Bible Basics

Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Mission: The Twelve Disciples

November 28, 2023 Jacqueline Williams Adewole Season 1 Episode 27
Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Mission: The Twelve Disciples
Bible Basics
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Bible Basics
Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Mission: The Twelve Disciples
Nov 28, 2023 Season 1 Episode 27
Jacqueline Williams Adewole

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey, retracing the footsteps of Jesus Christ's chosen disciples? In this  episode, we will take you through the fascinating lives of these ordinary yet extraordinary men - fishermen, tax collectors, and others, who were handpicked by Jesus himself to spread God's love and redemption to the world.

 Despite their ordinary backgrounds, doubts, and flaws, these men proved that anyone touched by divine love could become a powerful messenger of faith. Their inspiring legacy continues to reverberate throughout the world today. Tune in now, take a deep breath, and prepare to be moved and inspired as we explore the transformative power of faith.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Twelve Ordinary Men, Grace to You - https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/41-14/twelve-ordinary-men

OTHER SOURCE MATERIALS
The Complete Bible Handbook, John Bowker
Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley
Gotquestions.org - Who were the 12 disciples/apostles, individual named disciples
The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Disciples)
MacArthur Study Bible

Thank you for tuning in!
Bible Basics is now streaming on Youtube. Please subscribe now!

Feel free to contact us at info@bible-basics.org. We would love to hear from you!

Note: All scripture references are from the NIV translation unless otherwise indicated.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey, retracing the footsteps of Jesus Christ's chosen disciples? In this  episode, we will take you through the fascinating lives of these ordinary yet extraordinary men - fishermen, tax collectors, and others, who were handpicked by Jesus himself to spread God's love and redemption to the world.

 Despite their ordinary backgrounds, doubts, and flaws, these men proved that anyone touched by divine love could become a powerful messenger of faith. Their inspiring legacy continues to reverberate throughout the world today. Tune in now, take a deep breath, and prepare to be moved and inspired as we explore the transformative power of faith.

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Twelve Ordinary Men, Grace to You - https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/41-14/twelve-ordinary-men

OTHER SOURCE MATERIALS
The Complete Bible Handbook, John Bowker
Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley
Gotquestions.org - Who were the 12 disciples/apostles, individual named disciples
The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Disciples)
MacArthur Study Bible

Thank you for tuning in!
Bible Basics is now streaming on Youtube. Please subscribe now!

Feel free to contact us at info@bible-basics.org. We would love to hear from you!

Note: All scripture references are from the NIV translation unless otherwise indicated.

Jacqui:

Greetings everyone. Imagine being handpicked by Jesus Christ to be among his closest companions, undergoing an intensive discipleship course and then receiving a divine commission to spread God's Kingdom worldwide. Well, in this episode of the Bible Basics podcast, we'll meet 12 who have that experience. We'll unveil the extraordinary journey of the 12 disciples, from their unique backgrounds to the pivotal role they played in broadcasting God's love and the message of redemption through Jesus. Join us as we delve into the lives of these chosen few, exploring the depths of their connection with the Lord and the profound impact they had on the world. Well, welcome everyone. I'm your host, Jacqui Adewole, and this is the Bible Basics podcast, where, weekly, we break down the Bible into understandable, bite-sized chunks.

Jacqui:

Did you know that in the New Testament, the term disciple appears around 260 times, with 230 of those occurrences in the Gospels and the remaining 30 in Acts? Primarily, it refers to Jesus' disciples, but there are also disciples of the Pharisees, john the Baptist and even Moses. The names of Jesus' disciples are found in four Bible passages Matthew 10: 2-4, Mark 3: 16-19, Luke 6: 13-16, and Acts 1:13. However, these four lists differ. Some include distinct details. For instance, Luke and Acts mentioned Judas, son of James, while Mark and Matthew refer to Thaddeus. Well, tradition reconciles this by declaring Thaddeus and this particular Judas are the same person. And all of that to avoid confusion with Judas Iscariot.

Jacqui:

Surprisingly, the Gospel of John doesn't list the 12 apostles, but provides unique insights into their interactions. It records dialogues not found in other Gospels, offering additional details about their relationships. The name Nathaniel, closely linked to Philip, is exclusive to the book of John. In contrast, Bartholomew, associated with Philip, is not mentioned in John. Scholars assume Bartholomew and Nathaniel are the same, but it's not certain. Peter's name is listed first in all four lists, so he stands out as the leader and spokesman for the entire group of 12.

