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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                      The Twelve Apostles (10:1-4)


1. Upon what is your faith in Jesus Christ based?
   a. His miracles?
   b. His teachings?
   c. His resurrection from the dead?

2. In reality, our faith is based upon the words of the apostles of
   Jesus Christ...
   a. Apart from their gospels and letters, we know virtually nothing
      about Him
   b. They are the ones who tell us about His life, miracles, and

3. Jesus acknowledged that our faith in Him would depend upon their 
   a. As indicated in His prayer for us - Jn 17:20
   b. The Lord expected us to believe in Him through their word

4. Who are these men upon which our faith is based?
   a. What does the Bible and history tell us about them?
   b. Are they credible witnesses that we should believe?
   c. What is their role in the church of our Lord?

5. In Mt 10:1-4, we find the names of the twelve apostles...
   a. Matthew lists their names as they were sent on "The Limited
      Commission" - Mt 10:5-7
   b. While Mark and Luke records their names when they were actually
      appointed as apostles - cf. Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6:13-16
[In this lesson I wish to focus our attention on "The Twelve Apostles",
upon whom our faith is based, for whom we should be so grateful.  Let's
start by taking a closer look at...]


      1. Simon, who is called Peter
         a. Introduced to Jesus by his brother, Andrew - Jn 1:40-41
         b. Given the name Cephas (Peter) by Jesus - Jn 1:42
         c. A fisherman, called to follow Jesus along with Andrew 
            - Mt 4:18-20
         d. Known for being impetuous; for example:
            1) When Jesus walked on the sea - Mt 14:25-29
            2) When Jesus foretold His death and resurrection - Mt 16:
            3) When Jesus foretold of some who would stumble - Mt 26:
            4) When Jesus was arrested in the garden - Jn 18:10-11
         e. Known for his failures; for example:
            1) Doubting when walking to Jesus on the sea - Mt 14:30-31
            2) Denying the Lord three times - Mt 26:69-75
            3) Leading himself and others into hypocrisy - Ga 2:11-13
         f. But eventually living up to meaning of his given name (a 
            1) Restored by Jesus after His resurrection - Jn 21:15-19
            2) Directing the selection to replace Judas Iscariot - Ac
            3) Preaching the first gospel sermon on the day of
               Pentecost - Ac 2:14-41
            4) Instrumental in the church at Jerusalem during its early
               years - Ac 3-6; cf. Ga 1:18; 2:1-10
            5) The first to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles - Ac
               10-11; 15:6-11
      2. Andrew, brother of Simon
         a. A disciple of John the Baptist, he was one of Jesus' first
            disciples - Jn 1:35-40
         b. He led his brother Simon (Peter) to Jesus - Jn 1:41-42
         c. A fisherman, called to follow Jesus along with Simon - Mt
         d. He introduced some Greeks to Jesus - Jn 12:20-22
      3. James the son of Zebedee
         a. Brother of John - Mt 10:2
         b. A fisherman, called to follow Jesus along with John - Mt 4:
         c. Perhaps because of fiery temperment (evidenced in Lk 9:
            52-54), he and his brother were called "Sons of Thunder"
            by Jesus - Mk 3:17
         d. While seeking glory, they were promised suffering - Mk 10:
         e. Indeed, James was the first of the apostles to be killed 
            - Ac 12:1-2
      4. John, brother of James
         a. Called along with his brother, James - Mt 4:21-22
         b. Along with brother and father, they were partners with 
            Peter - Lk 5:10
         c. Like his brother, he appeared quick to judge others - cf. 
            Lk 9:49,54
         d. But he became "the beloved disciple whom Jesus loved"
            1) Who sat next to Jesus during the Last Supper - Jn 13:23
            2) Who was given charge to care for Jesus' mother - Jn 19:
            3) Who was among the first to see the empty tomb - Jn 20:
            4) Who recognized Jesus following the resurrection - Jn 21:
            5) Who made a veiled reference to himself as the author of
               the Gospel of John - Jn 21:20-24
      -- Of these four, Peter, James and John became "the inner circle"
         of Jesus' disciples.  These three were present when Jesus 
         raised Jairus' daughter (Mk 5:37), witnessed the 
         transfiguration (Mt 17:1), and were summoned by Christ for 
         support during His agony in Gethsemane (Mt 26:36-37).

