Galilean Ministry – Residence in Capernaum 

When Jesus took His ministry to Capernaum after the rejection in Nazareth, the prophetic words of Isaiah were fulfilled:

Isa 9:1-2 “…The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;”NKJV

Capernaum means “way to the sea” and was the area through which Israel conducted its business and commerce. In this area Jews often spoke Aramaic and Greek on their business affairs, while studying God’s Word in their synagogues in Hebrew.  

Capernaum was located on the border of Zebulun and Naphtali. Capernaum, due to its commercial location was more gentile than Jewish. In this area Jews commingled in business affairs with Romans, Greeks, Syrians and Arabs.  In Matthew 4:13 the word for dwelt is 2730 katoikeo  kat-oy-keh'-o meaning to inhabit, to settle and tells us that this city became His new residence.

 

 

The Sermon on the Mount

This sermon was delivered on at least two different occasions which are addressed in detail in Matthew and referenced by Luke in an abbreviated and different format including 4 blessings and 3 woes (Luke 6:20-49). Two sermons given at two different times and places. No reconciliation is needed.

Probable Location: The mountain here spoken of was probably that known by the name of the "Horns of Hattin" (Kurun Hattin), a ridge running east and west, not far from Capernaum. It was afterwards called the "Mount of Beatitudes."  

Jesus raised the standard of the Law of Moses by Internalizing the Law going from external actions to internal thoughts & imaginations of the heart.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus demonstrated his deity by issuing several commands which supersede the Law. Six times he repeated the following words about various Mosaic commands: "You have heard that it was said......But I tell you..." (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44) Each time he raised the standard of the Mosaic Law above that which was perceived to that which was intended. His final command fully encapsulated the intent of the Law -- holiness:

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

Matt 5:1-16

Jesus, speaking to Jews, addresses them from the side of a mountain and internalizes the Law that God gave Moses to give to the Israelites from the bottom of Mount Sinai. Jesus fulfills Deut 18:15 by doing this.

 

Nine Blessings

 

Makarios means holy and happy (ST 3107: John 13:17 used as happy)

5:1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying:

3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

          Jesus did not just teach –1Peter 2:22

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matt 26:37-38

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

          Matthew 11:28-30, John 13:4-5

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. John 4:34

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Luke 23:43, Hebrews 2:17

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Luke 2:40, 52

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

          Ephesians 2:14-17

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

          11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Acts 13:26-28

 

Luke 6:17-38

Four blessings and three woes addressed from the plain

 

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured,  and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Looking at his disciples, he said:

"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

  Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and  

   insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of

   Man.

"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

          "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your   

           comfort.

          Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to

           you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

           Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their   

           fathers treated the false prophets…”

 

Matt 5:17-18

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  KJV

 

 

Jesus takes the authority of God and intensifies the Law.

5:21 “Thou shalt not murder” (Hebrew is ratsach raw-tsakh'  =murder. Manslaughter is harag haw-rag e.g. used in war deaths, accidental deaths but not in premeditated murder

 

5:22 “Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause…”

5:27 “Thou shalt not commit adultery”

5:28 “Whosoever look at a woman to lust after her…”

5:31 “Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writ of divorcement”

5:32 “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery.”

5:33 “Thou shalt not perjure yourself, but shall perform unto the Lord your oaths.”

5:34-37 “Swear not at all…let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

5:38 (Lex Talionis) “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

5:39 “Resist not evil. But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

5:43 “Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.”

5:44 “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you…”

 

Two Metaphors Matt 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.”

 

Two Roads and Two Gates: Matt 7:13-14

1.     The wide gate leads to destruction. Many take this way.

2.     The narrow gate leads to salvation. Few take this way.

 

 

Two Trees Matt 7:15-23

1.     The good tree – much fruit

2.     The bad tree – no fruit

 

 

Two Builders: Matt 7:24-27

1.     Wise Builder built his house on solid rock – survived the storm

2.     Foolish builder built his house on sand – destroyed by storm.

The Lord Jesus Christ, in this great Sermon on the Mount, has distinguished His Kingdom from that of contemporary Judaism, while identifying it with that spoken of in the Old Testament. As He concludes this sermon, we come to the bottom line, the destiny deciding hour of decision.

 

It is not just enough to hear His words; they must be acted upon. In this concluding section, Jesus put before His audience the choice  which every man must make, the choice between mere religion and the Person of our Lord Jesus.

1.     In verses Matt 7:13-14 we have the two gates,

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate* is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

*That gate is our Lord Jesus Himself. In the words of the Savior: “… Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep… I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture… I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:7-9, 11).

