How the Apostles died – and why

Published by rudy Date posted on April 8, 2009

One of the best e-mails I got in recent days asked: do you know how the Apostles died? The answers are verifiable historically or from church accounts:

Matthew, the former tax collector, suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.

Mark died after being dragged by horses through the streets of Alexandria, Egypt.

Luke was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John was condemned to boiling in a cauldron of oil, during a wave of persecution in Rome. Miraculously he was delivered from death. He was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos, where he wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation. Later freed, John returned to serve as Bishop of what is now Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only Apostle to pass away peacefully.

Peter was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. This was because, according to church tradition, he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus Christ.

James the Just, leader of the church in Jerusalem, refused to deny his faith in Christ. He was thrown more than a hundred feet from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple (the same location where Satan had tried to tempt Jesus). Discovering that James survived the fall, his tormentors beat him to death with a fuller’s club.

James the Great, son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, he was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded him watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, was a missionary to Asia, witnessing for Jesus in the region now under Turkey. He was martyred by whipping for preaching in Armenia.

Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.” He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas was stabbed with a spear during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Indian subcontinent.

Jude was killed with arrows and stones when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias, the Apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Barnabas, one of the 70 disciples mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, preached throughout Italy and Cyprus. Soon after writing the Epistle of Barnabas, he was stoned to death at Salonica, a seaport in what is now Turkey.

Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. He endured lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, teaching many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

Perhaps this is a reminder that our earthly sufferings are minor compared to the cruel persecution the Apostles endured for the sake of Faith. Too, that after suffering is redemption.–Jarius Bondoc, Philippine Star

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