The Gospel of Luke ~ Chapter 6:12-16 ~ God’s Calling and Election of the Disciples, Parallels Our Calling and Election to Salvation ~ The Apostles of Jesus Christ

Vol. 18, No. 32 – September 1, 2019

9 1 19 - Luke 6 vs 12-16 - God's Calling and Election of the Disciples, Parallels Our Calling and Election to Salvation - The Apostles of Jesus ChristThe Gospel of Luke
Chapter 6

We now start a new section in our outline of Luke, which will take us to the end of the Chapter.

IV. The Associates of His Ministry, Luke 6:12-49.

1. The call of the disciples, Luke 6:12-16.

2. The characteristics of disciples, (The Great Sermon), Luke 6:17-49.

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1. The call of the disciples, Luke 6:12-16.

In the other gospels, we have more details about Jesus’ calling / selection of the 12 Disciples / Apostles. We have already seen in Luke’s gospel, interactions with Simon-Peter, James and John, and Levi-Matthew. But now, Luke tells of the selection of all 12 as a one group / event.

Vs. 12

Luke 6:12, “It was at this time (in those days) that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.”

Once again, we see Jesus secluding Himself so that He could enter into intimate prayer with God the Father, Luke 5:16; 9:18, 28; 11:1-2; 22:41, 44; just as we should from time to time, especially if a big event is on the horizon, as we look to our Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. Jesus’ big event here is the selection of the twelve.

Spent the whole night,” is the Verb DIANUKTEREUO, διανυκτερεύω. It is from DIA, “through,” NUX, “night,” and TEREO, “watching, protecting, or guarding.” This is its only use in the NT. Therefore, we could translate this, “He guarded throughout the night.”

The thing He guarded throughout the night was His “prayers,” PROSEUCHE, “to God,” THEOS, meaning prayers to God the Father, just as we are to direct our prayers to the Father as stated in Luke 11:2-4; Mat 6:6, 9-13; John 15:16; 16:23.

Most of us cannot even pray consistently for 1 minute, never mind 1 whole night, lol. Yet, because of Jesus’ most personal relationship with the Father, His occupation with Him, He was able to focus His concentration on His prayers to the Father throughout the entire night, which was more important to Him and more refreshing to Him, I would add, than a good night’s sleep.

Vs. 13

Luke 6:13, “And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.”

He called,” is the verb PROSPHONEO, προσφωνέω that means, “speak to, address, or call to oneself.” In classical Greek it also was used for “to call by name.” It is used by Luke 6 times and once by Matthew mostly for addressing a crowd or an individual. With the later use mentioned above, it alludes to calling out the disciples individually, yet the former usages refer to addressing the crowd of disciples or drawing their attention to what He was to say to them. With the prefix PROS it means to speak to or address them face to face.

Disciples,” is the Plural of the Noun MATHETES, μαθητής that means, “learner, pupil, or disciple.” It has a broad sense in application to those learning from another, like John the Baptist or Jesus, and it sometimes is only used for the 12 Apostles, cf. vs. 17; Luke 5:33. Here, it is probably a larger group of believers learning from and following Jesus of which He selected 12 to be His apostles, given the use of the Preposition APO for “of them,” that can mean “from, away from, out of, etc.” So, these 12 where chosen from the larger group as Luke tells us. The other Gospels provide more detail on the one by one calling out of these men by Jesus, but Luke lumps them all together.

From that group of disciples, “of them or from them,” as noted above, Luke says he “chose twelve,” the Aorist Middle, Participle, Nominative, of the Verb EKLEGO, ἐκλέγο “choose, select, or elect,” with DODEKA “twelve.

Luke uses EKLEGO again when God the Father is heard in Luke 9:35, at the Transfiguration saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”, instead of “My beloved,” as in Mat 3:17 and Mark 9:7; cf. Luke 1:11.

John also uses this word regarding Jesus’ selection of the 12 in John 6:70, “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’”

John again uses it regarding the 12 in our Lord’s Upper Room Discourse, John 15:16-17, 19, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17This I command you, that you love one another…. 19if you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

Luke also used it in Acts for the selection of the 12, that was now 11 in Acts 1:2, “Until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.”