Jacqui:

Note that in the Gospels, the 12 are defined as both disciples and apostles. What's the difference between disciple and apostle? Well, the terms disciple and apostle carry distinct meanings. In the New Testament, disciple is the word that means learner or student. The twelve started out as learners. They ended up as messengers or apostles, which means sent ones. Now here's another important point.

Jacqui:

While the gospels often identify the disciples of Jesus with the twelve, this doesn't mean they were his only disciples. Luke's gospel speaks of seventy or seventy-two disciples. We see that in chapter 10, verses 1 through 24. Or even a large crowd. We see that in Luke 6: 17. There are also occurrences of women among Jesus' close followers. At one point Jesus is said to travel with the twelve, and three women who quote were helping to support them out of their own means. We find that in Luke 8, 1 through 3. In Acts, a woman is referred to as a disciple. Quote in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, and that's in Acts 9: 36.

Jacqui:

Now let's dive into the profiles of these twelve disciples. In Matthew 10: 2 through 4, we encounter this lineup Simon, who was called Peter, 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 Thaddeus. Simon, the zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. Quite a diverse group. Right Now let's take a closer look at each one. These insights on the individual disciples are primarily drawn from the Twelve Ordinary Men teaching on the Grace To You website. I'll place the link to that in the show notes.

Jacqui:

Let's start with Peter, or Simon, Peter, as he'll come to be known later on. He and his brother Andrew were early followers of John the Baptist. Andrew introduced his older brother, simon, to Jesus in the wilderness. Simon was eager, aggressive, bold and outspoken, and he proved to be a faithful follower. Jesus saw his potential and gave him an additional name, Peter, or an Aramaic, Cephas, meaning Rock. Peter was known for his denial of Christ three times and his pivotal role in bringing the Gospel to the Jews. We find that in Galatians 2.7. He's a dominant preacher in the first twelve chapters of Acts. On the day of Pentecost, peter was the main speaker to the crowd in Jerusalem and the Church began with an influx of about 3,000 new believers.

Jacqui:

Next we have Andrew. He was the first of disciples to be called. He was one of the four fishermen who seemed especially close to Christ. That included Peter, andrew, james and John. Most everything Scripture tells us about Andrew shows that he had the right heart for effective ministry in the background. He did not seek to be the center of attention.

Jacqui:

The book of John gives us three brief glimpses of Andrew Each time he was found bringing others to Jesus. Those references are John 1: 40-42, John 6: 1-14, and John 12, 20-26. And then there was James. There is little written about James as a standalone character In the Bible. He's never mentioned without his brother, john. He and his brother were fishermen, like Peter and Andrew. Jesus nicknamed James and his brother John the Sons of Thunder, possibly due to their intense, outspoken personalities. Note that this is not the James that wrote the book of James. That was Jesus's half-brother, now John. As I was just telling you about James, jesus nicknamed two of them Sons of Thunder. This may be related specifically to John wanting to call down fire from heaven on some Samaritan villagers who didn't welcome Jesus. That's in Luke 9: 51-56.

Jacqui:

But after walking with Jesus, John changed. He became known as the author of Love. The theme of 1 John which he wrote, is love. By the way, this is John that wrote five New Testament books the Gospel of John, 1, 2 and 3 John and Revelation. It's interesting that in the Gospel of John he never uses his own name. He did refer to himself as the "disciple who Jesus loved, philip. He's known for failing tests he should have passed, like the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6, 5-13, or questioning Jesus in the upper room in John 14, 1-14. But he learned from these lapses and, in faith, carried on the Lord's work.

Jacqui:

Once we have Bartholomew, he was also known as Nathaniel. The Gospels and Acts contain no details about Bartholomew. John's Gospel features Bartholomew in just two passages. First, in John 1, when he's called there, jesus describes him as an Israelite in whom there is no deceit. John is first meeting Jesus, and Nathaniel was initially skeptical but quickly and boldly proclaimed Jesus was the Son of God and the King of Israel. The second place he's mentioned is in John 21: 2, where he's named as one of those who returned to Galilee and went fishing with Peter after Jesus' resurrection and before the ascension. That's what we know about him. Then there's Matthew, also known as Levi. He was a tax collector based in Capernaum. Matthew left a life of privilege to follow Jesus, remaining true to Jesus throughout his ministry. He is attributed as the author of the Gospel of Matthew, a very comprehensive Gospel that sets forth Jesus as Messiah and carefully links the Old Testament prophecies to Jesus' fulfillment of them.

