The Acts of the apostles. Introduction Schedule, outline, blog, etc can be found on the church website at http://nowthenalliance.org/acts_class Expectations: Read acts, use the website, do activities, and reflect.
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Jude - (Paul)
was a brother of Peter and a follower of John the Baptist. Like Peter he was a fisherman, but he was more of a “behind the scenes” type of guy. He was the first apostle chosen by Jesus - probably because of his zeal in introducing others to Jesus. He was crucified on an “X’ shaped cross on Nov 30 of AD 69 after two days of suffering - and preaching Jesus.
also known as Nathanael meaning the guileless one. He was from Cana - where Jesus did His first miracle - and a friend of Philip. He was knowledgeable in the old testament and a seeker of divine truth (MacArthur). Jesus spoke of his charcter in John 1:47, “behold … in whom there is no deceit.” He was flayed alive on August 24th of AD 62. Sincerity was Bart’s rule.
was the older brother of John, one of the sons of Zebedee that Jesus named, “sons of Thunder”, because of his passion, fervor and intensity. James was a witness to Spain and was beheaded by King Agrippa in AD 42 - the first of the apostles to be martyred. (Jesus told him that he would drink of the same cup as Himself.)
was the brother of Matthew and likely a tax collector. The term “Less” most likely referred to this James’ physical size and not in any way to his status as an apostle. Not a lot is known about this James other than his parent’s names (Alphaeus and Mary). Paul tells us that he was a witness at the resurrection and a pillar of church. He was martyred by being sawed in half.
is given a (inaccurate) feminine look in art which is probably intended to reflect his strength of emulating Jesus’ love. The younger brother of James, he was the other “Son of Thunder”, and shared his brother’s passion for truth and boldness. He was the author of much of the new testament, balancing love & truth, ambition & humility. He died at nearly 100 years old in AD 97 after surviving Patmos and being boiled in oil.
also known as Judas Thaddaeus, was a missionary to Turkey, Asia, and Samaria. Most known for his question to Jesus, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:21-22). A demon-stration of his tender-hearted humility. Jesus response: “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word, and God will love him…” Jude, and his partner Simon, were martyred by a mob.
was a brother of James the Less and a tax collector (despised) prior to his calling by Jesus. When called, he did not hesitate, and immediately got up and followed Jesus - inviting Him to his house for a feast. It was likely Matthew’s willingness to walk away from a lucrative career and give his all for Christ that made him a worthy apostle & missionary to Jews & Iran.
a fisherman, natural leader, he was eager, aggressive, bold, and out-spoken - perhaps the lead apostle. He was inquisitive, took initiative, and got things done. When Jesus asked him, “who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Sadly, he also denied Christ - three times. Peter was crucified upside-down.
was the apostles “bean counter”; a practical, facts-and-figures type of guy. When Jesus asked him how they would feed the 5000, he replied that he only had a few bucks - wrong answer. He was a pragmatist and a cynic rather than a visionary. How-ever, his reply to Jesus calling was “we have found Him” (the Messiah). He was a seeker, and a doer. Like Peter, he was crucified upside-down.
Although he is mostly known for being a doubter, he was truly a man of courage, faith, & intellect. He was the one that wanted to go with Jesus to heal Lazarus, knowing full well that they (the apostles), might be killed right along with Jesus. He was a missionary to India and the Orient, and was speared to death on July 3rd of AD 72.
the Zealot (think terrorist), was at the other end of the political spectrum from Matthew. He had a fierce loyalty to Jesus and a fiery devotion and enthusiasm for the Truth. He became the missionary to the north - as far as the British Isles, and the south - to Africa. Most accounts have him martyred in Iran around AD 70.
was the 13th apostle, chosen (by lots) to replace Judas after his death. Not a lot is known about Matthias although some believe that Peter acted too quickly and that Paul should have been the true 13th apostle. He was known as a vocal opponent of pleasure & material goods. He was reportedly stoned to death by Jews around AD 51.
Iscariot will always be remembered as the apostle who betrayed Jesus. Why was he chosen? Why did he betray Jesus? Perhaps he was a Zealot and became unhappy with Jesus true mission. Perhaps it was Satan. Perhaps he just made the biggest mistake of his life - a warning to us. Remorseful, he committed suicide shortly after Jesus was crucified.
was far more documented in word and deed. Certainly he was a far more interesting study than nearly any other apostle. Why wasn’t he selected as one of the twelve? What lessons can we learn from Paul’s non-selection?