 

The gate is narrow only because it is exclusive and restrictive. Men can approach God only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)

There is a chain of hamburger stands which advertise on television, “Have it your way.” This may be a good thing when buying a hamburger, but it is heresy in terms of entering God’s heaven. This is not Burger King – we cannot have it any way we want.

 

2.     in verses 15-23 we are encouraged to distinguish between the two kinds of guides,

“And He also spoke a parable to them: ‘A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” (Luke 6:39).

 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of Hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:15).

No wonder we find our Lord warning His listeners about false prophets: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

 

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

 

3.     and in verses 24-27 we see the two foundations upon which men build their lives.

 

Verses 24-27 constitute the conclusion of this section as well as the entire Sermon on the Mount. Both men built a house. These houses are not said to differ in any respect except one, its foundation. One was built upon rock, and the other on sand. The one house was built upon our Lord’s teaching, while the other was built apart from it.

 

Those who foolishly rely upon their own reason and evaluation of things which are spiritual, rather than the Word of God, build upon a shaky foundation.

 

The very middle of our Bibles, which begin with God and end with God expresses this best: Psalm 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the LORD

than to trust in man.” NIV

 

 

Rules for the Redeemed:

 

1. Money rule “Matt 6:19-21

19 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” NIV

 

2. Golden Rule Matt 7:12

Matt 7:12  “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”NIV

 

3. Judgment Rule Matt 7:1 “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” KJV

          Matt 7:15-16

15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing,

but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. NKJV

Matt 7:20 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. NKJV

 

4. Worry Rule Matt 6:31-34

31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. NIV

 

5. Prayer Rule Matt 7:7-8  

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” NIV

          The Model Prayer Jesus gave His Disciples:  Matthew 6:9-13

 

“Our Father

Personal relationship with God

Who art in heaven

Faith

Hallowed be Thy Name

Worship

Thy kingdom come

Expectation

Thy will be done on earth

as it is in heaven

Submission

Give us this day our daily bread

Petition

And forgive us our debts

Confession

As we forgive our debtors

Compassion

Lead us not into temptation but

Deliver us from evil

Dependence

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory forever”

Acknowledgment

 

After the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proceeds in establishing His authority to teach the way He does.

 

In Matthew chapters 7 and 8 we see what the disciples and the people saw as He confirmed His Word with signs following.

 

1.    Jesus’ authority over disease (Matt 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16) Jesus healed a leper and even touched him. This supposedly made one ceremonial unclean. However the overriding reason is that a man does not catch leprosy through contact with the leper. The lepers were the lowest of the Jewish social class. Believing that these lepers were being punished for sin, they were avoided by religious people. They were required to yell “unclean, unclean” whenever they came near other people. The Religious leadership would also cast stones at them to rebuke their sinfulness (judgmentalism without sound foundation) and to keep them away. Remember, these men who did this were supposed to be the shepherds of Israel. Jesus commanded this man to present himself before the priest and have a sacrificial offering made to thank God for the cleansing. (Lev 14:3 and 7) This presentation before the priest in the Law was meant more for the priest to verify real leprosy as compared with rumors or doubts among the people that a particular man had leprosy. With the exception of Miriam, (Numbers 12:10 and 12:15) Moses sister, no Hebrew had ever been healed from leprosy. Miriam in Hebrew, means “rebellion”.

 

2.    Jesus has authority over paralysis Matt 8:5-13

Jesus met a centurion in Capernaum who requested of Jesus that He heal his servant (doulos). He was paralyzed and suffering intensely (Luke 7:2)

The centurion both expressed faith in Jesus but also in His authority. Jesus was touched by the faith of this gentile.

 

3.    Jesus’ authority over fever (Matt 8:28-34,

Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39)) Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-

law.

 

4.    Jesus’ authority over demons and the Kingdom of Darkness Matt 8:16, 8:28-34 shows two demoniacs in the land of the Gergasenes. The more detailed explanation showing Jesus dealing with one demoniac. In Mark, the area is called the Gadarenes. The reason Jesus was in that area was because this area contained the descendants of Gad. Because they and the tribe of Reuben requested land on the east side of the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, they were out of regular tough with their Jewish brethren. These Gadarenes were Jews who raised swine (which describes how much they fall into apostasy.) Some points regarding the Gadarene demoniac:

                                                                          i.      The Gadarene demoniac had 6000 demons evidenced by their collective name “Legion”.

                                                                        ii.      Instead of being driven by the demons away from Jesus, this demoniac approaches Jesus and worships Him by kneeling before Him. Mark 5:6-17

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me." For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!" Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." (Note that that these are not angelic majesties spoken of in Jude 8)And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine; and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.”

