Friday, March 5, 2010
New Easter Life, Bicentennial Park--Greensboro, NC
I recently finished a book, "Twelve Ordinary Men" by John MacArthur that presents a brief narrative of each disciple’s life and involvement in the beginning Christian movement. Each bio concludes with an account of their death which is mostly early church legend, since only James' death is recorded in the Bible in Acts.
These men had locked themselves up in a room to hide after Jesus' crucifixion, but were later eyewitnesses to his resurrected being, were given the power of the Holy Spirit ten days after his ascension to be with his father, and were all persecuted for their faith. With the apparent exception of John, they all met very tragic deaths spreading the Word. I think their deaths may in fact have as much meaning for us as their extraordinary lives.
Why would these men place their lives on the line and die such traumatic deaths when they were indeed such ordinary men? Certainly they had the power of the Holy Spirit, but perhaps it was also because they witnessed the resurrected Savior and knew deep in their hearts that his message was the truth, the way and the life everlasting! I believe their collective fate is a dramatic answer for anyone who questions the resurrection!
This is how their inspired lives ended according to MacAuthur:
* John--Banned to the island of Patmos and later died in Ephesus.
* Peter--Forced to watch his wife be crucified and at his request was crucified head-downward because he believed he was not worthy to die like Jesus.
* Andrew--Lashed to an X-Cross instead of nailing and took two days to die.
* James, older brother of John--Herod had him killed by the sword.
* Philip--Stoned in Asia Minor
* Nathanael--Either cast into the sea in a sack or crucified.
* Thomas, the doubter--Needed to put his hand where a spear had pierced Jesus on the cross--Run through with a spear.
* Matthew--Burned at the stake.
* James the Less--Stoned or beaten to death or crucified.
* Simon the Zealot--Killed for preaching the gospel.
* Judas the Apostle with Three Names--Clubbed to death.
* Judas Iscariot--Hanged himself for betraying Jesus.