After Jesus arose from the dead He proved His resurrection by appearing to His eleven closest disciples, and others, before ascending to His Father in Heaven. There were only eleven now because Judas, who was stricken with remorse after Jesus was condemned to death, tried to undo his betrayal. But, when the priests refused to take back the 30 pieces of silver, Judas threw the money down in the temple and went out in the field nearby and hung himself from a tree. Jesus would have forgiven him if only he had asked. That’s why Jesus died….and arose from the tomb!
As Jesus was about to ascend into Heaven He gave these instructions to the disciples. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15
And verse 20 says…”And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through accompanying signs.”
Well…..CHANGE THE WORLD THEY DID!!! If they had not done as Jesus instructed, we would not have believers in Christ all around the world today. In fact those eleven disciples gave their lives for the spreading of the gospel.
The following is an account of each one and how they were martyred.
MATTHEW was slain in Ethiopia with a pickaxe.
JAMES THE LESSER was killed by a blow to the head and then sawed apart.
THOMAS carried the gospel to Parthia, Persia and India where he died at the hand of a pagan priest who pierced his body with a spear.
NATHANIEL took the gospel to India and Armenia where he was flayed and beheaded.
SIMON THE ZEALOT was a missionary to Persia and was crucified.
JOHN was the beloved disciple who faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a large basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome, however, he was miraculously delivered from death. He then was sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos where he experienced and wrote about a great “Revelation.” He returned to Ephesus and died quietly in his sleep.
JAMES THE ELDER was the first martyr among the eleven. He was beheaded by order of King Herod of Agrippa.
ANDREW was crucified on a cross shaped like the letter X. This symbol is now recognized as St. Andrew’s Cross.
THADDEUS WAS CRUCIFIED IN Persia.
PETER, at age 75, was crucified upside down at his own request because he thought himself unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus.
PHILIP known for bringing Gentiles to Jesus, became a missionary to Asia Minor. He was scourged, thrown into prison and later crucified.
Jesus said, in the last days sin will be rampant everywhere and the love of many will grow cold, but those who endure to the end will be saved. The good news of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that finally all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.
Believers in Christ all over the world are going through persecution and martyrdom right now for the sake of the Gospel. They are giving their lives to change the world, just as the disciples of Jesus did.
Can Jesus trust me and you to change our world with the kind of love He showed? Hmmmmm….something to think about.
GO CHANGE YOUR WORLD!!!