupation

Epistle writer, evangelist, missionary.

Family Tree

Father: Alphaeus

Brother: James the Less


12. JUDAS ISCARIOT

Judas Iscariot is remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus Christ.
Even though Judas showed remorse later, his name became a symbol for
traitors and turncoats throughout history. His motive seemed to be greed,
but some scholars speculate political desires lurked beneath his treachery.

Judas Iscariot's Accomplishments

One of Jesus' original 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot traveled with Jesus and
studied under him for three years.

He apparently went with the other 11 when Jesus sent them to preach
the gospel, cast out demons, and heal the sick.

Judas Iscariot's Strengths

Judas felt remorse after he betrayed Jesus. He returned the 30 pieces of


silver the chief priests and elders had given him.

Judas Iscariot's Weaknesses

Judas was a thief. He was in charge of the group's money bag and
sometimes stole from it. He was disloyal. Even though the
other apostles deserted Jesus and Peter denied him, Judas went so far as to
lead the temple guard to Jesus at Gethsemane, and then identified Jesus by
kissing him. Some would say Judas Iscariot made the greatest error in
history.
Life Lessons

An outward show of loyalty to Jesus is meaningless unless we also follow


Christ in our heart. Satan and the world will try to get us to betray Jesus, so
we must ask the Holy Spirit for help in resisting them.Although Judas
attempted to undo the harm he had done, he failed to seek the Lord's
forgiveness.Thinking it was too late for him, Judas ended his life in suicide.

As long as we are alive and have breath, it's never too late to come to God
for forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Sadly, Judas, who had been given
the opportunity to walk in close fellowship with Jesus, completely missed
the most important message of Christ's ministry.

It's natural for people to have strong or mixed feelings about Judas. Some
feel a sense of hatred toward him for his act of betrayal, others feel pity, and
some throughout history have considered him a hero. No matter how you
react to him, here are a few biblical facts about Judas Iscariot to keep in
mind:

 He made a conscience choice to betray Jesus - Luke 22:48.


 He was a thief with greed in his heart - John 12:6.
 Jesus knew Judas' heart was set on evil and that he would not repent
- John 6:70, John 17:12.
 Judas' act of betrayal was part of God's sovereign plan - Psalm 41:9,
Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 20:18 and 26:20-25, Acts 1:16,20.

Believers can benefit from thinking about Judas Iscariot's life and
considering their own commitment to the Lord. Are we true followers of
Christ or secret pretenders? And if we fail, do we give up all hope, or do we
accept his forgiveness and seek restoration?

Hometown

Kerioth. The Hebrew word Ishkeriyyoth (for Iscariot) means "man of the
village of Keriyyoth." Kerioth was about 15 miles south of Hebron, in Israel.

Occupation

Disciple of Jesus Christ. Judas was the money keeper for the group.

Family Tree; FATHER- Simon Iscariot


THE TWELVE APOSTLES

And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he
named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother,
and Jamesand John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew,
and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the
Zealot, and Judas [also called Thaddeus or Jude] the son of James, and Judas
Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Jesus Christ selected 12 men from among his early followers to become his
closest disciples. After an intensive discipleship course and following
his resurrection from the dead, the Lord fully commissioned the apostles to
advance God's kingdom and carry the gospel message to the world.

These men became the pioneering leaders of the New Testament church,
but they were not without faults and shortcomings. Interestingly, not one of
the chosen 12 disciples was a scholar or rabbi. They had no extraordinary
skills. Neither religious, nor refined, they were ordinary people, just like
you and me.

But God chose them for a purpose—to fan the flames of the gospel that
would spread across the face of the earth and continue to burn bright
throughout the centuries to follow. God selected and used each of these
regular guys to carry out his exceptional plan.