“Simon son of John, do you love me?”

12a Disciples - all



Simon Peter, son of Jonas, was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum. He did evangelistic and missionary work among the Jews, going as far as Babylon. He was a member of the Inner Circle and authored the two New Testament epistles which bear his name. Tradition says he was crucified, head downward, in Rome.


In every apostolic list, the name Peter is mentioned first. However, Peter had other names. At the time of Christ, the common language was Greek and the family language was Hebrew. So his Greek name was Simon (Mark 1:16; John 1:40, 41). His Hebrew name was Cephas (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 9:5 and Galatians 2:9). The Greek meaning of Simon is rock. The Arabic meaning of Cephas is also rock.


By trade, Peter was a fisherman. He was a married man (1 Corinthians 9:5) and his home was Capernaum. Jesus probably made His headquarters there when He visited Capernaum. Peter was also a Galilean as was typical of many of the other disciples. Josephus described the Galileans this way, “They were ever fond of innovation and by nature disposed to change and delighted in sedition. They were ever ready to follow the leader and to begin an insurrection. They were quick in temper and given to quarreling and they were very chivalrous men.” The Talmud says this of the Galileans, “They were more anxious for honor than for gain, quick-tempered, impulsive, emotional, easily aroused by an appeal to adventure, loyal to the end.” Peter was a typical Galilean.


Among the twelve, Peter was the leader. He stands out as a spokesman for all the twelve Apostles. It is he who asked the meaning of the difficult saying in Matthew 15:15. It is he who asked how often he must forgive. It is he who inquired about the reward for all of those who follow Jesus. It is he who first confessed Jesus and declared Him as the Son of the Living God. It is he who was at the Mount of Transfiguration. It is he who saw Jairus’ daughter raised to life. Yet, it is he who denied Christ before a maiden. He was an Apostle and a missionary who laid down his life for his Lord. It is true, Peter had many faults, but he had always the saving grace of the loving heart. No matter how many times he had fallen and failed, he always recovered his courage and integrity.


Peter was martyred on a cross. Peter requested that he might be crucified head downward for he was not worthy to die as his Lord had died. His apostolic symbol is a cross upside down with crossed keys. <https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/who-were-twelve-disciples> 


Bible Verses


Key Verses


Jesus overcomes fear. Whether stepping out of a boat onto a tossing sea or stepping across the threshold of a Gentile home for the first time, Peter found courage in following Christ. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Jesus forgives unfaithfulness. After he had boasted of his fidelity, Peter fervently denied the Lord three times. It seemed that Peter had burned his bridges, but Jesus lovingly rebuilt them and restored Peter to service. Peter was a former failure, but, with Jesus, failure is not the end. “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).


Jesus patiently teaches. Over and over, Peter needed correction, and the Lord gave it with patience, firmness, and love. The Master Teacher looks for students willing to learn. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8).

Jesus sees us as He intends us to be. The very first time they met, Jesus called Simon “Peter.” The rough and reckless fisherman was, in Jesus’ eyes, a firm and faithful rock. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus uses unlikely heroes. Peter was a fisherman from Galilee, but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men (Luke 5:10).


Because Peter was willing to leave all he had to follow Jesus, God used him in great ways. As Peter preached, people were amazed at his oldness because he was “unschooled” and “ordinary.” But then they took note that Peter “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Being with Jesus makes all the difference.



Matthew . . .

Apostle MatthewMatthew 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.

Life Lessons

God can use anyone to help him in his work. We should not feel unqualified because of our appearance, lack of education, or our past. Jesus looks for sincere commitment. We should also remember that the highest calling in life is serving God, no matter what the world says. Money, fame, and power cannot compare with being a follower of Jesus Christ.

How He Died
the tax collector and writer of a Gospel, ministered in Persia and Ethiopia. Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.

Key Verses

Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax
collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and
sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this,
they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (NIV)


Luke 5:29
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of
tax collectors and others were eating with them. (NIV)


Bible Verses




Field of Blood


Judas Kisses Jesus BetrayalJudas

Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and afterwards hanged himself (Matthew 26:14,16).

Judas, the man who became the traitor, is the supreme enigma of the New Testament because it is so hard to see how anyone who was so close to Jesus, who saw so many miracles and heard so much of the Master’s teaching could ever betray him into the hands of his enemies.

His name appears in three lists of the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:19). It is said that Judas came from Judah near Jericho. He was a Judean and the rest of the disciples were Galileans. He was the treasurer of the
band and among the outspoken leaders.

It is said that Judas was a violent Jewish Nationalist who had followed Jesus in
hope that through Him his nationalistic flame and dreams might be realized.
No one can deny that Judas was a covetous man and at times he used his
position as treasurer of the band to pilfer from the common purse. There is
no certain reason as to why Judas betrayed his master; but it is not his
betrayal that put Jesus on the cross-it was our sins. His apostolic symbol is
a hangman’s noose, or a money purse with pieces of silver falling from it.


How He Died





The death of Judas Iscariot was a suicide committed after he was filled with remorse (but not repentance) for his betrayal of Jesus. Matthew and Luke (in the book of Acts) both mention some details of Judas’s death, and reconciling the details between the two accounts has presented some difficulties.

Matthew says that Judas died by hanging. Here is the account in
Matthew’s Gospel: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left.
Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is
blood money.’ So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a
burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of
Blood to this day” (
Matthew 27:5–8).

Luke says that Judas fell into a field and that his body ruptured. Here
is the account in Acts: “With the reward he got for his wickedness,
Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they
called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood” (
Acts 1:18–19).





a man with three names . . .




