Whilst doing my usual rounds on the internet this week, I found an interesting diagram detailing the passing of the Apostles.
This diagram is quite accurate*, although knowing whether the remains housed in their respective locations are the actual apostles is quite hard to prove. Does anything jump out at you about the deaths of the apostles?
- Consider that nearly half of the apostles were crucified. (see Luke 9:23-24)
- Consider that Thomas was killed by a puncture wound. (see John 20:24-29)
- Consider when James the greater died. He only survived Jesus by about 10 years, despite being one of the "inner three" of Peter, John, and himself. (see Mark 10:35-45)
- Consider that James the Lesser, also known as James the Just**, was the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:18-19), yet did not believe until after the resurrection (Mark 3:20-21). In spite of that fact, he went on to be the leader of the Jerusalem church, even advising Peter and Paul (Acts 15:12-20).
- Consider that Andrew and Peter requested to be crucified on crosses other than the traditional Latin cross (the T shaped one), because they did not believe themselves worthy of dieing in the same way Christ did. Despite this, their own crosses become renowned, and Andrew's in fact graces the flag of Scotland.
- Finally, consider Judas...whose shameful death came all too early. Had Judas not given up, what work might he have done for the gospel? Only God knows.
* : A compelling case has been presented by Dr. David A. DeSilva, distinguished professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary, that John of Jesus' 12 disciples was not the author of the gospel of John, or the book of Revelation. While not ruling out a natural death in 100 A.D., that particular date is decided upon in large part due to the year of the writing of Revelation. If John didn't write it, and thus didn't have to live until 100 A.D., it is unlikely he would have as he would have been quite aged by that point.
** : There is some disagreement over whether or not James the Lesser and James the Just are the same person. The diagram assumes they are the same person. If they are not, then the diagram actually gives us information on James the Just, brother of Jesus. In that case, James the Lesser becomes a separate person who we know virtually nothing about aside that he was an Apostle, and a son of Alphaeus. Some who hold to the perpetual virginity of Mary, such as Roman Catholics, translate James the Just as the cousin of Jesus rather than his brother, a natural son of Mary of Joseph.