Jesus Christ chose twelve men who would accompany Him in His ministry to carry His testimony of Salvation to the world, the twelve apostles. Before making His choice, he spent a night of prayer with the Father, to take such a relevant decision. The word apostle comes from the Greek “apostolos” - one sent forth as a messenger – the equivalent to an ambassador. This word would be the equivalent of the Jewish word “shelihim” used in the Old Testament for a prophet, an emissary of the Lord or a disciple. None of them was a priest, scribe or elder among the Pharisees or Sadducees. It is remarkable that the Lord did not choose any Jew linked to Israel’s religious leadership, although John was known by the high priest and he later became the fiercest follower of the Teacher and Messiah.

Why 12? The answer is the 12 tribes of Israel, that are the generational foundations of the Jews only, but the ministry of Jesus Christ was, first, a return of His people to God, in order to also take the true message to all nations. Without this previous step, which we could consider as a reform, it would have been impossible. In Jesus’ times, Israel was far away from the Lord and they rejected the Messiah, and the Jews without the Messiah cannot give testimony to the rest of the nations. Their separation from Yahshua the Messiah is shown in the history of the prophecies on Israel. The Lord had to start a new era with 12 new spiritual patriarchs, like Abraham, based on the faith.

The twelve apostles would accomplish the Lord’s purpose and would take the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to every nation, a work that is still enduring today and that continues to expand to every corner of the earth. The Bible has already been translated into over 200 languages and it is the “worldwide best-seller” year after year.

In the meantime, centuries have gone past and the Church in the world has become more and more divided each time, into different denominations. The faith that was once granted by the Lord is still in force, His Gospel continues to transform the lives of those who receive Him and filling them with hope and faith on the coming of His Kingdom, not only the eternal one but also the one that is amongst brethren who share the same feeling in the Church throughout the world.

The 12 apostles were an example, with their strengths and weaknesses, just like today we have our own, but I will try to focus on their character and history in order to learn the spiritual meaning of their lives consecrated to the Son of God and, hence, to the Father in the Holy Spirit that they received in Pentecost; the promise of the Father, like Jesus Christ said, lives chosen by God Himself.



We, as Christians who read the Bible during our lives, because It is alive and the Word of God, our guide of moral conduct and the base of our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, in Spirit, and with our neighbours, we can see the character of the 12 apostles, shown in the Bible, as exemplary lives, and compare them with our reactions and behaviour, like we do with other people in the Bible and the history of the Church. We will see that these 12 men were common and ordinary men, like any of us, but they believed in the Lord and followed Him for the rest of their lives.

To see their lives, let us first remember the 12 names: Simon Peter or Cephas and Andrew his brother, John and James, sons of Zebedee, also known as the Boanerges “sons of thunder”, these four were fishermen. Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew or Levi, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot or Cananite, Jude Lebbaeus or Thaddeus, brother of James, and Judas Iscariot. Matthew 10, Mark 3 and Luke 6. These were the first leaders of the Church, who would be followed by the first fathers of the Church. There are more apostles amongst the disciples of Jesus Christ but we will start looking at theses 12. To go into more depth about the first fathers of the Church there are many works on patristic.

All of them, except one, lied in Galilee of the Gentiles, Matthew 4:15, the land that had belonged to the tribe of Zebulun “dwelling” and to the land of Naphtali “my struggle”, …By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan…and only one of them, precisely the one from the land of Judah, Judas Iscariot, “from kiriot” close to Jerusalem, was the one who betrayed Him, an extremely meaningful fact. And this prophecy described in Matthew about the land of Galilee is also found in Isaiah 9:1-2 where the Lord tells us that it would be the land which would be privileged for having the Messiah, since it was… The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Since then, Jesus Christ started preaching and saying: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. The home towns of the apostles were in Galilee, such as Capernaum, Chorazin or Tiberias. Then the text goes on to explain how Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers.