 

5.     Jesus’ authority over nature  (Matt 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25)

“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" NKJV

6.    Jesus has the authority & power to forgive sins (Matt 9:1-8,

Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26 The paralytic who was lowered

through the removal of tiles in the roof and was presented

before Jesus on a pallet or stretcher. In this man’s healing, 

his sins had somehow opened the door to his present

suffering. Jesus deals with the root cause first (forgiveness

of sin) then He healed the man. The Pharisees & Scribes

were highly offended when Jesus forgave his sins because

only God can forgive sin.

 

7.    and 8. Jesus’ power over death  A ruler of the synagogue, probably in Capernaum, named Jairus. Originally Jairus told Jesus that his daughter was dying. He probably received word while talking to Jesus that his daughter had died. (appears as conflict between Mark 5:23 and Luke 8:42).  As Jesus proceeded to accompany Jairus to his home, a woman touched the hem of His garment to receive healing of  her hemorrhages that afflicted her for 12 years (an ironic coincidence: This woman’s hemmorages began in the same year that Jairus’ daughter was born). Jesus asks His disciples who touched Him. Since they were in the midst of a crown where many touched Jesus, His apostles are rather amazed at Jesus’ question. Jesus knew that healing power had flowed from him to someone. (8)The woman who had hemorrhages admitted she was the one. Jesus told her that her faith (in Him) had made her whole. Jesus informed the mourners that she was “asleep” meaning that she was dead, however that was only temporary. They mocked Jesus.

 

Jesus went into her room with only her father and mother, He said to the 12-year-old girl “Talitha cumi”, an Aramaic term used to describe young girls. “Talitha” comes from an Aramaic word meaning “lamb.” What Jesus said to her was “Arise little lamb”.

 

             9. Jesus’ authority over darkness           Matt 9:27-31

On the road Jesus was traveling, He met two blind beggars who beseeched Him to heal them. If you were blind in the Israel of our Lord Jesus, the blind and the crippled had to get a license to beg. Their condition was examined before giving them the license. Once approved the beggar was given a coat that told all passersby that they were beggars. Deformed and crippled men were not allowed into the Temple. Just as the sacrificial lamb must be spotless, the Religious leadership applied this also to attendance in the Temple and in the synagogue.

 

 

10.              Jesus’ authority over dumbness  Matt 9:32-34

        Demon spirits had caused a man dumbness, the inability to

        speak. Jesus cast the demon out of the man and that man’s

        voice was miraculously restored.

 

The Three Potential Disciples who failed to heed Jesus’ call:

 

Three brash, precipitous disciples who failed.

Luke 14:28  “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it;”

Luke 14: 31   “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not first sit down and consult whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?”

 

COUNT THE COST

 

a.     Matt 8:19-20, Luke 9:57-58 Wealth disqualifies him

“Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."  And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." NKJV

This man did not count the cost of discipleship before he spoke out to Jesus.

 

b.     Matt 8: 21-22, Luke 9:59-60 The second man let his family be an excuse in failing to heed Jesus’ call

“Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead." NKJV This man’s father was not dead, and it is believed that the condition of his father could have lasted several years of waiting.

 

c.     Luke 9:61 The third man allows his friends to disqualify him

“And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house."  But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." NKJV

 

The sermons preached by Christ

  1. The sermon in Nazareth from the scroll of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-30)
  2. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) 3
  3. The Source of Life sermon (John 5:17-47)
  4. The Bread of Life sermon (John 6:22-71)
  5. The Water of Life Sermon (John 7:1-53)
  6. The Light of Life sermon (John 8: 12-59)
  7. The Shepherd of Life sermon (John 10: 1-39)
  8. The Mt. Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, 25)
  9. The Way, the Truth, and the Life sermon (John 14:1-31)
  10. The Abundance of Life sermon (John 15, 16)

 