      5. Philip
         a. Called by Jesus, the day after He met Peter and Andrew - Jn
         b. From Bethsaida, home of Peter and Andrew - Jn 1:44
         c. He led Nathaniel to Jesus - Jn 1:45-46
         d. He with Andrew brought the inquiring Greeks to Jesus - Jn 
         e. He was the one who asked Jesus, "Show us the Father" - Jn 
      6. Bartholomew
         a. He is traditionally considered to be Nathanael, because he
            is connected to Philip in the lists of the apostles in the
            Gospels - Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16
         b. If so, then he was introduced to Jesus by Philip - Jn 1:
         c. And was praised by Jesus as having no guile - Jn 1:47-51
         d. He lived in Cana, and saw Jesus after the resurrection - Jn
      7. Thomas
         a. He was also called The Twin (Didymus) - Jn 20:24
         b. At one point he was willing to die for Jesus - Jn 11:16
         c. After the resurrection, he required empirical evidence
            before he would believe that Jesus was alive - Jn 20:24-25
         d. A week later, such evidence was provided - Jn 20:26-28
      8. Matthew the tax collector
         a. Also known as Levi - Mt 9:9; Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27
         b. Called the son of Alphaeus, leading some to think he was
            related to James the son of Alphaeus - Mk 2:14; 10:3
         c. Called to follow Jesus from his tax office, and later gave
            a feast at his home in honor of Jesus - Mt 9:9-13
      9. James the son of Alphaeus
         a. He may be "James the Less", son of Mary (who witnessed 
            Jesus' death, sought to prepare Him for burial, and found
            the tomb empty) - Mk 15:40; 16:1
         b. Other than in the lists of apostles, he is not mentioned
            elsewhere in Scripture
     10. Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus
         a. Evidently the same as "Judas, not Iscariot" (Jn 14:22) and
            "Judas, brother of James" - Lk 6:16; Ac 1:13
         b. He is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture
     11. Simon the Cananite (Cananaean)
         a. Also called "the Zealot" - Lk 6:15; Ac 1:13
         b. As such he had been a member of a radical party seeking to
            destroy Roman rule
     12. Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot the betrayer
         a. Judas, of course, would later betray Jesus and hang himself
            - Mt 26:14-16,47-50; 27:3-10
         b. In his place, Matthias was chosen - Ac 1:15-26
         c. He had evidently been with Jesus from His baptism until His
            ascension - cf. Ac 1:21-22

[What an amazing and diverse collection of men upon which to trust the
continuation of His mission!  Men with personal failings, from opposite
ends of the political spectrum.  Yet Jesus took this band of men, 
worked with them for three years, and through them turned the world
upside down! Let's now consider what is revealed in Scripture about...]


      1. Jesus had shown Himself alive through various proofs - Ac 1:
      2. Jesus commissioned them to testify concerning Him - Ac 1:8
      3. Peter explained that the apostles were to be witnesses for the
         resurrection - Ac 1:21-22
      4. Thus they testified again and again - Ac 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:
         30-32; 10:39-41; 13:29-31
      -- The apostles served the important role of providing historical
         and legal proof that Jesus arose from the dead, so that our
         faith in Him might rest on a solid basis!

      1. Jesus did not reveal all during His earthly ministry - Jn 16:
      2. The Holy Spirit would reveal all the truth, working through
         the apostles - Jn 16:13-14; cf. 14:25-26
      3. Thus the apostles' doctrine became the authority for the 
         church, as commissioned by Jesus - Mt 28:20; Ac 2:42
      4. This doctrine they preserved in their writings - e.g., 2Pe 3:
      -- Through His apostles, Jesus continues to instruct His church
         as we continue stedfastly in their teachings!

