Our pastor is taking us through the book of John each Sunday morning. We recently read John 1:38-39 which reads,
Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
He saith unto them, Come and see.
Can you imagine what those simple fishermen were thinking when they agreed to follow Jesus? The miracles that Jesus worked during his ministry here on earth. Learning at the feet of the Savior of the Universe. The confrontations he had with the religious leaders. The long days of traveling by foot and the quiet times where Jesus and his disciples became close. I can’t even imagine what an amazing experience that was for them. And then watching as Jesus was arrested and crucified. The resurrection and the journey that each of them went on as they followed Jesus’ command to “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations”. Most of which were
Do you think that little band of followers had any idea how much their lives would be changed by that simple encounter?
All but John ended up martyred.
Peter and Paul were both martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, since he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
Andrew went to the “land of the man-eaters,” in what is now the Soviet Union. Christians there claim him as the first to bring the gospel to their land. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.
Thomas was probably most active in the area east of Syria. Tradition has him preaching as far east as India, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder. They claim that he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.
Philip possibly had a powerful ministry in Carthage in North Africa and then in Asia Minor, where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested and cruelly put to death.
Matthew the tax collector and writer of a Gospel ministered in Persia and Ethiopia. Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
Bartholomew had widespread missionary travels attributed to him by tradition: to India with Thomas, back to Armenia, and also to Ethiopia and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the gospel.
James the son of Alpheus is one of at least three James referred to in the New Testament. There is some confusion as to which is which, but this James is reckoned to have ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.
Simon the Zealot, so the story goes, ministered in Persia and was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace Judas. Tradition sends him to Syria with Andrew and to death by burning.
John, the only one of the apostles generally thought to have died a natural death from old age. He was the leader of the church in the Ephesus area and is said to have taken care of Mary the mother of Jesus in his home. During Domitian’s persecution in the middle ’90s, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. There he is credited with writing the last book of the New Testament–the Revelation. An early Latin tradition has him escaping unhurt after being cast into boiling oil at Rome.
John met Jesus again on the island of Patmos. What an emotional roller coaster that weary apostle experienced when he saw his friend and savior. John got a glimpse of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
But just as Jesus told those first apostles to “Come and see”, He is telling us the same. We just have to choose to accept His invitation and come and see what God can do.
All the best…