The prayers uttered by Christ

  1. At his baptism (Luke 3:21)
  2. Before his first preaching tour of Galilee (Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42)
  3. After healing a leper (Luke 5: 16)
  4. Before choosing his 12 disciples (Luke 6: 12)
  5. After the feeding of the 5,000 (Matt. 14:23; Mark 6:46; John 6: 15)
  6. Before hearing Peter's great confession (Luke 9:18)
  7. During his transfiguration (Luke 9:28, 29)
  8. Upon hearing the report of the returning Seventy (Matt. 11:25-27; Luke 10:21, 22)
  9. After visiting Mary and Martha (Luke 11:1)
  10. After receiving some small children (Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18: 15-17)
  11. Before raising Lazarus (John 11:41, 42)
  12. When some Greeks desired to see him (John 12:20-28)
  13. After leaving the Upper Room (John 17:1-26)
  14. In the garden (first prayer) (Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, 36; Luke 22:41, 42)
  15. In the garden (second prayer) (Matt. 26:42; Mark 14:39; Luke 22:41, 42)
  16. In the garden (third prayer) (Matt. 26:44)
  17. – 19..on the cross (first prayer) (Luke 23:34) On the cross (second prayer) (Matt. 27:46, 47; Mark 15:34, 35) On the cross (third prayer) (Luke 23:46)

 

  PROFILE of the APOSTLES

   Simon Peter and Andrew were brothers (John 1:42, 21:15) 

James and John were brothers; the sons of Zebedee and Salome (Matt 20:20,      Matt 27:56, Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1)

Matthew (also called Levi) was the son of Alpheus as was James “the Less”.      Mark 2:14,  Matt 10:3

 

1. Andrew (means “Manly”) originally led his older brother to Jesus. Both had been disciples of John the Baptist. Therefore Andrew was the first Evangelist. Andrew was never jealous of his brother’s prominence as an Apostle. This tells us that Andrew had two requisites for being an Apostle; humility and the heart of a servant. Andrew was the first follower of Jesus with whom Andrew had a very deep relationship (Mark 13:3). Both Andrew and Peter were from Bethsaida. Among the disciples of John the Baptist, there was Andrew, Simon Peter, Simon and Philip were hearing John the Baptist speak boldly even to the religious leaders from Jerusalem:

 

Matt 3:7-10 “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits of your repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able to raise up children unto Abraham from these stones. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”

 

Andrew was anxiously awaiting the coming of the Messiah whom John preached. He was not content with the formal, lifeless rituals of the synagogue. Andrew listened to John the Baptist attentively when John saw and said of Jesus: “The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”John 1:29 

As an Evangelist, Andrew not only brought his brother to Jesus, he will also be given Greeks seeking Jesus in John 12:20-22.

He is said to have been crucified in Archaia on a tranverse cross (one that appears as a giant X

 

2. Bartholomew  (means “son of Tolmai” and is Aramaic in origin). (Nathaniel means “gift of God”) Spoken of in John 1: 45-51 Bartholomew, also called Nathaniel, was commended by Jesus who saw that there was no guile in the heart of this disciple. Bartholomew confesses Jesus as Messiah after Jesus told him that He had seen him while he sat under the fig tree before Philip came to get him. Bartholomew (or Nathaniel) responded and said to him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” John 1:49

References to Nathaniel: John 1:45-51

References to Bartholomew Matt 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13

 Tolmai is mentioned in 2Samuel 13:37. He was the probable founder of a group called “Tholmeans” who studied under the teachings of Heber, a teacher ancient Hebrew. From this inclusion in the Scriptures we might deduce that Nathaniel was well-versed in the Scriptures. He died as a martyr be being flayed to death with knives.

 

3. James,   son of Alpheus referred to by some as James “the lesser”. This James is not the half brother of Jesus nor is he the overseer of the Church of Jerusalem after Jesus’ Resurrection. (Mark 3:31-34),

Matthew 13:55  Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? (also Mark 6:3) John 7:3-7 Jesus’ brethren shown as skeptics and unbelievers. (That they were his half-brothers and not cousins, the Greek Adelphos is used which means blood brother or spiritual brother in Christ. The word used for cousin is suggenes meaning cousin or kinsman, family on a broader scale – used in Luke 1:36 when Mary visits her cousin, Elizabeth.)

 

James, son of Alpheus, was brother to Matthew. He was also probably a tax collector. His name comes from “Jacob” meaning “supplanter”. Mark refers to him as James the little due to his short stature. (Mark 15:40 James the less in KJV. In Greek it is James micros meaning short or little.

 

James, son of Alpheus, though mentioned in the Gospels, his life is in obscurity for us. No further reference is made to him either in the Scriptures nor in the writings of early Church leaders. Tradition tells us that James was martyred using a pole and striking his head until he died.