And in Acts 13:17; 15:7; 1 Cor 1:27-28; James 2:5, it is used for God’s Sovereign choice in raising up certain people or a group to salvation.

In our passage, we have a parallel to God’s “calling and election” of the believer, yet with different Greek Words. For the “calling of the believer” the words KALEO, KLESIS, KLETOS, etc., are typically used and for the “election” of the believer the Adjective EKLEKTOS, “chosen, select, elect,” is typically used. So, combined we see the “calling of God, the invitation of God, with the election, choosing, and appointing of God, to salvation or service; in the Apostle’s case, to service. Therefore, in our passage, because Judas Iscariot, an unbeliever, was included, we have a slight variation in the terms used for the Disciple’s / Apostle’s “Calling” and “Election.”

In its simplest definition, election refers to the intention, process, and result of making a choice. In regard to God and the Church, it is an act of the Divine will of God. Therefore, in relation to our salvation, election is the sovereign act of God in grace whereby He chose in Christ Jesus for salvation all those whom He foreknew would accept Him.

As such, our election is the prehistoric, pre-creative recognition by God of those who would believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior in time. Because of God’s omniscient foreknowledge of your faith in Christ Jesus, God in eternity past was able to elect you into His family and gave you salvation in time. Therefore, election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past before the universe existed and before mankind lived on the earth. It is the sovereign right of God over His creation.

God is under no obligation to elect anyone since we all were lost in Adam, (sin). Election is wholly of God’s grace apart from human merit.

Our works have no relation to our historical impact. 2 Tim 1:9, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”

In grace, God chose to provide salvation for man through Christ, and election is only applicable to those who are “in Christ.” In other words, God chose man on the merits of Christ, not on the merits of man. As such, God looked down the corridor of time and in His foreknowledge saw who would non-meritoriously accept Christ as their Savior and then elected them to salvation.

Under God’s Divine Decree, His Sovereign Plan for mankind, He elected those who would believe in Christ into His Family. The Biblical order of God’s Decree is as follows:

  1. Decree to create all Men.
  2. Decree to permit man to fall.
  3. Decree to provide salvation for men, unlimited atonement.
  4. Decree to elect those who believe and leave in just condemnation all who do not believe.
  5. Decree to apply salvation to those who believe.

Therefore, election emphasizes God’s free choice of individuals to salvation. As Paul uses the verb EKLEGO in the middle voice, he is indicating that God’s choice was made freely and for His own purposes, cf. 1 Cor 1:27-28.

In Eph 1:4, Paul uses EKLEGO regarding God’s sovereign election of every believer. This choosing occurred before the foundation of the world for you to live a godly life, Eph 1:4.

Also remember that election regarding salvation is a term used for the believer only and never for the unbeliever. Therefore, God does not “elect” the unbeliever to go to Hell. Their eternal condemnation is a result of their personal choice to reject God’s plan of salvation; Jesus Christ.

Election assures that those chosen will be saved, but it alone does not save them. People are saved through faith in the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross. They must learn about the death of Christ somehow in order to have content to their faith. Thus election, the death of Christ, testimony of His death, and personal faith are all necessary in the salvation of an individual. Election alone does not save.

Then we have the “calling of God.” Eph 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling (KLESIS), what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

The Call of God includes two concepts.

  1. The invitation of God the Father to the spiritually dead person to believe in Jesus Christ after the gospel has been communicated to and understood by the unbeliever.
  2. The election of the believer.

The invitation of God the Father to believe in Jesus Christ is the result of God’s common grace, executed by God the Holy Spirit. That is, once the unbeliever listens to the gospel and hears an accurate presentation, God the Holy Spirit makes that information lucid, perspicuous, comprehensible, and understandable. Under total depravity, we are unable to understand spiritual phenomena or do anything to have a relationship with God, yet God the Holy Spirit allows the unbeliever to comprehend and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As such, the invitation of God the Father comes to us through understanding the issue of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you have eternal life; reject Him and you have eternal condemnation, John 3:16-18. This constitutes the invitation of God the Father, which the scripture calls “the call” or “the calling of God,” Rom 1:6-7; 8:25-30.

