A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
December 14, 2019
Disciple or Apostle?
January 23, 2015
Who were the Twelve?
These past two weeks we as a Church have entered once again into Ordinary Time in the Liturgical calendar. With the Christmas Season past and Ash Wednesday about a month away, we are hearing through the Gospel of the beginning of the three year ministry of Jesus Christ. Now an adult, he begins his journey to the Cross by calling forth twelve disciples. So if he calls out the twelve disciples, then who are the twelve apostles? This explanation might
be helpful: The word “disciple” means “learner or follower” while the word “apostle” means “one who is sent out.”
While Jesus was on earth, His twelve followers were called disciples; they followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out to be His witnesses. They were then referred to as the twelve apostles. However, even when Jesus was still on earth, the terms “disciples” and “apostles” were often used interchangeably.
So do you know the twelve? You can look them up in Matthew 10.2-4:
• First, Simon – who was called Peter (the rock) by Jesus, he
walked on water to Jesus and sank, he also denied knowing
Jesus three times on the night of the Last Supper
• Andrew – Peter’s brother, he brought Jesus the boy with the
loaves and fishes
• James son of Zebedee, and his brother
• John – they were fishing partners of Peter, nicknamed “Sons of
Thunder” by Jesus for wanting to call down lightening upon those
arguing with Jesus, James was the first Apostle martyred in the
• Philip – Asked by Jesus to follow Him, introduced Nathanael to
Jesus, advised Jesus it would be impossible to feed the thousands
• Bartholomew - believed to also be called Nathanael, called by
Jesus after Philip introduced him, witnessed the Risen Jesus’
appearance by the Sea of Galilee
• Thomas – questioned Jesus at the Last Supper about where he
was going, he doubted Jesus’ resurrection, made an act of faith
in the presence of Jesus
• Matthew – in Hebrew his name was Levi, called personally by
Jesus, a tax collector hosted by Jesus for a meal with sinners
• James son of Alphaeus – may have been brother to Matthew
as both their fathers’ name was Alphaeus
• Thaddaeus – was also known as Judas or Jude, son of James
• Simon the Zealot – also known as Simon the Canaanite, asked
Jesus why he revealed himself to them and not to the world
• Judas Iscariot – was the treasurer for the Apostles, arranged
the betrayal of Jesus, revealed by Jesus at the last supper as
one who would betray Him, betrayed Jesus with a kiss
The twelve disciples/apostles were ordinary men whom God used in an extraordinary manner. Among the twelve were fishermen, a tax collector, and a revolutionary. The Gospels record the constant failings, struggles, and doubts of these twelve men who followed Jesus Christ. After witnessing Jesus' resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit transformed the disciples/apostles into powerful men of God who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
What was the change? The twelve apostles/disciples had “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). May the same be said of us!