 

4. James, son of Zebedee. (Zebedee means “my gift”). James was a fisherman of Galilee, brother of John. Their mother was Salome, a follower of Jesus. Both James and John are in the central state of the Apostles along with Peter being allowed to witness the Transfiguration of Jesus. Mark 9:2. James was also the second martyr of the church being recorded in Acts 12:1-2

 

Salome may have been a sister of Mary, mother of Jesus. It is believed by church historians that some relationship existed between these two families. WE see Salome as one of the women on Resurrection Sunday going to Jesus’ tomb to anoint the body that was not there. Mark 15:40. James was probably the older brother of John. Along with John, James was a fisherman. James and John, while working for Zebedee, their father, were probably men of means since they had hired servants (Mark 1:20). Both brothers gave up a wealthy family trade and social position to follow Jesus. We believe that a time interval of 17 years was the period when James first received the call to follow Jesus and his martyrdom. (Quoted from These Twelve by Frederick Edwards.) Along with John, James received a name from Jesus – Sons of Boanerges or “Sons of Thunder”.Mark 3:17.

This term referred to the brothers’ tendency to break into passionate responses much as a storm disrupts a quiet sea. Sons of Thunder describes their old natures, not their new ones in Christ.

 

Herod the Great ordered the slaughter of the innocents – Matt 2:16-18

Fulfilled: Jeremiah 31:15  Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

 

Herod II beheaded John the Baptist. Mark 6:24-27

 

Herod III executes the Apostle James. Acts 12:1-2

Blood and murder characterized the reign of Herod and his offspring. After Herod the Great murdered two of his sons, Emperor Augustus said “I would rather be one of Herod’s pigs than to be one of his sons.

 

5. John, son of Zebedee & the disciple that Jesus loved. His name, Johanine means “Jehovah is a gracious giver”.John was the younger brother of James and the son of Zebedee and Salome. John, like James, walked away from a wealthy family fishing business to follow Jesus. The social level of this family allowed them recognition by members of the Sanhedrin. This would allow John access to the home of Annas where a portion of the Sanhedrin made accusations against Jesus on the eve before His death.

 

John was the youngest of the 12 Apostles. He wrote one Gospel, 3 Epistles and recorded the last book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The word “witness” is imbedded in every writing of  John. John witnessed the baptism of Jesus, Transfiguration of Jesus, Jesus’ death at the cross, the empty tomb and the vision of the risen Christ recorded in Revelation 1:13-17. John was also the last Apostle, who died a natural death on the Isle of Patmos and served as Overseer of the Church of Ephesus. John was an Apostle for over 70 years. Emperor Domitian   had John boiled in oil. However when the Apostle survived that ordeal, he exiled John to the island of Patmos. John stands out as an Apostle with amazing courage and conviction, fearing nothing and teaching others to do the same. (1John 4:18).

John was familiar with the Old Testament. He knew exactly what John the Baptist meant when he heard the Baptist refer to Jesus as “the Lamb of God”.

(John 1:35-36). Both John and James had to learn the humility of Jesus and His love for the lost. Their resentful reactions to opposition, displayed in Luke 9:54 indicates attitudes of the heart that the Holy Spirit would change in their later Apostolic ministries.

 

John’s humility is seen in his refusal to name himself in the Gospel that bears his name. John occupied the second seat of honor at the Last Supper, sitting at Jesus’ right side.John 21:20. John is the Apostle of love. He emphasizes love in his Gospel:

1.     God loves all men – John 3:16

2.     God is one of love – John 5:42

3.     Jesus taught that we should love one another – John 13:34-35

The word “witness” is used by John 47 times in his writings. He uses testify and testimony 25 times. These words “witness”, “testimony” come from the same Greek word “martus” from which we get our word “martyr”. The martyr is the ultimate testimony to Jesus when one dies for Jesus’ Name.

 John was to witness the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, through His ministry, his physical death, His Resurrection, His Ascension,  His transfigured glory, Jesus as our High Priest and the end of the age as well as the end of this present world.

 

 

 

6. Judas Iscariot Jesus said of this betrayor “It had been good for that man if he had not been born.”(Mark 14:21). Judas was born in Kerioth as was his father.

Kerioth means “city” and is believed to be in a region near to Jerusalem. The name “Kerioth” or Kiryath usually precedes a name of a particular town such as Kiryath Jearim, Kiryath Arbor, Kiryath Sh’mona. The name “Kiryath” standing alone refers to only one of two possible locations: one in Moab (Amos 2:2 ) and the other in Judah on the South east border of Edom (Joshua 15:25). Therefore Judas was the only disciple not from Galilee. The first references to Judas are Matt 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16. He may have met Jesus on His return through Judaea (John 3:22). Scripture does not specifically tell us when and from where Jesus called him. He was more of a political rebel (like the Zealots) than a religious leader. He was strong-willed and conceited. This can be seen in his attempted rebuke of Mary in her worship of Jesus (John 12:3-8). He probably followed Jesus because he wanted to assist this young rabbi in a Messianic overthrow of the Roman yoke. The other 11 loved Jesus. Judas simply sees Jesus as a political response. (H. Lockyer). Judas is an Apostle who deliberately chose not to minister for our Lord Jesus.

