Title: The choosing of the twelve
Scriptures to Read: Read Mark 3:7-19; Matthew 12:15-21; Luke 6:12-16
News of Jesus continues to spread
We are now moving into the earlier parts of the second year of Yeshua’s public ministry, and He continues to receive a great amount of interest. Mark verse 7 says: “a great multitude from Galilee followed; and also from Judea, and from Jerusalem.” This is all within the borders of the land. But also now notice that his reputation spreads to places outside the land: to Tyre and Sidon, now Lebanon. Furthermore, in verse 11, He is continually being recognized by demons that He confronts. But as always He refuses to allow them to tell who he was and he continues to refuse any testimony from demons.
Jesus chooses 12 apostles
Out of many people following Him, Jesus chooses twelve. While He has many disciples, He now chooses twelve men who make up the apostolic group. In Luke verse 13 notice, it was day and “He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.” The word disciple simply means “learner”, “one who learns”. It does not carry any principle of authority. But the word apostle means “one who is sent” and these men carry the authority of those who sent them.
The reason for only choosing twelve apostles
There are three reasons why they were called into a smaller apostolic group found in Mark’s account in verses 14 & 15.
1. That they might be with him all of the time. Disciples would be coming and going. Some disciples are called when necessary as we will see. While disciples were to be on call, coming and going, this group of twelve men were to be with him all of the time.
2. That He might send them forth to preach. They would go out from city to city and from synagogue to synagogue to give the same message He was giving: that they must accept him to be the Messianic King.
3. They have the authority to cast out demons. And they will be active in casting out demons as evidence of their claims.
The names of the 12 apostles
1. Simon (Hebrew) or Peter (Greek), Cephas (Aramaic).
2. Andrew- Simon & Andrew are brothers, sons of John.
3. John- The brother of James.
4. James, actually Jacov or Jacob. As the language moved from Hebrew to Greek to Latin and English Jacov became James. In the Greek New Testament you will see it as Jakobos. And these two are sons of Zebedee and Salome which is the Hellenised form of Shulamit.
5. Philip means “a lover of horses”.
6. Nathaniel also goes by the name of Bartholomew. Bartholomew is not a name but a title. It is the Hellenised form of the two words Bar Talmai, meaning the son of Talmai. So he was Nathaniel the son of Talmai.
7. Thomas (Hebrew), or Didimus (Greek). Both words mean twin. He obviously had a twin brother.
8. Matthew, also called Levi the son of Alpheus. Alpheus is the Greek form for the Hebrew Chalphi.
9. James, the son of Alpheus, not the same Alpheus.
10. Judas, also called Thaddeus or Taddai. He is the brother of James the son of Alpheus.
11. Simon the Zealot. He was a member of the zealot party.
12. Judas Iscariot. Iscariot is from the Hebrew of two words, “Ish Kiriot” meaning “man of the village Kiriot.”
There are three sets of brothers: Simon & Andrew (1 & 2); John and James (3 & 4); and James and Judas (9 & 10). Judas is simply the Greek form for Judah by the way.
There are also two extremes here. Notice Matthew and Simon the Zealot. The Zealots were very energetic in opposing Roman rule, and while the mainline Pharisees believed in passive resistance, the Zealots were those Pharisees that believed in active resistance. And often they would go around carrying a small dagger, and in a crowd they would often kill fellow Jews who were working for the Romans. They would often kill publicans too. And so normally Matthew and Simon the Zealot would be enemies.
The harmony of the four different records of the twelve apostles
Notice that there are four different records of the twelve apostles. Notice that
1. The first name is always the same, followed by James, John and Andrew.
2. The fifth name is always the same: Philip.
3. And then the ninth name is always the same with the names below mixed. Judas is always last because of his actions.
Now what this system shows us is that within the apostolic group of twelve there were three different groups, each group containing four men, and each group had a leader. So Simon was the leader of the first group, Philip was the leader of the second group, and James the son of Alpheus was the leader of the third group. And the names that were below Simon, Philip, and James are those that were under their authority.