What Happened to Jesus' 12 Disciples?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Crucifixion of St. Peter by Caravaggio
The Cost of Following Christ

Jesus' disciples promised to follow him to the end. When he challenged them, he said:

"Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized." Mark 10:38-39

The baptism Jesus was referring to was his death. Just as Christ would be killed he was letting them know that those who were faithful to him may die as well. He was challenging them: Are you really willing to be killed for the sake of the gospel and the kingdom of God? And while they readily agreed, they did not know that 11 of the 12 disciples would die a martyrs' death.

The fate of Jesus’ followers: What happened to John and the other disciples? 

  1. James was the second recorded martyr after Christ’s death. His death is recounted in Acts 12:2, which reports that Herod Agrippa killed him with a sword. Date of martyrdom: AD 44–45. 
  2. Peter was crucified by Roman executioners because he would not deny his Master a second time. According to Eusebius, Peter thought himself unworthy to be crucified as his Master, so he asked to be crucified “head downward.” Date of martyrdom: ca. AD 64. 
  3. Andrew was hanged from an olive tree at Patrae, a town in Achaia. Date of martyrdom: AD 70. 
  4. Thomas was impaled with pine spears, tormented with red-hot plates, and burned alive. Date of martyrdom: AD 70. 
  5. Philip evangelized in Phrygia, where a hostile audience had him tortured and crucified. Date of martyrdom: AD 54. 
  6. Matthew was beheaded at Nad-Davar in Ethiopia. Date of martyrdom: AD 60–70. 
  7. Nathanael (Bartholomew), unwilling to recant of his proclamation of a risen Christ, was flayed and crucified. Date of martyrdom: AD 70. 
  8. James the Lesser was cast down from the top of the temple in Jerusalem and beaten to death with a fuller’s club to the head. Date of martyrdom: AD 63. 
  9. Simon the Zealot was crucified by a governor in Syria. Date of martyrdom: AD 74. 
  10. Judas Thaddaeus was beaten to death with sticks. Date of martyrdom: AD 72. 
  11. Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle of Christ (Acts 1:26). He was stoned to death while being crucified. Date of martyrdom: AD 70. 
  12. John is thought to have been exiled to the island of Patmos during the reign of Emperor Domitian. Church tradition says he was tortured by being boiled in oil but died of natural causes around AD 100. *
Mark 8:34-38 says, 
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

In many parts of the world, Christians face physical danger for their faith. For others, following Christ may cause them to put their own plans and dreams on hold while they die to their own interests and pursue Christ's plans for them.

Where will your faith in Christ take you?

* The list above is taken from my book Navigating the Bible, which will be published by Barbour Publishing in February 2014.


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What Waits for You In Heaven?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

Do you ever wonder what eternal life will be like? Or have you thought about what Christians will receive in Heaven?

In working on my new book Heaven & Hell: Are they Real?, I built a list of 10 things that will greet Christians as they step through death and into the door of Heaven.

1. We will get our first glimpse of our Savior.
Stephen was being stoned to death when he caught his first glimpse. Despite his dire earthly circumstances, he exclaimed with wonder and awe, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56) That same sense of wonder and awe awaits us.

2. We will be escorted to our heavenly destination by angels.
In the middle of his story about an encounter between a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus, Jesus offers this tantalizing description: “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:32). When Jesus’ followers go to heaven, they go in style.

3. We will enjoy a private reception with Jesus.
As Stephen felt his life slipping away, he made one simple yet profound request: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). Is it a stretch to suggest that Jesus honored his request – or that the Lord personally welcomes all of his faithful servants into eternity?

4. We will break free of the curse once and for all.
Revelation 22:3 reveals that the curse that God placed on his creation as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden will be lifted in heaven. For the first time, we will be able to experience God’s creation as he intended.

5. We will discover what it is like not to suffer.
The promise of Revelation 21:4 is enough to bring tears to the eyes of anyone who has endured pain, suffering, depression, hardship, loss or grief. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

6. We will experience the joy of the Lord.
The words the faithful servant heard in Matthew 25:21 will be the same words we hear when we are welcomed into heaven: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

7. We will be welcomed into the presence of God.
In the Old Testament, God’s presence was accessible only to a select few, at very specific times and under extremely restrictive conditions. That will not be the case in heaven. “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).

8. We will serve him.
“His servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3). If that prospect seems less than appealing, consider this: we were created to serve him. In heaven, we will know what it is like to find true fulfillment and soul-deep satisfaction in our work.

9. We will become like Christ.
The apostle John explains it this way: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

10. We will spend eternity with our Creator and our Savior.
At the heart of the most-quoted verse in all of Scripture is the guarantee that our fellowship will never end: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Everything that is wrong in this world will be made right in heaven. Rather than dread the end of our time in this world, we can eagerly anticipate a place where the things that really matter will be the only things that matter.
An edited version of this article will appear in my upcoming book Heaven & Hell: Are They Real (Releasing February, 2014).

** This list was inspired by biblestudyplanet.com/10-things-that-happen-after-we-die-2 **


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Video Bible Study: John

, by Christopher D. Hudson

I recently hosted an online Bible study that introduced the Gospel of John. In this 30 minute study we looked at:
* WHO was John?
* WHAT did he write?
* WHY did he write it?