 

He was the Treasurer of the Apostles, however he was also a thief -John 12:6.

 

Jesus referred to him as “the son of perdition” John 17:12. This title is used only one other time in 2Thess 2: 3 where Paul refers to the Antichrist.. Jesus calls Judas “the devil” in John 6:70-71 not just a demon-possessed man. Jesus assigned to Judas the name of Satan – diabolos. Judas looked for an ideal time to betray Jesus (Matt 26:16) and did so during dinner in the in the upper room (John 13:30).

Judas settled for a price for betrayal of Jesus, 30 pieces of silver (Matt 27:9, the price of a slave when killed by a beast (Exodus 21:32).At today’s value, the price placed on Jesus was less than $180 USD.

 

After this terrible act, Judas was regretful but not repentant. He proceeded to commit suicide by hanging because he had no hope.

The Law of Moses Cursed be he that takes reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say “Amen.” (Deut 27.25)

 

Psalm 41:9 “Even a man, my friend, in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

 

Psalm 55:12-15  “For it is not an enemy who reviled me; then I could have borne it; it is not one who hates me who magnified himself against me; or I would hide myself from him;

13  but it is you, a man my rank, my guide and my friend.

14  We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company.

15 Let desolation take hold on them, and let them go down alive into hell; for evils are among them in their dwellings.

 

7. Matthew (also called Levi)  He probably dwelled near Capernaum. being the son of Alpheus, Matthew was the brother of James.

Matthew was called from the profession of Tax Farmer (explain) to follow Jesus. This is one of countless examples of how Jesus can take a man’s life and turn it around for the praise of His glory. Matthew probably had developed a coarse nature that he developed as a defense against his countrymen expressing their hatred of him and all other tax collectors for Rome. Tax collectors, called publicans, were classified with prostitutes, thieves and robbers His name “Levi” indicates that he was born into a priestly devout family. The move from Levi as a future priest (Kohane) to that of tax collector was a degenerate mudslide. The call of Matthew by Jesus is written of in Matt 9:9-13.

 

Matthew means “gift of Jehovah”. In Luke 5:29 we see a great feast hosted by Levi (Matthew) at which was gathered many other publicans and sinners. Matthew wanted his friends and former colleagues to meet Jesus, the Saviour. This feast was Matthew’s witness of Jesus.

 

Some terms that Matthew uses in his Gospel (tribute instead of penny, a stater, the miraculous gold coin Matt 17:22-27. The stater was a half ounce of silver ). He would provide the best description of coins and money since he had handled so much of it.

Martyred with an axe.

 

8. Simon Peter Peter, the name given to him by Jesus (meaning “stone” in Aramaic the name is Kephas John 1:42) stands out among the 12 Apostles. The name Simon was not derived from the Old Testament, however it became commonplace in Israel at the inter-Testament period. It is a form of the name of the Patriarch, Simeon and is pronounced as “she-mone” (meaning “heard”). He was a man who ran either very hot or very cold. This instability in Peter’s character would later be changed by the Holy Spirit. Peter was a fisherman, brother of Andrew, son of Jonah and inhabitant of Bethsaida. Peter was also a disciple of John the Baptist. Peter’s heart longed for the appearing of the Messiah to whom the Baptist referred.

 

Peter was not as solid as a stone when he first followed Jesus. Jesus gave him this name because He knew what Peter would be in the future. Although both Peter and John were uneducated men, they were able with the3 power of the Holy Spirit to confound the Jewish Council at Jerusalem Acts 4:1-22. Peter was married and had his mothrer-in-law living with them Matt 8:14, Mark 1:28. Many of the other Apostles were married but are not listed as married by name – 1COR 9:5.Peter was a large brawny man and one of the oldest among the Apostles. Peter led the Apostles in choosing a successor for Judas and in preaching on Pentecost Sunday. Peter dominates the Book of Acts from Acts 1-Acts 8 and Chapters 10 and 12. At this point Paul & his missionary journeys take center stage in Acts.

 

Luke 5:4 carries a story about Peter who had been out fishing all night and caught nothing. He sees Jesus in the daylight on shore. At the worst time to fish, Jesus told Peter to lower his nets. Peter obeyed but probably said in his heart that Jesus knows nothing about fishing. Broad daylight was not the right time. Imagine how his faith went up when they almost broke their nets so filled with fish.

