Mark's Gospel

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The Choosing of the Twelve

(Mark 3:13-19)

Jesus retreats up a hill in order to choose the men he wanted. He chose twelve special men whom he called 'Apostles'. The word 'apostle' comes from a Greek word meaning 'one who is sent out'. Mark says, 'he appointed twelve as his companions, whom he would send out to proclaim the Gospel, with a commission to drive out devils'.

From Mark's Gospel the twelve Apostles are:

Simon Also referred to as Simon Peter or just Peter ('Peter' means 'rock' in Greek), a fisherman
James The brother of John, son of Zebedee, a fisherman
John The brother of James, son of Zebedee, a fisherman
Andrew Brother of Simon Peter, a fisherman
Matthew A tax-collector, presumably Levi
James Son of Alphaeus
Simon Known as the Patriot. Probably a member of a Zealot party who wished to fight against the Roman occupation.
Judas Iscariot Betrayed Jesus. The name 'Iscariot' may mean 'man from Kerioth' or it could be from a Latin word 'sicarius' which menas 'assassin' or 'Zealot'.

Jesus' Apostles would have been a very odd group of individuals. Some were simple fishermen, one of them was a tax collector, two of them may have been terrorists, some were brothers and some were married.

It is important to remember that there were many disciples (followers) but only twelve Apostles (messengers or envoys). They were to live in intimate companionship with him throughout his ministry, and be witnesses to his life, teaching, death and resurrection.

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