Twelve Named Disciples
Trevor E. Dowen, Cardiff
After a night spent alone in prayer, the Lord Jesus Christ called twelve men to be His disciples, Acts 1. 1-3 Luke 22. 28. They were specifically prayed for and specially promised.
The name 'disciple' means a follower or learner. 'When it was day he called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve whom also he named aposties', Luke 6. 13. An apostle is one sent forth, a messenger of the churches. The criteria for an apostle is described in Acts 1. 12. The Holy Spirit was promised to bring all things to their remembrance whatsoever the Lord had said. They were named disciples, many times referred to as 'the twelve'. The Lord Jesus took them apart and taught them and trained them. Of some it is recorded that they forsook all and followed Him. They were uniquely selected by the Lord, as Paul was on the Damascus road, a chosen vessel to bear the Lord's name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel, Acts 9. 15; 1 Cor. 1. 1; 1 Cor. 9. 1. Seventy were also sent out two by two to a wider circle of followers, We see that the 'church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone,' Eph. 2. 20
The names of the twelve are recorded in Matthew 10. 1-4, Mark 3. 14-19, Luke 6. 13-16 and Acts 1. 13.
Fishermen brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, sons of Jonah.
Fishermen brothers, James and John, sons of Zebedee.
Brothers Philip and Bartholomew (Nathaniel).
Thomas (Didymus), one of twins.
Tax collector Matthew (Levi).
James the son of Alphaeus (James the less) who was short in stature.
Lebbaeus Thaddaeus, also called Judas.
Simon the Canaanite (Simon Zelotes).
Judas Iscariot ('who also betrayed Him').
After Pentecost the number of disciples multiplied, Acts 2. 41; Acts 4. 4. In the course of time the title 'apostle' was applied to others who moved from place to place as messengers of the gospel, Acts 1. 21. These included Barnabus, Acts 14. 14, 1 Cor. 9. 5. Silas and Timothy, 1 Thess. 1. 6, Apollos, 1 Cor. 4. 6-9. James the Lord's brother, Gal. 1. 19. There were more notable men, not called apostles, including Mark, Luke and Stephen. The criteria was that they were eye witnesses of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the time of John the Baptist, Acts 1. 21. An apostle possessed power to confer spiritual gifts, and perform signs and miracles, 2 Cor. 12. 12, Acts 14. 3, Rom. 1. 11. The Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, was promised to 'teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatever I have said unto you' John 14. 26.