Peter and Andrew, two brothers, were fishermen; The Father reveals to one of them that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and therefore he would be called “Cephas” or “Petrus” – rock. Andrew, the disciple of John the Baptist received the faith first. They represent two different ways of seeing Christ in a fisher of men. Peter was married, we know about the healing of his mother-in-law, surely he had children and led a normal and humble life. Andrew received the faith but Peter also receives the revelation. The Rock is the faith in Christ, like Peter himself teaches us, whom the church of Rome turned into a vicar or a representative of Christ on earth. A Christian must be able to discern this clearly, since as Peter himself explains in his epistle, he is not the rock of faith. The Church is built on the faith in Christ.

Peter walks on the sea, and although he sinks, he is brave, but the Lord would show him that his faith is weak: yes, the faith of the one who was the example of a revealed faith was sinking, because he doubted. He would have to go back on the boat with the rest of the brethren. Andrew was on the boat too. He was always watching over the disciples and the prophecies on the coming of the Lord, he is the one who asks Him when they would happen: His coming and the destruction of the temple. When Jesus Christ revealed Himself in deeply meaningful situations, He had three chosen disciples: Peter, James and John; and Andrew would be the one to keep the Lord updated about the Apostles’ congregation, as shown in John 12:22. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, he represents the spiritual experience, the knowledge of the prophecies, the law and the religion and although he leaves everything and he follows the Messiah, he does not do it like John does.

The three times when Peter denies Jesus Christ, Mark 14:26, would be confronted by the three times when Jesus asked him: do you love me more than these?...John 21. His three denials, seen on us, warn us about situations when we are under persecution, even to death, when we must be brave and pray, similar to the situations that Peter faced when he was recognized as one of the disciples when the Lord was arrested. It also reflects his constant need to confront things three times, when he is invited by the Lord to eat unclean animals which he had sanctified, in the vision of the sheet, referring to Cornelius the centurion. Acts 10:16. The Lord uses His patience with Peter, just like a good father does with his son when he finds it hard to fulfill things, and is hard to convince, but once he sees things clear, he fulfills them and the result is firm and decisive. The Father gave him the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, and these circumstances and his character did not stop it from happening. Likewise, we are blessed by God, with our strengths and weaknesses, and we do and will do great things of the Lord, because our heart is turned to the Lord, to the Church, to our neighbour and through our faith.

John and James, another two brothers, sons of Zebedee; another two fishers of men. Jesus named both of them the Boanerges – sons of thunder – probably because of their character. We must point out that the character of these two brothers in their strength turns into love and godliness, which have to be like thunderclap inside us. Another two experiences from the same source, in ourselves. John is the beloved disciple, the one who receives the closeness of the biggest revelation of the heart of Christ. He was with Jesus when He was arrested, he did not leave Him, he was the only one who remained next to Him, here and on the Cross, and he was known to the high priest, we can read it in the text about the interrogation in the courtyard of Annas, John 18:15. He was also the youngest, the more child-like, and therefore the one who receives more the Kingdom of God. Let us become like children!. The mother wanted him to be granted a great privilege, Matthew 20:20-21, and she was a relative of Mary the mother of Jesus. We must not put ourselves first. John would be next to the Lord facing the Cross, and would take care of Mary and her son Jesus would leave John to take His place as her son, to comfort her. John, the beloved disciple, had the most willing heart towards the Lord, and this is why he receives the most incredible and profound revelations and teachings from the Lord. No other author inspired by the Holy Spirit received as much as he did in such different fields as the spiritual and the prophetic one:  his gospel, the one that goes deep and straight to the heart like no other does, and Revelation, the biggest prophetical revelation, worthy of a son of thunder. This must be our attitude towards God. Let us be sons of thunder and worship, an allegory to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the fire, Matthew 3:11. His brother James is one of the three privileged ones who were in the most relevant events of the Lord. He would suffer martyrdom by the sword as ordered by Herod the king. Acts 12:2. He became the first one of the Apostles to suffer martyrdom. His character, godly as well as impulsive, like his brother John, would make them become disciples transformed by the Spirit.

