Crowds followed Jesus everywhere He went and listened to His teaching. Many of these people were serious disciples of Jesus; others were there to see miracles. When the time was right, Jesus went up into the hills of central Galilee and called twelve of the serious disciples, to come to Him. Those twelve men, he designated as apostles. (Mark 3:13)
They would travel with Him, stay close to Him, and learn from Him. He would train them and send them out to preach, even giving them authority to drive out demons. The number twelve corresponds with the twelve tribes of Israel - possibly signifying that Jesus was ruler over the entire nation of Israel. These twelve apostles began to be known as The Twelve.
The word apostle means "one sent."
Of those twelve chosen men there were three that became Jesus' inner circle. They were blessed to be even closer to Jesus. These were Peter, James and John. They were the only apostles with Jesus at the Transfiguration. Below, are a few facts concerning these three.
Peter was a fisherman, the brother of Andrew. He is the only apostle that we know for sure was married. His name was originally Simon but Jesus called him Peter meaning rock. He recognized Jesus as the Christ but later, when threatened, disowned Him. After He repented he became a bold preacher of the gospel. He preached a sermon at Pentecost, spoke for the apostles at Caesarea Philippi and became a leader of the Jerusalem church.
Peter wrote 1 Peter to Christians in northern Asia Minor to encourage them to be brave and trust God through the persecution they were experiencing. He wrote 2 Peter to these same Christians encouraging them to resist false teachers by growing in the knowledge and practice of the Christian faith.
Peter was impulsive, spoke without thinking and often found that he could not follow through on his boasts, but when he repented, Jesus forgave and strengthened him.
Read about Peter in Matthew 4:18-20, Mark 8:29-33, Luke 22:31-34, John 21:15-19, Acts 2:14-41, and Acts 10:1- 11:18
James was the brother of John and the son of Zebedee. He was one of the two who naively requested special positions for themselves in Jesus' Kingdom. Mark 10:39 James and his brother wanted to call fire down from the sky to punish the Samaritans who did not welcome Jesus. Jesus called the brothers Boanerges, meaning sons of thunder.
James was put to death by King Herod, making him the first apostle to be martyred.
James was ambitious, short-tempered and judgmental but he was deeply committed to Jesus. Read about James in Mark 3:17, 9:2, 10:35-40, Luke 9:52-56 and Acts 12:1,2.
John was a fisherman, the brother of James and the son of Zebedee. He shared the name Sons of Thunder with his brother. John is not named in his own book of the Bible but was known as the disciple who Jesus loved. At the crucifixion, while He was on the cross, Jesus entrusted John with the future care of His mother
John wrote the Gospel of John so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have eternal life in His name. John 20:31
He wrote 1 John to warn Christians about false teachers. He wrote 2 John to the chosen lady and her children, telling about the importance of Christians loving one another.
He wrote 3 John to his friend, Gaius to thank him for his help and to scold a man named Diotrephes for not cooperating with John.
John wrote the Book of Revelation while in exile on the island of Patmos. Jesus gave John a vision of the future. John wrote it down so that persecuted Christians would trust God's control of whatever happens.
He is the only apostle believed to have died a natural death, being banished to the island of Patmos. John was ambitious and judgmental but later became very loving.
Peter, James and John began life with Jesus as plain ordinary men - men that were short tempered, judgmental, impulsive, ambitious, and selfish. They were sinful men who met the Savior. Now, two thousand years later, everyone knows who they are. Their writings are part of Scripture. You and I have a place in God's plan, too. Jesus meets us where we are and takes us to where God meant for us to be.
Read about the other 'ten' apostles here.
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