3. "JAMES THE SON OF ZEBEDEE"
Zebedee was the name of James' father (cf. Matt. 4:21). He and his brother John were partners with Peter and Andrew in the fishing business (Luke 5:10). These brothers were also known as the "Sons of Thunder" (Mark 3:17), likely because of their tendency to rush to judgment, as is seen in passages like Luke 9:51-56 and Mark 9:38. James, Peter, and John were among the closest friends of Jesus. James was not the first Christian martyred for the Lord's cause (cf. Acts 7:59), but he was the first apostle to die for the Lord in an outbreak of persecution led by Herod (Acts 12:1,2).
4. "AND JOHN HIS BROTHER"
We have already mentioned several things about John previously. It is also significant to note that he, another son of Zebedee, was referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved (cf. John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20). According to Mark 10:35ff, John and his brother James approached Jesus asking for great authority in His kingdom (i.e., to sit on His right hand and on His left). This displeased the other apostles greatly.
John remained in Jerusalem after Pentecost in Acts 2. In the early days of the church, he and Peter worked closely together in proclaiming the gospel (e.g., Acts 3:1ff; 4:5-13). John was later exiled to the Isle of Patmos where the Lord imparted to him the book of Revelation (cf. Rev. 1:1,4,9). The five books he composed under inspiration of the Holy Spirit constitute a considerable portion of the New Testament.
Philip lived in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. He met Jesus in Galilee and was called to be a disciple of the Lord. Soon thereafter he brought Nathanael to the Lord (John 1:43-48). Little is recorded about Philip (and several of the other apostles) in the New Testament.
6. "AND BARTHOLOMEW"
Bartholomew, the surname of Nathanael, was the one who said to Philip regarding Jesus - "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip responded - "Come and see." Jesus' first words toward Bartholomew were quite positive - "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" (John 1:46,47).
Thomas was also known as "the Twin" (John 20:24ff). After Jesus was raised from the dead, it was Thomas who refused to believe in our Lord's resurrection until he saw the evidence personally.
8. "AND MATTHEW THE TAX COLLECTOR"
Matthew was a tax collector who was also called Levi the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). He is the author of the New Testament book that bears his name. Tax collectors, who gathered funds from the Jews for the Romans, were generally despised by the Hebrew people. It is of interest to note that Jesus selects a social outcast to be an apostle of His.
9. "JAMES THE SON OF ALPHAEUS"
There are several James mentioned in the New Testament. Very little is known about this particular James.
10. "AND LEBBAEUS, WHOSE SURNAME WAS THADDAEUS"
Thaddaeus was also known as Lebbaeus. Luke referred to him as "Judas the son of James" (6:16), and John called him "Judas, not Iscariot" (14:22).
11. "SIMON THE CANANITE"
This Simon was also called "the Zealot" (Luke 6:15). The Zealots (i.e., zealous ones) formed a patriotic party of the most radical nature. They advocated the complete overthrow of all things not in harmony with the law of Moses and Jewish tradition. This party had much to do with starting the war that caused the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
12. "AND JUDAS ISCARIOT, WHO ALSO BETRAYED HIM"
Judas Iscariot was the son of Simon (John 6:71). His surname separated him from the other apostle named Judas. "Iscariot" means "a man of Kerioth," which refers to a village of the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:25). He took care of the money belonging to the Lord and His disciples. John said he was a thief (John 12:6). He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, which was approximately the sum paid for a slave (Matt. 26:14-16; 47-50). Under the burden of his guilt for betraying the innocent Christ, his last earthly act was to hang himself (Matt. 27:3-5; Acts 1:18).