Some of the largest miracles occurred for this Apostle at sea. Other scenes of the sea: Matt 8:23-27 Jesus stills the raging storm by rebuking the wind and waves.

Peter’s last visit on earth with Jesus occurs on a return from fishing on the Sea of Galilee John 21:1-14

 

Peter had to be broken with his pride and self-confidence. He had made the statement at the Last Supper  that shows these flaws in his character: Matthew 26:35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Peter’s heart was broken when he denied knowing Jesus then receiving a glance from Jesus’ eyes “Luke 22: 61  And the Lord turned and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, Before the cock crows, you shall deny Me three times.”

 

Seldom have we seen a man of such opposites:

1. First to confess Jesus as Messiah after Nathaniel Matthew 16:16 then proceeds to act as counselor of Jesus for which he was rebuked. Matt 16:23

2. The only apostle to walk on water, until he took his eyes off Jesus               and looked at the wind and the waves.Matt 14:28-32

3. Draws a sword to defend Jesus and cuts off the ear of the High Priest’s          servant. (John 18:10) Peter did this in spite of the presence of 500 men           sent to seize Jesus. After this astonishing act of courage, Peter denies                 that he knows Jesus when questioned by a woman in the courtyard

Matt 26:69-75 Regarding those who deny Jesus, He said “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matt 10:33. Jesus does forgive a repentant Peter by exacting from Him a confession of faith for each of Peter’s three denials. John 21:15-17.

 

Jesus, addressing Peter in Matt 16:19 said “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:” Jesus did not give Peter His church which is built on the solid rock who is Christ.

Romans 9:33  as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a Stumbling-stone and a Rock-of-offense, and everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame."

1 Corinthians 10:4  and all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

1 Peter 2:8  and a Stone-of-stumbling and a Rock-of-offense to those disobeying, who stumble at the word, to which they also were appointed.

 

  Regarding the keys that Jesus gave to Peter: Keys open doors. Paul asked for prayers for an open door for the preaching of the Gospel. 1Cor 16:9, 2COR 2:12, Col 4:3.

In Acts 1:8 we are all given a command from Jesus; “But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  

 

Ist Key – Jerusalem & Judea Acts 2

2nd Key – Samaria Acts 8

3rd Key – the uttermost parts of the world – gentiles – Acts 10. There are now no more keys, however we should follow the Scriptural pattern of praying for open doors for our testimony and the Gospel. There may be closed doors to the Gospel today, however no door is locked for us anymore. Peter was martyred by crucifixion near Rome. Jesus prophesies regarding Peter’s death in John 21:18-19       

 

9. Philip Philip is mentioned in detail only in the Gospel of John. The Synoptics simply record his name among the 12 Apostles. Some commentators believe that Philip was slow-witted. I see him as shy.

The three Scriptures referencing Philip are John 6:5-7 where Philip answers Jesus’ question regarding the feeding of 5000 by answering that they did not have enough money. In John 12:2-23 Greeks attending the Passover see Philip and ask him that they may see Jesus. Philip goes to Andrew who goes to Jesus. Finally in the upper room, Philip is the one who asks Jesus if he can see the Father. Jesus does rebuke Philip here: John 14:8 “Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

9  Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father?

10  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works.

11  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works themselves.

 

I am sure that same question was entertained by some of the other Apostles also. 

Philip was a native of Bethsaida and a disciple of John the Baptist. Philip responds to Andrew’s invitation to meet Jesus. John 1:43 Philip’s name means “lover of horses”. Philip sought out Nathaniel who met Jesus as a result of Philip’s witness.

Tradition tells us that Philip was martyred by hanging (from a tall pillar).

 

10. Simon the Zealot (also Simon the Canaanite) At first glance we might assume that this Simon was

a.      part Jewish and part Canaanite and/or

b.     b. he was from the revolutionary group in Israel referred to as “Zealots”.

Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18) lists Simon who is called Peter separately from Simon the Canaanite. Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13 refers to him as Simon Zelotes or Simon the Zealot.

 

Simon’s surname comes from the Hebrew root “Kana” meaning to be ardent or to have flaming zeal. He did not necessarily come from Cana. He almost assuredly can be said to have come from the rebellious political party organized to overthrow Roman rule. He is not the half brother of Jesus (Matt 13:55, Mark 6:3). We have an absence of any kind of history or background on this disciple. It is interesting that this disciple turned to Jesus as Messiah & Saviour, whereas Judas Iscariot, thought to be interested in political freedom from Rome, was interested primarily in money.

