Who Are the 12 Disciples of Jesus?


Quick Answer

The 12 disciples of Jesus are Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Nathaniel, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Thaddeus and Judas. Jesus selected these men as his closest disciples from a group of his earliest followers. Jesus commissioned them as apostles after his resurrection.

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Full Answer

Peter, James and John were closest to Jesus and were the only disciples to witness his transfiguration. After Jesus' resurrection, Peter served as a missionary and evangelist, and at his crucifixion, asked to die with his head toward the ground because he did not want to die like Jesus did. Jesus referred to the brothers James and John as "sons of thunder." Along with witnessing the transfiguration, they saw Jesus raise Jairus from the dead and the agony he went through in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Andrew was Jesus' first follower and introduced him to his brother Simon, whom Jesus renamed Peter. Philip, another earlier follower, recruited others for Jesus, including Nathaniel. Skeptical of Jesus at first, Nathaniel became a believer after Jesus accurately told him what he had been doing before Philip approached him. Matthew, an unliked tax collector, abandoned his position after Jesus told him to follow him. Thomas, often referred to as Doubting Thomas, only believed that Jesus rose from the dead after touching his physical wounds.

James the Less, Simon the Zealot and Thaddeus are the three disciples Bible historians know the least about. The only things known for sure are their names and that they were present in the upper room in Jerusalem after Christ's ascension. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. His action indirectly resulted in Jesus' crucifixion.

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