Jacqui:

Moving on now to Thomas, according to John 11: 16, Thomas is also known as Didymus or the twin, possibly meaning he had a twin brother or sister. It's unfortunate that Thomas' primary claim to fame is his doubt, considering his devotion to Jesus. The Gospel of John shares an account near the end of Jesus' ministry, where it came to the attention of the disciples that certain elements in Judea were conspiring to have Jesus killed, but it became apparent that Jesus planned to journey to Judea anyway. Despite the dangers, thomas stood firmly by his side, proclaiming Let us also go that we may die with him. That was in John 11: 16. He was definitely a ride or die disciple. That said, the most memorable account of Thomas occurs after Jesus' resurrection. Jesus had already appeared to the other disciples, but Thomas refused to believe them until he had the opportunity to see Jesus' wounds from the crucifixion with his own eyes and to touch them with his own hands. Jesus obliged, appearing to doubting Thomas and mercifully providing the proof that Thomas thought he needed. Nevertheless, jesus went on to emphasize that faith without proof was the greater blessing. This is running long. I only have four more to go.

Jacqui:

James he was a disciple for whom limited information is available. His nickname, james the Lesser or James the Younger, depending on your Bible translation, may also be linked to his relative obscurity. He is one of the few disciples who gets no individual mention in the Gospel stories. We do know that he was present in the upper room after Jesus ascended to heaven and was present on the day of Pentecost when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. So we can assume that, like the rest of the apostles, he carried the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Then there was Thaddeus. He is another somewhat mystery. He's hardly mentioned the Bible. To complicate matters, scripture refers to him by a few different names. We see him recorded as Labius, whose surname was Thaddeus. That's in Matthew 10:3.

Jacqui:

Judas, son of James. That's in Luke 16 and Acts 1:13. And then he's referred to as Not Judas Iscariot in John 14:22. The only recorded words by him in Scripture are in John 14:22, where he questions Jesus about revealing himself to the world. We have Simon. He's mentioned only three times in the Bible. Simon is identified as Simon the zealot, possibly suggesting a past association with a Jewish extremist sect or indicating his zealousness for Christ's teachings. And then there's Matthias. Though technically one of the twelve, matthias is often excluded from this for these reasons. He was appointed after Judas Iscariot's death and he wasn't directly called by Jesus into the group, and that's in Acts 1:23- 26. We know little about his individual actions as an apostle of Christ called to teach the Gospel.

Jacqui:

Now let's address the elephant in the room, judas Iscariot, the one who struck a deal betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, for this betrayal triggered a series of events that ultimately led to Jesus's arrest and crucifixion. Judas Iscariot took his own life. He was one of the most widely known apostles. He gained notoriety for his infamy rather than his virtue. So now that we know who the disciples were, what were these guys doing? What were they up to? Well, they were essentially Jesus's apprentices, absorbing his teachings on love, compassion and faith. They witnessed miracles, from feeding thousands to walking on water. They were in a crash course on divine wonders. Now, once they were empowered and sent out, these disciples continued Jesus's mission, reaching God's kingdom, healing and casting out demons, all with trust in God and hospitality. Their focus, as specified in Matthew 10: 5-6, was on the lost sheep of Israel.

Jacqui:

Following Christ's ascension, the 11 apostles, minus Judas Iscariot, pursued the Great Commission, becoming primary teachers of the Gospel. This is in Matthew 28:19. The disciples were now messengers, apostles spreading his teachings. They faced challenges and persecution, but played a fundamental role in the development of the early Church. You may be also wondering, well, what happened to them? Well, tradition suggests all of the apostles except John faced tragic ends.

Jacqui:

The only death of an apostle recorded in the Bible, however, is James, brother of John. Acts 12: 1-3, tells us he was killed by the sword at the hand of King Herod. The details of the deaths of the others, often gruesome and torturous, were compiled in other documents years and even centuries later. And there you have it a quick tour of the lives of Jesus' disciples, in perfect but pivotal. Each one played a crucial role in shaping the incredible story we know today. The 12 disciples apostles were ordinary men who had been with Jesus and were transformed in an extraordinary manner by God Fishermen, a tax collector and a revolutionary among them. Their constant failing struggles and doubts are recorded in the Gospels and in Acts. After Jesus' resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit turned them into powerful men of God who changed the world. Their faithfulness left a lasting legacy as the gospel spread worldwide. May we too make an impact because of having been with Jesus.

Who were the 12?
Difference between Disciple and Apostle
Other Disciples of Jesus
Profiles of the Disciples
Role of the Disciples & What happened to them?
Conclusion