Then and Now

The Last Supper

Have you ever wished you had been one of Jesus’ original disciples? Ever thought about what it was like in those days when Christ walked and talked with His close circle of followers? If we knew what the early beginnings were we might come to different conclusions.

Jesus called four fishermen—Peter, Andrew, James and John. He called two brothers—James and John. He called a corrupt government employee—Matthew. He called a political zealot— Simon. It didn’t seem like such a grand group.

Peter Marshall, renowned Minister and Chaplain of the Senate, said: “Thomas was a dogged unbeliever until the last minute. Judas sought redemption through revolution instead of revolution through redemption. James and John wanted to get rid of people who differed with them, instead of getting rid of the differences so they could get the people.”

When we look 50 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and return to Heaven we can see not only the outcome of those early Christians but the deep cost of their discipleship. Someone has written:

  1. John died of extreme old age exiled to the island of Patmos.
  2. Judas Iscariot, after betraying his Lord, hanged himself.
  3. Peter was crucified, head downward, during the persecution of Nero.
  4. Andrew died on a cross at Patrae, a Grecian Colony.
  5. James, the younger, son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a
  6. pinnacle of the Temple, and then beaten to death with a club.
  7. Bartholomew was flayed (skin removed) alive in Albanopolis, Armenia.
  8. James, the older son of Zebedee, was beheaded in Jerusalem.
  9. Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance
  10. at Coromandel, in the East Indies.
  11. Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis.
  12. Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows.
  13. Simon died on a cross in Persia (what we now call Iran).
  14. Matthew was first stoned and then beheaded.
  15. Paul was killed after imprisonment in Rome by Emperor Nero.

Could we stand challenges like they did? Could we pay such a high cost to follow Christ? This was not only needed 20 Centuries ago, it is required today! Will we embrace the loving and perhaps deadly commitment the original Christians had?

2 Timothy 3:12, “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

I say “yes” to this call for commitment. What will you say… today?

Till next time, Don Johnson, KP Chaplain