Philip asks Jesus: … show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us, John 14:8…Even if it seems contradictory and a sign of impatience, Philip in his ignorance, lack of vision or revelation at the moment he asks Jesus about the Father, he does also show us his patience in wanting to go deeper into the teaching from Jesus. He waits to be taught, he is patient towards the Lord. This has got to be one of the qualities of our character: patience, even if we do not understand many of the things, we must wait on the Lord to be taught by Him, the real Teacher, through the Holy Spirit.

Bartholomew is linked by many sources to Nathanael, about whom the Lord said: ...Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false…Although Jerusalem is the spiritual capital of Israel, we know that salem means peace. Salem is the ancient name and the place where Abraham and Melchizedec “Christ” met. Genesis 14:8. A true Israelite carries peace, character shown by this apostle.

Matthew or Levi, the Rome tax collector, author of the Gospel that bears his name. Levi quits his work immediately and follows the Teacher and invites Him to have lunch at his house. You cannot ask a man for more determination, change and promptness. Matthew’s good will comes from virtue, a trait in our character that will make us be strongly determined on the Way of the Lord and our function in His Church.

Thomas or Didymus, twin, famous for his unbelief; the doubts of the Christian, the lack of faith many times in our life. But it would be his goodness which made his yield to Jesus definite. He was ready to die for Jesus when the Lord wanted to go back to Judea, John 11:7. Goodness exceeds unbelief, because faith is a gift from the Lord but goodness comes from the heart, and a good heart wins the Lord’s blessing. God gives faith to those with a good heart, because He weighs our hearts. The worst we can find are those who are non-believers and have an evil heart, those who plan evil in their heart; they are rejected by God. His confession when he saw Jesus resurrected and placed his fingers in the wounds of His side and hands is famous: …my Lord and my God…John 20:28

James, son of Alphaeus, known as James the less, in order to avoid confusions with John’s brother. Alphaeus in Greek and a translation of the Aramaic Cleophas, Luke 24:28, also possibly Matthew’s, Levi’s, father. Matthew 2:14: Although Matthew and James are not specifically referred to as brothers in the Gospels. Cleophas was the husband of Mary, mother of James, Joses and Salome, Mark 15:40. We do not know for sure about the work of James, but according to different sources he could be the one whom Paul mentions as the Lord’s brother, Galatians 1:19, brother or cousin, it is certainly a family where meekness is abundant. Tradition makes James the author of the epistle with his name and the first elder, bishop or patriarch of Jerusalem, although other sources say that it would not have been possible because he opposed Jesus at the beginning and because he did not believe in Him until His resurrection. James was the one who terminated the moral rules for the gentiles in the first Council of Jerusalem, Acts 15:19. He talks to us about meekness twice in his epistle 1:21 and 3:13and uses the teaching method of Jesus’ beatitudes in 1:12…Blessed are the meek…meek as a lamb.

Simon the Cananite or the Zealot. Zealots were a patriotic party which today could be identified with a political party in defense of the land of Canaan promised by God to the people of Israel. He was surely from Cana, so he could surely belong to a family or be under the influence of Jewish defenders against the occupation from Rome, a movement that was almost eradicated in Jesus’ times. His conversion would be a proof of his profound change of thoughts through the Spirit. Self-control or temperance.

Jude Lebbaeus or Thaddeus. Leb is the Hebrew root for heart, surely due to his good heart and Thaddeus comes from todah, praise. No doubt it is joy that we see as Jude’s character.

Judas Iscariot, from Judah, the traitor associated with the members of the Sanhedrin and the priests of the Law. Judas Iscariot is the religion, the tradition, the tribe of Judah that betrays their own Messiah. The treasurer, who loved money and robbed from the money bag of the Lord to the extent that he betrayed the Lord for money…For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10. Judas comes from Judea, from the land of Judah, the rest are from Galilee. Jesus belongs to the tribe of Judah. When Judas left the room, the true apostle disciples remain. I will obviously not choose any quality of character from him, since he lived in greed, robbery and betrayal. His pride did not allow him to ask for divine mercy.

