John the Apostle by Hans Memling
John the Beloved
John "the Beloved Disciple" was the brother of James (the Great) and a distant cousin of Mary, Jesus' earthly mother. John had a great ministry throughout Asia. He founded the churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira. John was sent to Rome where it is said that he was cast into a large pot of boiling oil, but they couldn't burn the love of Christ out of John's heart and he was miraculously protected and escaped from the cauldron without harm. Seeing that John was divinely protected, Domitian banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he was given the vision and penned the Revelation of Jesus Christ. When Domitian died, Nerva succeeded him and recalled John from the Isle. John returned to Ephesus where he lived out the rest of his days. John was the only apostle who escaped a violent death. This is very interesting given what Jesus prophesied about him in John 21:20-14
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
James the Elder by Rembrandt
James the Great
James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John the Beloved was also a relative of Mary, because his mother Salome was Mary's cousin. It was not until ten years after the death of the first martyr, Stephen, that the second martyrdom took place, the martyrdom of James.
When Herod Agrippa was appointed governor of Judea, he wished to integrate himself with the Jews and in order to gain their favor he began a sharp persecution of the Christians striking specifically at the Christian Leaders. A man accused James and testified against him. James was then sentenced to death. However, as his accuser witnessed James' extraordinary courage and dauntless faith, he fell down at James' feet and begged for forgiveness, professed Jesus Christ as Lord and resolved that James would not wear the crown of martyrdom alone. Thus, about 44 AD, the accused and accuser were beheaded together for professing the name of Jesus Christ.
Philip by Peter Paul Rubens
Philip was the first to be called by the name Disciple. His ministry was in Upper Asia where he diligently spread the gospel. It was in Hilopolis, in Phrygia where he was scourged, thrown into prison and finally crucified around AD 54.
Question: Are you enjoying the series on the Apostles? What would you like to see me blog about in the future?
St. Matthew by Frans Hals
Have you ever wondered what happened to the Apostles after the book of Acts? For the next few weeks, we'll be looking at each of the apostles and what became of them.
*Note, I'm saying this as nicely as possible, but many of these great men died the death of a martyr, and is therefore violent content.
Matthew the Tax Collector
Matthew was born at Nazareth, the same village that Mary and Joseph were from, however his tax booth was located in Capernaum. Some say that he originally wrote his account of the Gospel in Hebrew and it was later translated into Greek by James the less. Matthew stayed in Judea for a time, sharing the good news of the Messiah, but later he traveled to Parthia and Ethiopia evangelizing and ministering to the people there. Around 60 AD in the Ethiopian city of Nadabah, Matthew was beheaded for his faith.
Traditional Painting of St. Mark
Mark (the Disciple)
Mark was of the tribe of Levi. It is supposed that he was converted by Peter. Mark served as Peter's scribe and writing down the gospel in Greek from what Peter saw and experienced. The Gospel of Mark is different from the others in that he portrays Christ more by what he does than by what He says. It has a vivid and direct style that leaves the impression of a familiarity with the original events. In Alexandria around the year of 63 AD, the heathens of the city became enraged at the success of the spreading of the Gospel causing people to turn away from their pagan gods. The people attacked Mark and was "dragged to pieces...ending his life under their merciless hands."
St. Luke by James Tissot
Luke the Physician
Luke the Evangelist traveled with Paul through various countries. Though Luke was not a firsthand witness of the life of Jesus, he had the opportunity to speak with many witnesses such as Mary (Jesus' earthly mother) and many others. Luke was a skilled writer. It is interesting to note that his account of the Gospel is considered to be the "highest literary quality" of all four Gospels. Luke also recorded the Acts of the Apostles from his own experience and firsthand testimonies. It is said that Luke was hanged on an olive tree by the idolatrous priests of Greece.
Had you heard about these stories before?
Which of the Gospels is your favorite?
Leave me a comment and let me know! I'd love to hear your opinion.
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Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, home-schooled through education and currently works with their 10 family businesses. Amber is a multi-published author and currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO..
(c) 2013 Amber Schamel