This Bible study augments an ongoing Facebook Bible Study based on my upcoming book Navigating the Bible (February 2014 release)

If you are interested in joining the Facebook Bible study, you can do so here.

If you missed the video broadcast, you can watch it by clicking here or or scrolling to the bottom of the page. You can also watch other videos in this series include.

Part 2 of the video Bible study is scheduled for Friday, 12/13 @ 11am (CST). RSVP here.

John, part 1
John, part 2 (Upcoming: December 13, 11am CST) Click to RSVP



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Sometimes God Says No

, by Christopher D. Hudson

When I was a kid growing up in New York, I dreamed of playing for the Yankees. Unlike many kids who shared that dream, I worked extra hard to turn my lofty goal into a reality. I played baseball year-round, went to camps, and even met some coaches and scouts who I thought would help me one day. And as a Christian, I had one more tool to help me achieve my goal: prayer. Since God loves to answer prayer—I was told—I had no doubts about my future.

As I aged into my late teens, my prayers continued but the phone calls never came. I never grew those final inches, my throwing arm never matured, and my rotator cuff started to tear. My professional career in the Bronx simply wasn’t going to happen. To be blunt, it wasn’t going to happen anywhere. But since my dream was dressed in prayer, how could it fail? Was God unloving for not realizing the one dream I cared about? Was he too weak to grant a simple request to a good kid?

Recently, I was told by a well-meaning Christian that God always answers yes to prayers whenever they are for “good things” like health, wealth, or success. When this friend said that, my mind shot back to my career not playing for the Yankees. Would playing baseball in the Bronx have been good? Oh yeah. Would keeping my shoulder intact have helped? Without a doubt. Would catching for pitchers like Andy Pettitte or Mariano Rivera brought me wealth? Okay, these are easy questions. So how could a loving God say no to my prayer that would have brought me such happiness?

I have some answers, but they aren’t all warm and fuzzy. In fact, my well-meaning friend is not going to like the rest of this entry—you may not either. Hopefully, we’ll still be friends. Frankly, there are a lot of reasons God says no.

1. God says no because he sees the big picture. 
I didn’t make it to the Yankees because God had other plans for me (see Jeremiah 29:11). If I had a career in baseball, I would not have met my wife, had my amazing kids, and be involved in the church where I’ve served weekly for nearly 20 years. And who—besides God—could possibly know what the plan is for my son (or his great-great-great-grandson), who has a life because I didn’t play professional baseball.

If I had been catching fastballs in New York, I would have missed out on God’s plan that he had prepared in advance for me: “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 niv).

2. God says no because we are too shortsighted.

Our prayers often revolve around what we want: money, a spouse, a better job, a long life. We focus on these external things. I think God might pay these things notice in the same way as I learned to appreciate my toddler’s interests, but his concerns are much greater: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 niv).

When my kids were toddlers, I learned to play their games and spend time with them at their level. But imagine what a terrible father I would have been if I did not have a bigger picture and purpose for my kids. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not calling prayers for a spouse or health trivial. But compared to God’s glorious plan, they do pale in importance. Like a child who has a limited view, we may not agree with God’s plan, but one day we’ll realize that God’s plan is bigger.

3. God says no because his primary concern is not my earthly happiness.
Ouch. Did I really write that? I can see someone saying, “Wait a minute. I read what you wrote, but you couldn’t have meant it that way.” 

I’m sorry. I did mean it that way. 

I serve a God who is bigger than I can ever imagine. He stands outside the timeline of humanity so that he can see all human history with just a glance (see 2 Peter 3:8). God’s goals are to demonstrate his love to earth (John 3:16), to reveal his glory (Isaiah 48:9–11), and to bring as many people to salvation as possible (2 Peter 3:9).

Is it reasonable that someone’s poverty could cause the kingdom of God to advance (#MotherTeresa)? Is it possible that someone’s horrific suffering might bring others to faith (#CorrietenBoom)? Is it feasible that an awful, untimely death might lead to the salvation of thousands (#JimElliot)?

God does not cause evil, but he is big enough to bring good out from it. If my spouse dies, is God uncaring? If I contract cancer, is God unfeeling? Not at all. God cares deeply as a good father would. But he can also see outside this moment of awful pain to a purpose we cannot understand.

It is no accident that the above examples of Mother Teresa, Corrie ten Boom, and Jim Elliot are 30–50 years old, because sometimes it is only with the perspective of age and time that some of these senseless things begin to make sense.

Does God always answer our prayers? Yes. Does he always answer them the way we want? Thank God, he loves us too much to do that. If God answered prayers only by granting our requests, he would be no more than a genie or good luck charm. 

Thank God, he is bigger than that.


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Navigating the Bible: Mark

, by Christopher D. Hudson

I recently hosted an online Bible study that provided an overview of the Gospel of Mark. We looked at three basics of this short Bible book:

* WHO was mark?
* WHAT did he write?
* WHY did he write it?

You can watch below or visit this link to watch the archive.

This Bible study augments an online going Facebook Bible Study based on my upcoming book Navigating the Bible (February 2014 release)

If you are interested in joining the ongoing Facebook Bible study, you can do so here.

You can also watch other videos in this series include.




The Mark study can be also watched below.


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