The Calling of God is an invitation to believe  Jesus Christ for salvation. In efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit makes the faith one has in Jesus Christ effective for salvation. No works are added to faith. Efficacious grace follows the invitation for those who believe. We respond to the invitation by believing in Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us of various purposes for God’s calling or inviting men to believe in Christ.

  1. Fellowship with TLJC, 1 Cor 1:9.
  2. Entrance into God’s Kingdom, 1 Thes 2:12.
  3. Eternal life, 1 Tim 6:12.
  4. Suffering, 1 Peter 2:21.
  5. Blessing, 1 Peter 3:9.
  6. Eternal glory, 1 Peter 5:10.
  7. Liberty, Gal 5:13.
  8. Peace, 1 Cor 7:15.
  9. Brought out of darkness, 1 Peter 2:9.
  10. Eternal inheritance, Heb 9:15.

Gal 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Given God’s calling to salvation through Jesus Christ, our non-meritorious faith in Him, and subsequent election into the eternal family of God, (the Royal Family of God, 1 Peter 2:9), we should live our lives loving God by developing our relationship with Him, honoring Him, and serving Him, daily; by which, He has given us His Holy Spirit to accomplish, Eph 4:1-7; Col 3:12; 2 Peter 1:10.

The calling and election in our passage is related to the “12 Disciples named Apostles.” “Named them,” is the Verb ONOMAZO, “name, entitle, call, or mention,” and “as apostles,” is the Noun APOSTOLOS, ἀπόστολος, “apostle or messenger,” and literally means, “one who is sent.” “Its background and origin are found in the maritime language. It occurs in connection with sea voyages and military expeditions; later it designated the fleet itself. From this the term came to signify a group of men who were sent on a special task, for example, a group of settlers. Furthermore, HO APOSTOLOS signified the leader and commander of the expedition.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary).

Even though APOSTOLOS is a general term, it became a unique office that was also a unique spiritual gift, given by God, Eph 4:11, to the early Church. Since the completion of the Canon of Scriptures, it is no longer a legitimate spiritual gift. This is the first time Luke uses the term and it stands for the ministry and office of Apostle as instituted by Jesus that the following 12 men held during Jesus’ ministry on earth.

Twelve is the number of Perfect Government in the Bible, like the 12 Tribes of Israel, as this would be the perfect administration of God’s announcement of the Kingdom of Heaven and the building of the Church, Eph 2:20, which foundation will be stamped for all of eternity in the New Jerusalem, Rev 21:14.

Eph 2:20, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.”

Rev 21:14, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

The qualification for being an Apostle included:

a. Seeing the Lord and being an eyewitness to His resurrection, Acts 1:2, 22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-9.

b. Being invested with miraculous sign-gifts, Acts 5:15-16; Heb 2:3-4.

c. Being chosen by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, Mat 10:1-2; Acts 1:2; Eph 4:11.

The term “Apostle” was used for the original twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, including Judas Iscariot. The list of the original 12 disciples is found in Mat 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16; and the 11 excluding Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:13-14.

Matthew’s Order, Mat 10:2-4

Simon Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite (Zealot), Judas Iscariot.

Mark’s Order, Mark 3:16-19

Simon Peter, James the son of Zebedee, John the brother of James, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite (Zealot), Judas Iscariot.

The Order in Acts 1:13, Acts also lists the Apostles with the exclusion of Judas Iscariot as follows: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Canaanite (Zealot), Judas son of James (Thaddaeus). Judas Iscariot was dead / missing and not included in this list. This is a picture of our Lord in the tomb / in Hades.

During the ministry of Jesus here on earth, these were the apostles to Israel, to preach, along with Jesus, that the Kingdom of Heaven had come. We also note that the Bible distinguishes between the apostles to Israel, the original 12, and the apostles to the Church, that includes the original 11 plus Paul who replaced Judas Iscariot according to 1 Cor 15:7‑10.

Apostles received direct revelation from God and communicated it to the Church prior to the completed Canon of Scripture. All revelation today is through the Word. All writers of the NT were either apostles or someone closely associated with an apostle, (e.g., Mark – Peter, Luke – Paul, James and Jude – all and Jesus’ ½ brothers). Once the Canon of Scripture was complete, (writing of Revelation), the gift of apostleship was withdrawn. The Canon of the NT became the basis and absolute criterion for the Christian way of life. In addition, the last appearance our Lord made to man was to Paul on the Damascus road, 1 Cor 9:1; Acts 9:1-31. As such, Paul saw Him “last of all” 1 Cor 15:8; the final eyewitness, and therefore he became the last great apostle of the Apostolic Age.

