The 12 Disciples of Jesus Christ are the followers who were closest to him during his ministry. The Bible records that these men traveled with Jesus, heard the sermons he preached, witnessed the miracles he performed and listened to him teach about God’s Kingdom. They also accompanied him on his final trip to Jerusalem where they abandoned him in fear when it seemed like Jesus was going to be executed. After Jesus had risen from the dead, he met with them and then they were commissioned by him to go out into the world and preach his message of salvation.
Those who are called Disciples are those men who have dedicated themselves to following Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They are part of a group known as the ‘twelve apostles’ or ‘apostle’ which is an official title given to specific disciples of Jesus Christ within the Christian churches. It was after receiving this title that each one of them carried forth with preaching about Jesus’ teachings in different parts of the world.
List of the 12 Disciples of Jesus Christ
Following is a list of 12 Disciples of Jesus Christ.
- Simon Peter
- Andrew (Simon’s brother)
- James (sons of Zebedee)
- Nathaniel or Bartholomew
- Judas Iscariot (who betrayed Jesus Christ)
- James (son of Alphaeus)
- Jude Thaddeus
1. Simon Peter was a fisherman from Galilee before he became Jesus’ number one guy. He was married with at least one child but its unclear whether any of them are still alive today – certainly not Peter himself though. He was the very first disciple of Jesus and is often considered the ‘rock’ on which the new church will be built on, he had a son named John who would become one of Jesus’s main apostles too!
Simon Peter’s death is not mentioned in the Bible, but according to tradition he was crucified upside down during the persecution of Christians by Nero.
2. Andrew was one of Simon’s brothers and also his best friend. The two fisherman took up fishing for Jesus together after they stopped working under their old master, but then they stopped doing that because it wasn’t profitable enough. They instead found work in local gardens digging vegetables – no doubt an enjoyable change for them both.
3. James was another of Simon’s brothers, who also became an apostle alongside him after seeing the risen lord himself! His younger brother John did too, but not before having visions that would later be recorded as the book of Revelation.
So how did James died? “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.”
4. Philip was a native of Bethsaida and like Andrew and Peter, he became another one of Jesus’s first apostles and disciples after seeing him perform miracles. He wasn’t married but his uncle was married to a woman named Nathaniel who would later become the second disciple called ‘disciple’. He also had a daughter which he lost in an earthquake – it was fearfully strong!
5. Matthew is largely recognised by historians as ‘Levi’ from Mark 2:14, or Levi bar Alphaeus from Luke 5:27. So why two names for one man? Well, it’s because we don’t know whether Levi was his given name or if it came from something that he did. Either way, Matthew wrote the first Gospel in Phoenician (an Aramaic dialect) and when it came to translating it into Greek for other nations, his name was used rather than something like ‘Levi bar Alphaeus’ which no one would understand.
6. Thomas is naturally known as Doubting Thomas – but there’s more to this man than just his skepticism! He was an influential figure during Jesus’s ministry so much so that when Jesus needed someone to carry on his work after he died, he chose Thomas because of his fierce determination and love for God. He also lost a dear friend named Lazarus whom Jesus brought back from death during a miracle.
7. Nathaniel is more commonly known as Bartholomew. However, Nathaniel is what you would call the ‘original form’ of Bartholomew’s name – much like how Bartholomew is derived from it! He was actually one of Jesus’s disciples before he became an apostle and after seeing him do his magic tricks, Nathaniel worked his way up to become one too.
8. Simon the Zealot (or the Canaanite) was another friend of long standing with Jesus because he had known him for almost three years before becoming a disciple. He was actually chosen for this position by Jesus himself after performing admirably in front of several miracles including the feeding of five thousand people which he did alongside six other apostles.
9. Judas Iscariot is easily the most infamous man of the 12 apostles – and for good reason! He betrayed Jesus to his enemies of the Sanhedrin during the last supper, leading them to arrest him. This act alone caused him to be mortally hated by both Christian and non-Christian communities alike; he lead the money lenders in their betrayal of Jesus too which is an act that no doubt turned more people against him.
10. Mathew is another one of Jesus’s disciples who was chosen as an apostle after performing admirably in front of several miracles including the feeding of five thousand people which he did alongside six other apostles.
11. James son of Alphaeus, or simply James ‘the Less’ because there were two other men called James at this time (sons of Zebedee and sons of Mary), was another one of Jesus’s disciples who was chosen as an apostle after performing admirably in front of several miracles including the feeding of five thousand people which he did alongside six other apostles.
12. Thaddeus is known for being the man who brought Christianity to Edessa – now modern day Turkey! A city that has come under attack throughout the centuries by many different enemies due to its strategic location between Asia and Europe.