Monday, February 15, 2016

The Martyrdom of the Apostles

  • Matthew suffered martyrdom by a sword wound in Ethiopia
  • Mark died in Alexandria after being dragged through the streets by a horse until dead
  • Luke was hanged in Greece from an olive tree because of his preaching to the lost
  • John was cast into a huge basin of boiling oil. However after God miraculously saved him, the emperor sent him into exile on the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation. He was eventually freed and served the church until he died peacefully of old age. He was the only apostle to not be martyred
  • Peter was crucified upside down because he told his tormentors that he wasn't worthy of being crucified like Jesus
  • James the Just was tossed from the southeast pinnacle of the temple, a drop of over 100 feet for not denying Christ.  He barely survived the fall but was then beaten to death with a club
  • James the greater, the brother of John was beheaded in Jerusalem. It is said that his jailer was so moved by James and his testimony that he received Jesus and knelt beside James to be beheaded right beside him. 
  • Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel was flayed to death with a whip in Armenia. 
  • Andrew was crucified in Patras, Greece. After being severely whipped, it is said he approached the cross and saluted it with 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 during the two days it took for him to die.
  • Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India
  • Jude, the brother of Jesus was killed with arrows. Another account says he was crucified in AD 70
  • Matthias (the apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot)  was stoned and then beheaded
  • Barnabas (one of the 70 sent out) was stoned to death in Salonica
  • Paul was tortured and then beheaded by Nero in 67 AD.
  • Philip was scourged, thrown in prison, and afterward crucified in AD 54
  • Simon was crucified

I came across this list in a You tube video the other day, and it really impacted me.  I also did some research to assure the validity so I wouldn't be posting untruths.  There are a couple of points I want to make about this.

1. To me, this is the BEST evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus.  These men were eye witnesses to the risen Lord and they proclaimed it everywhere. If they were lying, why wouldn't they simply deny Jesus and save themselves so much pain and suffering?

2. This is also the BEST evidence against the church's current prosperity Gospel which says that if you follow the Lord, your life will be filled with prosperity and blessing. I have a feeling the apostles would have laughed if they had heard such a thing.   Yet time and time again, I meet Christians who get mad at God when things don't go their way or when tragedy strikes.

Most of you reading this have never had to face the difficulties and trials of these Apostles. Most of us have had pretty cushy lives by comparison. And thank God for it!  He is merciful and loving, forgiving and He loves to give us good things.  Praise Him for His wonderful gifts and great kindness. But it is important to remember that He didn't save us so we could sit back and have a nice life until He comes. He has a master plan for this world and we have been recruited into His army for the purpose of saving souls. Sorry to break the news, but to God, saving souls is more important than your comfort and happiness. And when the occasion calls for it, He may ask you to suffer for His name sake.

Haven't heard that in church lately?  Me either. But it's true none the less.  Ask the tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East who are currently being tortured and slaughtered for their faith in Jesus.  Yes, I said tens of thousands. I tried to find an exact figure, but there are so many killed each day, there's no way for people to count.

Pray for them. They are part of our family and they need our prayers and our help too.  If you can afford it, give to an organization that is trying to rescue persecuted Christians. There are many out there.,  Nazarene fund, Voice of the Martyrs, to name a few.

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Mark 9:41

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  Matthew 25:34-40



  1. Thanks for sharing, Marylu! That's very sobering indeed.To realize what these people went through is almost too much to imagine. And yet they were willing to go all the way, for the sake of Christ.I have heard of the plight of Christians from Middle East. Talk about tested faith! When I look at what's going on in Europe with so amny crises around, I think that it's only a matter of time before we too are persecuted for standing up for the truth ( if you followed the news with the Romanian family from Norway whose children have been taken away by Child Services on the basis of "religious indoctrination"), you can tell that times are getting darker.Not to mention the homosexual/ transgender propaganda and such.Now we need the Lord more than ever!
    Btw, do you have the link to that Youtube video? I'd like to watch it.

    1. Thanks Rose. I, too, believe we will see persecution here in America and Canada soon. It definitely will shake out the hypocrites from the church. I haven't heard about the Romanian family, but I'm not surprised. We definitely need to get close to the Lord during these dark times. Here's the You tube link.

  2. Another eye-opening post, my friend. It won't be long before we Americans will face similar fates. I can already see families being torn apart because of varying beliefs....and the sad part is that our own family members will more than likely be the ones who persecute us or rat us out. We need to be looking up. Jesus is coming soon and He will make things right. Hugs!

    1. Yup, Chappy, Jesus warned us that it would be members of our own family who will turn against us. So sad! Praise God Jesus will make all things new!

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  5. Thank you MaryLu for posting what happened to the early apostles. I had known what happened to a few of them but not all. Our life serving God is a big adventure. It is never what we expect. And it can be fraught with many trying circumstances. What keeps us going and what kept the apostles going and willing to face persecution and death is LOVE for our Blessed Savior. He is our everything and our greatest treasure. Blessings to you :)

    1. Amen... He is everything! And worth everything, even death.

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I didn't know all the details for each apostle.