Vs. 14-16

Here, we have Luke’s order of the apostles. Matthew and Mark give a slightly different order, as does Luke in the book of Acts. They are as follows:

Luke 6:14-16, “Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”

An interesting thought is that most of these men might have been pairs of brothers. We know that Peter and Andrew were as stated in Luke’s text, as well as James and John as previously stated in Luke 5:10, and in Mat 17:1; Mark 5:37; 10:35, yet we do not know for sure about the others. In Luke’s writing, and the English translations, we see an interesting use of the Conjunction KAI, “and,” along with the English use of semicolons, which may indicate that others were brothers as well. For example, Philip and Bartholomew, or Matthew and Thomas. After Thomas the definition of each man is specific, i.e., James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Further, as we look at Matthews’s list, he notes James, the brother of John as

we know, to be the son of Zebedee, yet John is just listed without the same definition. Therefore, with that same logic, James the son of Alphaeus may be the brother of Simon the Zealot. Or in Matthew and Mark’s list James the son of Alphaeus may be the brother of Thaddaeus, (a.k.a., Judas the son of James). In addition, Thomas, whose name means “twin,” is usually mentioned along with Matthew, who was the son of Alphaeus, Mark 2:14, and that these two are followed by James (the Lesser), who was also the son of Alphaeus, Mark 3:18. From that it has been supposed that these three, Matthew, Thomas, and James, were brothers, but no proof of this can be found. So, we just do not know for sure, but it is interesting that the Lord selected several pairs of brothers.

The Apostles in the order of Luke 6:14-16:

Simon Peter, brother of Andrew. Simon = “hearing,” Peter = “Rock / Stone.”

He was also known by his Aramaic form of the Greek word for “rock,” PETROS, which is Cephas, John 1:42; cf. 1 Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal 1:18; 2:9, 11, 14.

Peter was the son of Jonas, Jonah, or John, Mat 16:17; John 1:42; 21:15-16, and was the older brother of Andrew. His mother is not named in Scripture, but traditionally known as Joanna. He was a native of Bethsaida, believed to be on the northwestern coast of the Sea of Galilee, where Philip was also from, John 1:44. Peter and his brother Andrew had a fishing business centered in Capernaum, Mat 4:18; Mark 1:16, 21, 29, on the Sea of Galilee, and were partners of James and John, Luke 5:10. Peter was married, Mark 1:29-31; 1 Cor 9:5, and maintained a residence in Capernaum, Mark 1:21, 29. Jesus healed his mother-in-law, who perhaps was living with Peter, Luke 4:38-39. It is possible that his home became Jesus’ headquarters in Galilee, Mat 8:14; Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1. 1 Cor 9:5, says that Peter, along with the other married apostles, often took his wife with him on his missionary journeys. Later tradition speaks of his children (Clement of Alexandria’s Stromateis 2.6.52) and says that Peter was present at the martyrdom of his wife, crying out to her by name, “Oh you, Remember the Lord,” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 3.30.2).

First influenced by John the Baptist, the NT tells us more about Peter than any other Apostle with the exception of Paul. He had a fiery personality and was a pioneer among the twelve and the early church, breaking ground that the church would later follow. Peter is credited with being a leader of the twelve disciples whom Jesus called. His name always occurs first in the lists of disciples, Mat 10:2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14. Peter had a commitment to serve as a bridge in the early church between the Jews and Gentile, doing more than any other to hold together the diverse strands of primitive Christianity. Peter is said to have been martyred in Rome, being crucified upside down.

Andrew – A Strong Man, manly.