Paul is not amongst the 12 first apostles who lived with Jesus Christ His ministry, but he is the apostle called directly by the Lord after His ascension. He would be a key pillar in the Lord’s project to take the Gospel to the whole world and, therefore, and although Judas is substituted by Matthias, Paul would be the one to have a fundamental relevance in the 12 pillars of faith and the character that the Lord marked in their spirits. Paul suffers a radical transformation from active enemy and persecutor of the Church, due to his zeal towards the Lord and the Law, to the fiercest preacher of Christ, risking his life on many occasions, ready to convert the world, as he did during his time and whose legacy today remains after 2000 years, just like the whole of the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord knew very well whom He was choosing, just like He does today. We will therefore take Paul as the apostle number 12 for the list of apostolic characters so that the Christian can learn to shape and build his own.

Paul would be the apostle of the knowledge of the Lord, as it is clear from his teachings. Educated in the strictest standards of the Torah, in the school of Gamaliel, a prestigious teacher and doctor of the Law of God, of Pharisee faith, the Jewish faith that believes in resurrection. All of this knowledge would be, at first, left aside in order to preach to the gentiles who knew nothing about the Torah, and Paul would have to live amongst Hellenistic cultures and various others with pagan deities and habits. It would seem as if the Lord was not using his knowledge, but through his teachings to the Jews he would create a link between Jews and Gentiles, as he was the one whom the Lord prepared to teach along the same lines as Jesus Christ Himself did, saying that the Gospel is not for the Jews only, but for every nation on earth. That the word of God has a spiritual meaning that transforms and that whoever comes to the Bible with the eyes of the Spirit finds Spiritual life. He would be the reformer amongst the apostles, just like the Lord Himself was to His own people.



Taking the two lists, the one of the fruits of the Spirit and of the divine nature, and going deep into the meaning of the words translated from the Greek Text in different versions, if we bring the two lists together and remove the matches, we will find the 12 apostolic characters which the two apostles Peter and Paul teach us in the Lord’s name:

Galatians 5:22. The fruits of the Spirit: Love (of God) or Charity, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering or Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance or Self-Control

2 Peter 1:5. Divine nature: Faith, Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance or Self-Control, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, Love (of God) or Charity.

NOTE: Mi intention with the following list of the apostles and the spiritual qualities is not to set a historical standard or anything like it; history does not provide absolute certainty about all the information on their characters and lives. However, my intention is to reveal that the Lord has provided His Church with these 12 qualities that the Christian must be aware of and study them in depth for his spiritual growth and life. This is the most accurate list we can compile with the information we have access to. Including Paul is obvious, for two reasons: as I mentioned before, he is the apostle whom the Lord chose directly and he is clearly the one who received the greatest gift of knowledge along the same lines of interpretation of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, being the one who completes the list of apostles.






JOHN son of Zebedee and brother of James


JAMES, son of Zebedee












JAMES son of Alphaeus


SIMON the Zealot or Cananite


JUDE Lebbaeus or Thaddeus


PAUL chosen directly by the Lord




Peter, James and John are the faith, godliness and love of God. They are companions to the Lord in the transfiguration, the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter and in the prayer in Gethsemane.

They are all seen on the boat, and in the triumphal entry in Jerusalem.

The 12 apostles would be in the last supper of the Lord in Passover, Jesus would wash the feet of all of them, but all of them except Judas would have the Holy Supper.

