Would you be willing?
Many have sacrificed their lives for something they believed in. Yet who would be willing to die for a cause they knew was a fraud?
The apostles: 12 men who were inseparable from Jesus. How did they come to follow Him and how did they die?
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus came to John the Baptist and requested to be baptized. John immediately realized that He was the promised Messiah and after the baptism, there was a public service announcement, from God the Father;
Matthew 3:16-17…the heavens were opened, and…the Spirit of God descended…on Jesus and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
The Father’s voice from heaven signaled “game on” and the public ministry of Jesus was launched!
Now as for Jesus choosing 12 apostles, that’s exactly what he did. He just…chose ‘em!
Matthew 4:18-22 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
That’s two down, ten to go and the others came in much the same way. In fact, in John 15:16, Jesus said not just to His 12 apostles but also to his many disciples, “You did not choose Me but I chose you…” That’s another message for another day, but for now, Jesus hand-picked His apostles and they immediately jumped on board.
You see it
The apostles and disciples would closely witness the teachings, miracles and many acts of mercy by Jesus. Later, those accounts would be committed to writing and would help to form the New Testament. But after three years, the public ministry of Jesus came to an abrupt end in AD 33 when He was nailed to a cross. Immediately after his death, His apostles were, to quote Led Zeppelin, “dazed and confused.” They hid behind locked doors in fear.
But on the third day, the resurrected Jesus walked right through the deadbolt and right into their midst;
John 20:19b-20“…peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”
The key word in that passage is …SAW! They saw the resurrected Jesus. Then they saw him again and again. So did more than 500 other witnesses, in order to validate His claim that He was the Savior of the World.
Soon after Jesus ascended to heaven, the ministry that He started would indeed continue, through His apostles and disciples, even down to this present day, through regular people like you and me.
Willing to die…for the Truth
While some people in the world today are persecuted for being Christians, back then they ALL were persecuted, even to the point of death if they were unwilling to denounce their faith. But they would not as they were willing to die, for the truth.
Now, thanks to a post from About-Jesus.org, here’s a condensed version of how the Apostles died as they went about spreading the good news about Jesus in various parts of the world:
Bartholomew was beheaded
James, the son of Alphaeus, was stoned to death
Thomas was speared, as was Matthew and James the son of Zebedee
Andrew, Philip, Jude and Simon were crucified
Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, since he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same way as Jesus
John is the only one who died of old age around AD 95, having been exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the book of Revelation
And finally Paul, the one who persecuted and killed Christians until Jesus called Him…he effectively became the twelfth apostle and in the end, was beheaded.
So the apostles died, but not for a lie. They ANNOUNCED that Jesus was risen and they would not DENOUNCE their faith in order to have their lives spared!
Would you die for something you knew to be true? You very well might, but you would NOT die for a fake or for a fraud. The actions of the Apostles are a powerful witness that Jesus WAS raised from the dead and IS Savior of the world.
So believe this. Because His apostles did not die for a lie, nor am I living for one.
Phil Henry is a financial adviser and also an ordained minister who founded and produces short videos and blogs at Phil Henry Power Gospel.