He is the younger brother of Simon Peter, Mat 4:18; 10:2; John 1:40. He is a native of the city of Bethsaida in Galilee, John 1:44, the son of Jonah-John, John 21:15. Little is known about Andrew, though he was the first to identify the Christ, and He then brought his brother Simon to the Lord, telling him that he had “found the Messiah,” John 1:41-51. He with Peter, James, and John were part of the “confidential group” of Jesus, Mark 13:3-4. He brings others to Christ three times, 1) Peter; 2) the boy with the loaves and fish, John 6:8-9; and 3) certain Greeks, John 12:20-22. He is mentioned for the last time as one of those who continued at Jerusalem in the “Upper Room” after the ascension, Acts 1:13. Scripture relates nothing of him beyond these scattered notices. He is said to have been crucified on a saltire cross at Edhessa or the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea.

James the son of Zebedee, brother of John.

James is the English translation of the Greek name IAKOBOS from IAKOB or Jacob, which means supplanter or supplants, undermines, or the heel = Satan, sin. Zebedee = My Gift or God has bestowed, endowment of Jehovah. He is the older brother of John, Mark 5:37, one of the two sons of Zebedee, Mat 4:21; Mark 1:19; Luke 5:10. He is also known as “John the greater.” Their mother is Salome, who is most likely the sister of our Lord’s mother Mary, compare Mat 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1; John 19:25. That would make James and John first cousins of our Lord Jesus, and also related to the family of John the Baptist. He is a native of Bethsaida.

He is always mentioned with his brother John and mentioned first, probably for being the elder, except in Luke 9:28. As noted previously, James and his brother were fishermen and partners with Simon and Andrew by trade, Mark 1:20; Luke 5:10. His father was apparently a man of some wealth since he owned a fishing ship and hired servants, compare Mark 1:20; Luke 5:3; John 19:27, as well as the accounts of his mother contributing consistently financially to the ministry of our Lord, Mark 15:41; 16:1; Luke 8:3.

It seems he was impetuous, hotheaded, and sometimes fanatic in nature that may have led to James’ and John’s surname “Sons of Thunder,” Mark 3:17, which also means, “strength, unexpectedness, and zeal, approaching to methods of violence.” The call to James to follow Christ, Mat 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11, was given by Jesus as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee. James often took care of our Lord’s daily needs, Mat 27:56; Mark 15:40-41. He with his brother and Peter, where part of the “inner circle,” and seemed to be especially fitted to live in close intimacy with the Lord and were with Him on several interesting occasions. As mentioned previously, they alone were present at:

1) The transfiguration, Mat 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28.

2) The raising of Jairus’s daughter, Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51.

3) The Garden of Gethsemane during our Lord’s agony, Mat 26:37; Mark 14:33.

4) With Andrew they listened to the Lord’s private discourse on the fall of Jerusalem, Mark 13:3.

He was also present when the risen Jesus appeared for the 3rd time to the disciples and the miraculous catch of fish made at the Sea of Tiberias (a.k.a. Galilee), John 21:1-14.

He and John joined in the request made to Jesus by their mother to be seated on Jesus’ right and left, Mat 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45.

In Luke 9:52-54, the brothers desired to punish the inhabitants of a village in Samaria. They asked, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” This may be why they were called by our Lord in Mark 3:17, “Boanerges” (bo-an-erg-es’), “Sons of Thunder.” Our Lord, “turned, and rebuked them”, Luke 9:55. The text of vs. 55b and vs. 56a, our Lord’s rebuke, is not in the earliest manuscripts.

After the crucifixion, we do not have any mention of James for 14 years until his martyrdom. He was the first of the Apostles to be martyred and the only one mentioned in the NT, being slain with a sword at the command of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea in A.D. 42-44 (most thinking 44), Acts 12:1-2.

John – The grace or mercy of the Lord; Jehovah or Yahweh is or has been gracious.

John is the younger brother of James “the Greater,” Mat 10:2; Mark 3:17; 10:35. John was a zealous and loyal follower of Jesus. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved, yet he had zeal and intensity of character. He is the other “son of thunder.” John was highly esteemed among the apostles and he stood especially close to Jesus. He is also among the “inner three,” Peter, James, and John, who were with Jesus on special occasions in the Synoptic Gospels: 1) The raising of Jairus’ daughter, Mark 5:37; 2) The Transfiguration, Mark 9:2; 3) The Garden of Gethsemane, Mark 14:32-33.

