They threw James, the Apostle, to his knees (Acts 12:2) and killed him with a sword, most likely, they beheaded him. The remaining of most of the descriptions of the Martyrdom of the apostles are based on church traditions. An example is Peter. The Apostle Peter it is said was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross in Rome, thus fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy (John 21:18)
Other traditional explanations of the remaining apostles deaths, except for John were all violent. Matthew’s martyrdom was in Ethiopia. He is said to have died of a sword wound. Then there was John. They boiled him in a huge basin of oil. But through a miracle, he was saved and sent to the Island of Patmos to work in the mines as a prisoner. Later, he was allowed to return to Turkey and die in peace as an old man.
James, Jesus’ brother (not officially considered an apostle) was thrown off a pinnacle for refusing to deny his Lord Jesus. The fall did not kill him, so his captors beat him to death with a club. Now Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael, was flayed to death with a whip while ministering in Turkey.
Andrew was whipped viciously by Grecian soldiers and then crucified on an X-shaped cross. He continued to bring the Gospel to his tormentors for two days until he succumbed.
While Thomas was in India working as a missionary, he was stabbed by a spear. Now Matthias that replaced Judas Iscariot was stoned and beheaded.
Emperor Nero of Rome in A.D.67 tortured Paul and then had him beheaded. The other apostles have less Biblical verifiable information as to how they specifically died, but it is thought to be of a violent nature.
Do you think any of these apostles would have put themselves in the position to die in these manners, if they thought their faith in Jesus and His Resurrection were not true? (This information was obtained from “Foxes Christian Martyrs – Abridged.” John Foxe, Barbour Publishing/2005/Hardcover.)
Well, maybe getting beheaded or nailed to a cross is a little much just to prove you and I love Jesus! What if we’re amongst a group of people and we say, I don’t know, “Hey you know I go to church every now and then!” That’s pretty strong – Right? Well, maybe we shouldn’t say it in a club or a party – you know what they say, “Don’t discuss politics and religion at a party!”
You know the more I think about this, professing Jesus would be more appropriate in Sunday School Class – of course you and I just occasionally get by for the 11 A.M. Services and you don’t want to stand up in the middle of the preacher’s sermon and interrupt him.
Maybe we should just profess our faith in the Lord in our heart when we get the chance now and then! Yep! Sounds like a plan to me!
Jesus died for each of our sins and to redeem our sinful lives and to give each of us eternal and heavenly lives. He did not make this life sacrifice because He was forced to – He volunteered to do His Father’s bidding!
The apostles didn’t allow themselves to be tortured and viciously killed because they THOUGHT their faith in Jesus’ sacrifice MIGHT have been well founded! They knew, most saw and they believed!
The Bible and it’s inerrant spiritual truth has survived thousands of years. So there is a good reason to know it is true, we did not see (John 20:27-29) as most of the Apostles did. Yet at least one, Thomas, had to see the actual nail holes in His hands and feet. We are here to BELIEVE! If we choose not to, then we will be as those that slaughtered the first followers of Jesus. As unbelievers our hearts can, at some point, harden against the Holy Spirit of God and we will receive the eternal second death!
You and I are not asked by the Holy Spirit to stand on street corners and wave signs etc. – at least not yet! However, if our soul is filled with our spirit and not our “self,” then we will automatically “know” when it is time to let the Holy Spirit use us, our actions, our voices and our hearts. Stay well my beloved friends in Christ.
In Christ’s Love,