Matthew, the former tax collector, suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.
John was condemned to boiling in a cauldron of oil, during a wave of persecution in Rome. Miraculously he was delivered from death. He was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos, where he wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation. Later freed, John returned to serve as Bishop of what is now Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only Apostle to pass away peacefully.
Peter was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. This was because, according to church tradition, he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus Christ.
James the Just, leader of the church in Jerusalem, refused to deny his faith in Christ. He was thrown more than a hundred feet from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple (the same location where Satan had tried to tempt Jesus). Discovering that James survived the fall, his tormentors beat him to death with a fuller’s club.
James the Great, son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, he was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded him watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, was a missionary to Asia, witnessing for Jesus in the region now under Turkey. He was martyred by whipping for preaching in Armenia.
Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.” He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.
Thomas was stabbed with a spear during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Indian subcontinent.
Jude was killed with arrows and stones when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Phillip death unknown.
Simon, the Zealot death unknown.
Matthias the Apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas
Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
Mark died after being dragged by horses through the streets of Alexandria, Egypt
Barnabas, one of the 70 disciples mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, preached throughout Italy and Cyprus. Soon after writing the Epistle of Barnabas, he was stoned to death at Salonica, a seaport in what is now Turkey.
Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. He endured lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, teaching many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
Perhaps this is a reminder that our earthly sufferings are minor compared to the cruel persecution the Apostles endured for the sake of Faith. Too, that after suffering is redemption.
Luke was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
Life is always a bed of roses. Goes the saying especially if we have to follow the steps of our Holy Redeemer – Jesus Christ. He once challenged us to follow Him and take up our crosses. The Word of God did not promise us that all those who will live a Christian life and follow the will of God will be exempted and be deprived of trials, tribulations and sufferings in life. While we are still in our mortal bodies, we expect that we will still experience both joy, gladness and success coupled with pain sufferings, loss and frustrations.
Just like the early disciples who followed Jesus Christ, their lives were filled with dangers and they took the big risk – they offered their own lives for the love they had for God. However, while we may experience the negative side of life, we must not be worried and afraid for we have our El Shaddai who always guide and inspire us. As long as we cling to His Words and promises, we will neither be beaten nor defeated by the enemy. All we need is a strong and deep faith in the power and authority of His Word. Doing this with all our hearts, all our soul and all our strength . . . we will endure the pain to turn it into joy everlasting with Jesus, the Christ.
Romans 8: 31-39
31If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is He that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Copyright 2009 Francis Abanilla (Melbourne)
El Shaddai House
Tel/Fax: (02) 9625 5333