Luke 22:8, identifies Peter and John as the two disciples who were sent to prepare the Passover meal for Jesus and the disciples. He reclined with Jesus during the Last Supper, John 13:23-26, and at the urging of Peter asked who the betrayer was. He and Peter followed Jesus at the betrayal, while the others ran away, John 18:15-28. It is thought that only John of the all the apostles stood at the Cross, and with Jesus’ mother whom he was charged with her care by our Lord, John 19:25-27. Mary Magdalene first conveys the resurrection of our Lord to him and Peter, John 20:2. He and Peter, were the first to go see of Mary’s account, where he ran to the empty tomb, John 20:2-10. He won the race, but stood outside the tomb until Peter came. After the resurrection, he and Peter return to the Sea of Galilee and recognized the risen Lord after the great catch of fish, John 21:1, 7.

After Jesus’ ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the Church. After the list of Apostles, John appears three times in the Book of Acts, and each time he is with Peter, Acts 1:13; 3:1-11; 4:13, 20; 8:14. He is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple, Acts 3:1-11; he is also thrown into prison with Peter, Acts 4:3. After Peter healed a man, they were arrested, imprisoned, and then released, Acts 4:13-20. He also went with Peter to visit the newly converted in Samaria, Acts 8:14. He remained in Jerusalem some 12 years, Acts 15:6; Gal 2:9. He is the author of the Gospel and three epistles with His name, and the book of Revelation that He wrote while in exile on the Island of Patmos. He most likely taught in Ephesus and the other cities of the seven letters to seven churches in Revelation 2-3. He is said to be the only apostle who escaped a violent death.

Philip – Philippos which means, “fond or lover of horses,” meaning a warrior.

Like the first four mentioned, he was also from Bethsaida in Galilee, John 1:44; 12:21, but we have no information of his family. According to John’s Gospel, he was the fourth of the disciples to attach himself to Jesus (after Andrew, John, and Peter) and first who our Lord directly called, John 1:43. He then told Bartholomew, (a.k.a., Nathanael), about the Messiah in John 1:45-47. He is noted in four events in John’s Gospel, John 1:45-51; 6:1-14; 12:21-22; 14:8-9. In three of these events we see Philip personifying, “seeing is believing,” as tested by our Lord at the feeding of 5,000.

a) His response to Nathanael in leading him to the Messiah, “come and see.”

b) The Greeks who wanted to “see” Jesus came to Philip.

c) Philip’s Upper Room questioning “show us the Father.”

All three demonstrate his Jewish propensity of desiring visible proof, Mat 12:38; John 2:18; 1 Cor 1:22.

Philip the Apostle was a great teacher in Asia in the area of Phrygia with Hierapolis as the main place of his work along with Bartholomew, whom he is typically mentioned with. He is said to have also taught in Greece, Western Europe, (the Gauls—doubtful), and Parthia (Iran/Afghanistan—probable).

Bartholomew – Son of a plowman (the curse on Adam to till the ground).

Bartholomew is from Hebrew origins “Bar Talmay,” meaning “son of Tolmai.” Tolmai means, “a plowman,” so literally it would be “son of a plowman.” In the first three gospels, Mat 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14, Bartholomew is used in the list of twelve, as it is in Acts 1:13, whereas Nathanael is used for him in John’s Gospel. Bartholomew (Bar-Tolmai) is his surname and Nathanael was his proper name, just as Simon was called Bar-Jona. Nathanael is Greek from the Hebrew (Nathan – el) that means, “given/gift of God” or “God has given.”

In the Synoptic gospels, Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, as noted above, while Nathanael is never used or mentioned. In John’s gospel, Philip and Nathanael are similarly mentioned together, but nothing is said of Bartholomew because they are one and the same person.

He was born in Cana of Galilee, John 21:2, the place of our Lord’s first miracle, John 2:1-11. There is an interesting initial encounter between Jesus and Bartholomew that John records in John 1:43-50. In that, Jesus called him, “an Israelite indeed, without any deceit,” John 1:47. Yet, he too, as an Israelite, excelled when he received a sign from our Lord, i.e., “I saw you under the fig tree.” Our Lord also made a fascinating promise of the blessings to him that he would enjoy here on earth, vs. 51.