Jude or Thaddeus


JudeJude, Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, son of Alpheus or Cleophas and Mary. He was a brother of James the Younger. He was one of the very little-known Apostles and lived in Galilee. Tradition says he preached in Assyria and Persia and died a martyr in Persia.


Jerome called Jude “Trinomious” which means “a man with three names.” In Mark 3:18 he is called Thaddeus. In Matthew 10:3 he is called Lebbeus. His surname was Thaddeus. In Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 he is called Judas the
brother of James. Judas Thaddeus also was called Judas the Zealot.


By character he was an intense and violent Nationalist with the dream of world power and domination by the
Chosen People. In the New Testament records (John 14:22 NIV) he asked Jesus at the Last Supper, “But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Judas Thaddeus was interested in making Christ
known to the world. Not as a suffering Saviour, however, but as ruling King. We can see plainly from the answer Jesus gave him, that the way of power can never be substituted for the way of love.


It is said that Jude went to preach the gospel in Edessa near the Euphrates River. There he healed many and many believed in the name of the Master. Jude went from there to preach the Gospel in other places.



Jude2Jude was credited with writing the brief epistle that bore his name and written between 65 to 80 AD. The epistle—addressed to unknown recipients—dealt with the danger of believing in false teachers and was ended with a call to remain steadfast in the Christian faith. Apart from this epistle, all other information associated with Jude the apostle can be gleaned only from tradition. Such as his mission in the Levant, Mesopotamia, and Cyrenaica (Libya), as well as his return to Jerusalem in 62 AD to help in the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem. From  <https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/jude-thaddeus-apostle/>


Tradition holds that Saint Jude preached the Gospel in JudeaSamaria, IdumaeaSyriaMesopotamia and Libya.[24] He is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa, though the emissary of the latter mission is also identified as Thaddeus of Edessa, Addai,[25] one of the Seventy.[26] The 14th-century writer Nicephorus Callistus makes Jude the bridegroom at the wedding at Cana. The legend reports that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in Galilee later rebuilt during the Roman period and renamed Caesarea Philippi.[27][note 1] 

In all probability he spoke both Greek and Aramaic, like almost all of his contemporaries in that area, and was a farmer by trade. According to the legend, St. Jude son of Clopas and Mary of Clopas, sister of Virgin Mary.[29] Tradition has it that Jude’s father, Clopas, was martyred because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ.

Although Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the “Apostle to the Armenians”, when he baptized King Tiridates III of Armenia in 301, converting the Armenians, the Apostles Jude and Bartholomew are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Linked to this tradition is the Saint Thaddeus Monastery (now in northern Iran) and Saint Bartholomew Monastery (now in southeastern Turkey) which were both constructed in what was then Armenia. Tradition holds that Jude the Apostle
was vegetarian.[30] 


How He Died

Tradition has it that Jude’s father, Clopas, was martyred because of his forthright and outspoken devotion to the risen Christ.


He was killed with arrows at Ararat. The chosen symbol for him is the ship because he was a missionary thought to be a fisherman.

From <https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/who-were-twelve-disciples>



Bible Verses






God’s Biker by Sean Stillman – BOOK REVIEW

Ruth Clemence


If you want to be taken on a journey across continents, with people from all backgrounds and stories that intertwine in incredible ways, then read this. It’s a powerful book of how God is at work in the margins of society and uses ordinary and often unlikely people in extraordinary and profound ways. Sean Stillman shares his autobiography of his travels from Swansea in Wales to Australia, Ukraine, the USA, New Zealand, Europe and more as a biker for God’s Squad – a Christian Motorcycle Club – and all of the joys and triumphs of setting this club up in the biker community.

It is a story about real people living in real, and often heartbreaking situations. Where the most vulnerable people are, there is authenticity, transformation and a challenge to the church to be on the fringes. Throughout the book, Sean calls the church to action noticing the temptation…

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the Beloved Disciple


John the Apostle

JohnTheDiscipleJohn the Apostle is thought to have been a disciple of John the Baptist before meeting Jesus (John 1:35). Although John is not specifically identified as a disciple of John the Baptist, his habit of not naming himself is set in the context of John 1:35-40 when he cites only Andrew. This is seen by many Bible scholars as the first incident of John’s omitting of his own name, which is continued throughout his gospel and is attributed to his humility.


Though nothing is specifically said about it, John, with his brother James and friends Peter and Andrew, had traveled from Bethsaida to the Jordan, a distance of some 75 miles (John 1:44). This indicated the interest all of them had in the messianic kingdom that John the Baptist’s ministry represented. 

John the Apostle was the Lord’s half-cousin, his mother Salome being Mary’s sister (compare
Matthew 27:56
, Mark 16:1, and John 19:25). He was one of two disciples with John the Baptist when he proclaimed Jesus as God’s Lamb. He and Andrew became the Master’s original disciples (John 1:35-39).

How He Died

John is the only one of the company generally thought to have died a natural death from old age. He was the leader of the church in the Ephesus area and is said to have taken care of Mary the mother of Jesus in his home. 

During Domitian’s persecution in the middle 90’s, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. There he is credited with writing the last book of the New Testament–the Revelation. An early Latin tradition has him escaping unhurt after being cast into boiling oil at Rome.

Key Verses

§  John
13:23  –At the last supper, “One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,   was reclining at Jesus’ side”.

§  John
19:26  –On the journey to Calvary, “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’”

§  John
20:1-10  –Upon hearing of Jesus’ resurrection Mary of Magadala , “went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.’” The passage continues at the tomb, “Then the other disciple also went
in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.”

§  John
21:1-25  –Following the resurrection while the disciples were fishing a stranger told Peter to cast his nets.  “The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’”

Bible References – shortlist