      1. The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles, with
         Christ as the corner-stone - Ep 2:19-22
         a. Their eyewitness testimony is the basis of our faith
         b. Their teaching is basis of our doctrine and practice
      2. Their names are even depicted as written on the foundation for
         the New Jerusalem, which is the Lamb's bride (the church) 
         - Re 21:9-10,14

[To such a small and simple group of men Jesus entrusted the future of
His church!  Was His trust well-founded?  Well, consider what we know
from Scripture and tradition concerning...]


      1. They were commanded to make disciples of all the nations - Mt 
         a. We read of the early work of the apostles in Jerusalem, 
            Judea and Samaria in the book of Acts
         b. We can also read Peter's letters to those througout Asia
            Minor (Turkey)
      2. From sources outside the Bible, we are told:
         a. Peter is thought to have travelled to Rome, and possibly
            Babylon - cf. 1Pe 5:13
         b. Andrew is said to have preached in Bithynia, Scythia,
            Greece, and among the Parthians
         c. James the brother of John is said to have preached in
            India and Spain before he was beheaded by Herod
         d. John, brother of James, spent time in Patmos, later in
            Ephesus, and is thought by some to have established the
            churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia,
            Laodicea, and Thyatira
         e. Philip ministered in Phrygia
         f. Bartholomew is said to have taken the gospel of Matthew
            to India
         g. Thomas is also thought to have travelled to India
         h. Matthew is said to have preached 15 years in Palestine,
            and then went to Ethiopia, Macedonia, Syria, Persia,
            Parthia and Medea
         i. James the son of Alphaeus - little is known of any work
            outside Jerusalem
         j. Thaddaeus is said to preached in Syria and Edessa
         k. Simon the Zealot is said to have preached the gospel in
            Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain
         l. Matthias is thought to have gone to Damascus
         -- While much of the above is not known for sure, it does seem
            to coincide with Paul's statements concerning the spread of
            the gospel - Ro 10:14-18; Col 1:23

      1. The apostles suffered much for the Lord
         a. As He warned them - Jn 15:18-20
         b. As Paul described in 1Co 4:9-13
      2. But they did more than suffer discomfort, in most cases they
         gave their lives
         a. Peter - crucified upside down in Rome
         b. Andrew - imprisoned in Greece, then crucified on a cross,
            the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground
            (from which came the term, St. Andrew's Cross)
         c. James - beheaded by Herod - Ac 12:1-2
         d. John - the only apostle thought to avoid a violent death
         e. Philip - scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards
         f. Bartholomew - said to have been placed into a sack and 
            thrown into the sea, some say he was crucified
         g. Thomas - thrust through with a spear in India
         h. Matthew - said by some to have died a natural death, by
            others that he died in Ethiopia, being slain with a halberd
            (pike fitted with an axhead) in the city of Nadabah
         i. James the son of Alphaeus - stoned by the Jews for 
            preaching Christ
         j. Thaddaeus - unknown
         k. Simon the Zealot - suffered martyrdom under Trajan; some
            think crucified in Britain
         l. Matthias - said to have been stoned and then beheaded


1. Do we appreciate the significance of the "supreme sacrifice" these
   men made?
   a. Their willingness to suffer and die strengthens the credibility
      of their testimony
   b. And what is that testimony?   That Jesus died for our sins and 
      rose from the grave!
   -- They were not motivated by money or power; they were compelled by
      events they could never deny having seen and heard!

2. Through "The Twelve Apostles", we see the power of faith in Christ,
   a. Judgmental disciples into apostles of love (e.g., John)
   a. Political enemies into beloved brethren! (e.g., Matthew and Simon
      the Zealot)
   b. Cowards who denied Jesus into confessors who died for Him (e.g.,

3. In "The Twelve Apostles", we have the basis for faith in Christ,
   a. The foundation of our faith in Christ through their testimony
   b. The foundation of our belief and practice through their writings

May we who are "built on the foundation of the apostles" (Ep 2:20),
never forget these 12 humble disciples who faithfully answered the call
of their Lord.  May their example inspire us to greater faithfulness in
our service to Christ!
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