 

From the time of the Maccabees overthrow of Syrian-Hellenistic rule to the time of Jesus, many Jews were familiar with 1Macc 2:50 (an Apocryphal resource) “Be zealous for the Law and give your lives for the Covenant.”

Zealot revolutionary activities flared occasionally in Galilee. Josephus describes for us the nature of the Zealots and one of their number, Barabbas, who was arrested for sedition, murder and theft. The Gospel of Grace is demonstrated in this man who is transformed from a rebel to an Apostle & a minister (a servant).Judas of Somala was head of the Zealots during Jesus’ ministry. Simon the Zealot (Roman tax hater) and Matthew (former Roman tax gatherer) are put together as Apostles by Jesus. Only the transforming words of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Spirit could make brothers of these two enemies.

 

Tradition tells us that Simon died as a martyr being sawed in half by his persecutors.

 

11. Thaddaeus This is the Apostle with three names.

Thaddaeus  “large- hearted, courageous Matt 10:3, Mark 3:18

Judas “Jehovah leads”  Luke 6:16, John 14:22, Acts 1:13

Labbeaeus – a warm, large loving heart Matt 10:3

 

It is recorded that Thaddaeus asked Jesus only one question John 14:22 Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?

In Jesus’ answer He says Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, Lord, how is it that You will reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?

23 Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

24   He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.

25   I have spoken these things to you, being present with you.

26   But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” John 14:22

The answer to Thaddaeus’ question was obedience to the Words Jesus has spoken to them and that He, Jesus, would be manifested to their hearts by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

 

Tradition teaches us that Thaddaeus was beaten to death with a club.

 

12. Thomas The meaning of his name “Thomas” means “twin”. He was a poor fisherman from Galilee. Thomas is one of the most aligned Apostles in Christian history. Yes, Thomas would not believe that Jesus was risen from the dead until he saw Jesus and put his finger into the nail wounds. Both Thomas and Didymus mean “twin”. We are not told who the other twin might have been. One critical view of Thomas holds that it was not his natural birth by which there was a twin but rather his doubting. Twin Scriptures referring to double-mindedness taught but not written until after Jesus’ Asencion.

 

James 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

 

James 4:8 8  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, double-minded ones.

 

Few Christians remember how courageously Thomas spoke to the other 11 regarding Jesus’ last return to Judaea; “John 11:16  “Then Thomas (he being called Twin) said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” As believers in Jesus Christ we are to remember both aspects of this Apostle’s life. John 20: 27-28 tells of how Thomas doubted the Resurrection of Jesus and the subsequent visit by Jesus during which He confronted Thomas. Thomas confesses Jesus as his Lord & God.

 

Tradition teaches us that Thomas died a martyr’s death in Bombay after being lanced in the side while planting churches in India.

 

13. Matthias – The Apostle chosen by lot to take Judas’ place. The Holy Spirit was not yet given in Acts 1:21. Were the Apostles to fill the office of Judas before praying to the Lord. Were they correct in singling out two men and asking the Lord in prayer which man He wanted? He is included in the list of Apostles in Acts 6:2, however he is not mentioned again. Remember Jesus’ Words “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you. John 15:16   Tradition tells us that Matthias was stoned then beheaded as a martyr for Jesus.

 

14. Saul Paulus of Tarsus This Apostle was called by Jesus, Himself on the road to Damascus – Acts 9. This persecutor of the church and partaker of the murder of Stephen was a devout young rabbi, student of Gamliel, versed in Hebrew Law & the prophets as well as Greek philosophers and poets. His fluency in Greek was necessary for Jews living in the Diaspora. Saul, pronounced “Shaw-ule” means “desired”. Paul means “small or little”. Can be referring to physical stature or to humility. Paul was divinely appointed as an Apostle by Jesus – 1COR 1:1, 9:1

 

Did not Jesus say Mark 9:35 “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and said to them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. Also in (Matt 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30).

 

Paul says; “1 Corinthians 15:8  “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” This last Apostle was the source for most of the Acts of the Apostles. (Chapters 9, 11, 13-28)

Marks on this Apostle: 2COR 11: 24-26 “Five times from the Jews I received forty stripes minus one.

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the deep.

 I have been in travels often; in dangers from waters; in dangers from robbers; in dangers from my race; in dangers from the heathen; in dangers in the city; in dangers in the wilderness; in dangers on the sea; in dangers among false brothers.”

 

Paul was beheaded in Rome after confinement in Mamertine prison.

 

It is my firm belief that the Apostle Paul will be seated in the seat of honor at Jesus' left side where Judas Iscariot once presumed by sitting there.

All of the Apostles except John received death by martyrdom

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