On this, one of the holiest Christian holidays, Christians all know what happened to Jesus the Anointed One, but what happened to his apostles?
We all know Judas Iscariot hanged himself from a tree before Jesus was crucified.
Simon died during Nero’s persecution of the Christians. He was crucified upside down on a cross.
Andrew was crucified on a cross in the shape of an “X”. He was not nailed to it, but was tied. It took several days before he died, all the while preaching while hanging there.
James was beheaded by King Agrippa I who had launched a new persecution of Christians. James was the first martyr from the 12 apostles.
John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos before he was released and went to Ephesus where he died much later of natural causes. He was the only one not executed.
Philip was hanged in Hieropolis.
Bartholomew was flayed to death with knives in India.
Matthew died a martyr’s death in Ethiopia.
Thomas was killed with a spear near Madras, India.
James, son of Alphaeus was crucified in Lower Egypt and then sawed in pieces.
Thaddaeus was martyred in Persia by being slain with arrows.
Simon the Cananaean was crucified. It is thought he ministered together with Thaddaeus.
All but one who followed Jesus came to painful and untimely deaths. Judas thought he had betrayed Jesus and took his own life, ten others were persecuted for their belief, and one was persecuted and survived.
I say Judas ‘thought he betrayed Jesus’ because I believe that he had no more control over what he did than the Pharisees that went to see Pilate. Pontius Pilate had no control over what he did as neither did the Roman soldiers who performed the actual execution.
God conducted the minds and hands of all those who played against Jesus just as a conductor directs the orchestra. If Jesus had not died on the cross, He could not fulfill his mission to die for our sins. If he had not died, he could not arise again to take His place next to God.
His disciples followed Jesus’ lead and died preaching the word. Their dedication was much stronger than most of those today. I can only hope and pray that if it ever came to it, I too could have the strength of the Apostles.