Jesus chooses the twelve apostles

The more Jesus’ work grew, the more people came seeking him; and the more deeply saddened he became as he saw the confused and helpless spiritual condition of the Jewish people. There were plenty of opportunities for worthwhile work but there were few workers, and Jesus asked his followers to pray that God would supply the right workers to meet the need (Matt 9:35-38; Mark 3:7-12).

So urgent was the need that Jesus decided to appoint twelve helpers immediately. He therefore spent the night in prayer and in the morning announced his choice. The twelve were to be known as apostles (from the Greek word apostello, meaning ‘to send’), as Jesus was to send them out in the service of the kingdom. To begin with he would keep them with him for their spiritual training, then he would send them out equipped with his messianic authority to heal those afflicted by Satan and urge people to enter the kingdom of God. The era of the Messiah had arrived. As twelve tribes had formed the basis of the old people of God, so twelve apostles would be the basis of the new (Matt 10:1; Mark 3:13-15; Luke 6:12- 13). The following list includes alternative names by which some of the apostles were known.


Simon Peter, or Cephas Matt 10:2; John 1:42
Andrew, brother of Peter Matt 10:2; John 1:40
James, son of Zebedee Mark 3:17; Luke 8:51
John, brother of James Mark 3:17; John 21:20
Philip Matt 10:3; John 6:5
Bartholemew, or Nathanael Matt 10:3; John 21:2
Thomas, the Twin (Didymus) Matt 10:3; John 21:2



Matthew, or Levi Matt 10:3; Luke 5:27
James, son of Alphaeus Matt 10:3; Acts 1:13
Thaddaeus, or Lebbaeus, or Judas the son of James  

Matt 10:3;


Luke 6:16

Simon the Zealot, the Patriot, or the Cananaean  

Matt 10:4;


Luke 6:15

Judas Iscariot Matt 10:4; Luke 22:48
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