From here onwards, all of them are 11 and not 12 who would take Holy Supper and would receive the intimate and profound teaching in the last Passover, in John 13:31 until the end of chapter 17. Nothing less than the New Commandment, Jesus announces Peter’s denial; Jesus, the Way to the Father; The promise of the Holy Spirit; Jesus Christ, the True Vine; The World’s Hatred; The Work of the Holy Spirit; Sorrow will turn to Joy; I have overcome the world, and the magnificent prayer of Jesus for His disciples, for all Christians, of His time and future ones, for us, before He was betrayed, arrested, mocked, tortured, crucified and abandoned. All this precious wonder is shared amongst His closest friends, the 11, in the Holy Supper, 12 of them including Jesus. When we are with the Lord, when we feel close to Him, in the Holy Supper, amongst brethren whom we know well, this is when the Lord reveals His heart. But it is the Lord’s Heart and His fortitude that shine more in His heart when He faces the situation that He was going to go through a few hours later, and the depth of His teaching immediately before. This truly is having a heart placed on a determination, in a project of life and salvation, in mercy, in the work of God and the love towards us. The Lord would gain victory over sin, over death, He would resurrect, would reveal Himself during 40 days and He would be lifted up to the throne of Glory. Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ, our King. Maranatha.

Peter and John are seen on their own with the Lord on several occasions, without the rest of the disciples, not even James, John’s brother. These are the events of resurrection, when Peter and John are the ones who go to the sepulchre after the Marys. First it was Magdalene, the soul full of sins who has been forgiven and who loves the Lord, she is the first one to see Him resurrected. Peter receives the exhortation to …feed my sheep! and John the beloved disciple stays with them watching the conversation. Because faith and love from the Spirit are the necessary gifts to believe in the Lord’s miracles.

Jesus appears to 7 of His disciples when Peter did not fish anything in the whole night; John 21. Simon, Thomas, Nathanael, John and James, and another two. The power of Jesus Christ was needed for the fishermen to be able to fish. Similarly today, the Church does not fish if all of its gifts are not at work together with the power and the will of the Lord. A Church that is alive must have the pure Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the exaltation of Christ as King amongst the congregation, a healthy doctrine, worship and a heart of brotherly love for the brethren and the needed.

All of them, the 11, would be present when Jesus appeared, resurrected, when we see Thomas’ unbelief. And all of them, too, would be in the Great Commission and all of them in the ascension.


The legacy of the faith of the apostles is summarized in the famous Creed of the Apostles, base of the statement of faith of the whole of Christianity which could be transmitted as follows:

We believe in YHWH, Yahweh, God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy universal church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and eternal life. Amen.



The twelve men we have seen were common and ordinary men, just like any of us, not super-heroes, but blessed and chosen, showing us what the Lord can do when we are devoted to Him, since He is who makes us special, not us through our strength or personal resources, but through His Spirit inside us.

In a second part to follow about the Apostles, I will write about apostolic succession, taking the historical base of the beginnings of Christianity, the Bible. I will also approach the history of patristic and the controversy about apostles today, not only within the churches that appropriate the succession, but also in the ones of new neo-Pentecostal doctrine.

In the meantime, and as the Holy Spirit chooses those who are willing to serve Him, without the need of human, hierarchical or council authorization, as proved by the Bible in Acts of the Apostles, in the text about the beginning of the church in Antioch through apostles who are anonymous to us, although not to God (Acts 11:10 to 30), let us therefore be ambassadors of Christ wherever we may go, in our day to day, with the people we speak to in our daily life, since this is the true living apostleship. If the Lord Jesus Christ has bought with His Blood a nation of kings and priests, how will they not go out on His name? I refer to every true Christian.

In addition to the apostleship of the Christians, let us bear in mind James’ farewell: … Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins…

Are you Jesus Christ’s ambassador? It is your responsibility as king and priest, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.



  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Prophecy of Isaiah 9:6.

  • I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6. Words of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.
  • You want to know God, but you know the way is not through organized religion, nor by sects, nor by society. The world has failed. ...I pray for them;  I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours... John 17:9. Prayer of Yahshua - Jesus Christ.

  • If you really seek God, begin today the new life though the true hand of God. The Gospel is the message for all nations, no matter their race, their origins or culture. God is the saviour of those from humanity who open their hearts to Him.

  • ...Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  1Corinthians 15:58.

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