The Apostle Judas Thaddeus, Anthony van Dyck, ca 1619-21. (Wikimedia Commons)
Pretty much everyone knows that Jesus had 12 original disciples. All three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) provide a list of the original 12. John’s gospel offers no list, but still refers to many of the disciples by name. The lists of the 12 are highly consistent within the gospels. However, there is one apparent contradiction that some critics like to highlight.
The Apparent Contradiction and Its Solution
The lists in Matthew (10:2-4) and Mark (3:16-19) each include a disciple named Thaddeus. In Luke (6:13-16), no Thaddeus is listed. A disciple named Judas, son of James is listed instead. The book of Acts (1:13) also omits Thaddeus and includes this person, Judas son of James. What’s going on, here? Continue reading
Any Christian case-maker will tell you that we should thank God for the hard lives and brutal deaths of the apostles. Why? Because they provide such a strong testimony for the truth of the gospels. As the reasoning goes, the apostles were in a unique position: They claimed to be first-hand witnesses of the resurrected Jesus, and they would have known if their claims were true or false.
Given their actions from the resurrection onward, they must have truly believed that they had personally witnessed the risen Jesus—and that he was the Messiah—or they never would have dedicated their lives to spreading the gospel at extreme personal risk and for no earthly gain. Therefore, the lives and martyrdoms of the apostles provide a powerful collective testimony to the truth of the gospel. Continue reading