Bartholomew was one of seven of the disciples to whom the Lord appeared after the resurrection at the Sea of Galilee / Tiberius, John 21:2. He was also a witness of the ascension, and returned with the other apostles to Jerusalem, Acts 1:4, 12-13. Yet, He is one of the Apostles of whom no word is reported nor any individual action recorded in the NT.

Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (5.10.3) states that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he preached and left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia. Along with the Apostle Jude, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century. Thus, both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

It is said that he was at length cruelly beaten (maybe flayed) and then crucified by the impatient idolaters. Michelangelo’s, “The Last Judgement,” (Sistine Chapel), Bartholomew is holding the knife of his martyrdom and his flayed skin. The face of the skin is Michelangelo’s.

Matthew, the Tax collector – The gift of Yahweh / Jehovah or Gift of God.

He is also know by Levi, “joined, adhere,” in the Gospels, as we have previously noted in Luke’s Gospel. Mark calls him “the son of Alphaeus,” Mark 2:14. Alphaeus = “changing.” It is not known whether his father was the same as the Alphaeus named as the father of James the Lesser, Mat 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Act 1:13. It is possible that Matthew was the brother of James the Lesser, but not improbable, since this fact would most likely have been mentioned in Scripture, as it is in the cases of Peter and Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, and James and John.

Matthew’s residence was at Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee, and he is infamously known as a publican/tax collector in the territory of Herod Antipas, which we noted previously in Luke’s Gospel. This caused Jews to hate him, as they considered the profession to be as that of sinners; the lowest of people. Yet, he was most likely wealthy, cf. Luke 5:29.

Aside from being listed with the other Apostles, Matthew is only mentioned in the record of his calling by Christ, Mat 9:9; Mark 2:13-14; Luke 5:27. John never mentions him.

As a result of his acceptance of Christ, many other tax collectors and “sinners” came to hear Jesus, Luke 15:1, 7:34; Mat 11:19. He is the author of the Gospel of his name, written around 60 AD in Hebrew, his native tongue. It emphasizes Jesus’ Kingship, written for the Jews. 

Thomas – “Double or twin,” (i.e., like Adam), from the Hebrew TAOM or Aramaic TOMA.

He was also called Didymus, his Greek surname, with the same meaning, John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2. Some believe that Thomas was born in Antioch, but Galilee is also considered his native home, like most of the other apostles, John 21:2. Because of his name meaning, “twin,” there is much confusion regarding his potential siblings and actual identity. Because he is mentioned with Matthew, the son of Alphaeus, it is thought that they are brothers or twins, and that James the son of Alphaeus is another brother. None of this is known from the Bible.

From the three main accounts of Thomas in John’s Gospel, we see something of his personality. The others do not mention him other than the listings.

a. His willingness to die with the Lord, John 11:16.

b. His longing to remain with the Lord, John 14:5.

c. His hesitation to believe that the Lord had risen, John 20:24-29.

After that we only hear of Thomas twice more, once on the Sea of Galilee, with six other disciples post resurrection in witness of the risen Lord, John 21:2, and finally in the assembly of the apostles after the ascension, Acts 1:13-14.

Thomas is infamously known for his act of doubt, John 20:24-29, rather than for his courage as seen in John 11:16. From this incident came the title of “Doubting Thomas.” Yet, from that incident we have the wonderful doctrine proclaimed by our Lord in John 20:29, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

According to tradition, the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares was proselytized by Thomas, who continued on to southern India. Marco Polo in 1292 traveled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Quilon (Kollam) on the western Malabar Coast of India, where he met Syrian Christians and recorded their legends of Thomas. In addition, various Eastern Churches claim that Thomas personally brought Christianity to China and Japan in AD 64 and 70 respectively.

The Gospel of Thomas (a.k.a. the “sayings”), next to the Protevangelium, is the oldest and the most widely spread of the apocryphal gospels. It was used by a Gnostic sect of the Nachashenes in the middle of the 2nd century. It was Docetic, (the belief that Jesus was not really true humanity and that the cross was just an optical illusion), in regards to the miracles recorded in it.

His martyrdom is said to have been occasioned by a lance. Thomas called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

#19-087 & 19-088 & 19-089

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.

Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.

So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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