Lord Jesus Christ commissioned the 12 Apostles in order to spread His teachings. Thus, the twelve apostles were the closest followers or disciples of Jesus. Basically, the word apostle refers to ‘one who is sent out’.
They travelled with Jesus Christ and learned from Him. Plus, they shared the final meal, that is, the Last Supper with Jesus the night before He was executed. They were sent out by Jesus to be His witnesses after His resurrection and ascension.
The names of the 12 apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:14-19, and Luke 6:13-16.
“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
~ Matthew 10:2-4
Peter: Peter was originally named Simon. He was a fisherman but he had a firm faith. Thus, Jesus gave him the name Cephas, meaning a rock in Syriac language.
“And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).”
~ John 1:42
He was outspoken and was among the members in the inner circle Jesus Christ’s closest disciples. He was one of the dominant leaders of the early church.
His teachings are recorded in the 1 and 2 Peter and the book of Acts (chapter 2) in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. He is considered as the source of the Gospel of Mark, too as John Mark served as the translator for Peter for his preaching. Feast Day: June 29
Andrew: Andrew or Andreas the Apostle was the brother of Peter. Like his father Jona and his brother Peter, Abdrew was also a fisherman.
He was one of the first disciples to follow Jesus. Prior to that, he was a disciple of John, the Baptist. It was Andrew who took Simon or Peter to Jesus. Feast Day: November 30
James: James is often called James the Greater. His father was named Zebedee and his mother Salome was Jesus’ mother Mary’s sister. Of the 12 apostles, James was the first for being martyred for his faith.
He and another apostle named John earned the nickname ‘Sons of Thunder’ from the Lord. Like Peter, he was also among the inner circle of disciples. Feast Day: July 25
John: The apostle John was the youngest brother of James the Greater. Contrary to his brother, John is believed to have been the last apostle to die. He is also known as John the Evangelist or John the Divine.
He is the author of the Gospel of John as well as Book of Revelation. He was one of the three inner circle disciples of the Lord, the other two being Peter and James.
It is believed that there had been an attempt to martyr him in Rome by plunging him in boiling oil but to everyone’s amazement, he came out unhurt. Feast Day: December 27
Philip: Philip was also a fisherman and he belonged to the city of Bethsaida. Before joining Jesus, Philip was a disciple of John the Baptist. He is not to be confused with Philip the Deacon. Feast Day: May 3
Nathanael or Bartholomew: Nathanael or Bartholomew joined the Lord as a disciple around the same time as Philip the Apostle.
It is said that he was somewhat skeptical about accepting Jesus as Christ God but he was soon convinced that Jesus is the son of God. Feast Day: August 24
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
~ John 1:47
Matthew: Apostle Matthew was formerly referred to as Levi. He is also known as Matthew the Publican and the Apostle of Ethiopia.
He is the author of the Gospel of Matthew. Before turning a disciple of the Lord, Matthew or Levi was a tax collector for the Roman Empire. Feast Day: September 21
Thomas: Apostle Thomas is also referred to as the Didyma, meaning the twin or “Doubting Thomas” (he could not believe Jesus’ Resurecction until he was allowed to touch the Lord’s wounds). His full name is Judas Thomas. Feast Day: July 3
James the Less: James the Less, also referred to as James the Younger and James the Just, was the son of Alphaeus. He is the first bishop of Jerusalem. He is the brother of Apostle Jude and perhaps Apostle Matthew, too.
It is believed that he was killed by the Jews being thrown off a pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem and then being stoned and beaten to death with clubs and fuller’s mallets. Feast Day: May 3
Simon the Zealot: The scriptures do not inform much about Simon the Zealot, apart from his name being mentioned in three places. His name tends to be wrongly translated as ‘the Canaanite’. Feast Day: October 28
“When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.”
~ Acts 1:13
Thaddeus or Jude: The Apostle Thaddeus or Jude was the brother of James the Lesser. The Bible does not offer much information about him. He is not to be confused with Apostle Judas Iscariot, though. Feast Day: October 28
“Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?””
~ John 14:22
Judas Iscariot: He was the son of Simon Iscariot. He was the treasurer among the Lord’s disciples and he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. However, after the betrayal, he committed suicide because of his guilt. Thus, he was later replaced by the Apostle Matthias. Feast day for St. Matthias: May 14.
“Then one of the Twelve- the one called Judas Iscariot- went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”
~ Matthew 26:14-16