The Apostles were men selected by Jesus Christ to be sent out to tell the world about His life and work. . Apparently by design, the group was to be sustained at twelve in number. The original twelve were drawn from disciples that had gathered around Jesus in His first year of ministry.
Acting under the authority of their Master, these disciples were instructed to do any miracle that Jesus had been doing. However, in his absence they were ineffective due to a lack of faith. After Judas Iscariot defected and betrayed Jesus, subsequently killing himself, the Apostles were briefly known as "the eleven."
After Jesus had ascended into heaven, but prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit, Simon Peter called for an election to fill the vacant spot in the Apostolate. There were two men deemed eligible, so lots were cast (ballots thrown into a box) and the name of Matthias was drawn.
Later, a Pharisee named Saul, who had been persecuting believers, was struck blind by the risen Jesus from His throne in heaven. This encounter was used to convert the zealous operative to the cause of the new religion (known first as 'the Way").
A believer in Antioch by the name of Luke would become Paul's associate, and write an account of both the life of Christ and the Acts of the Apostles. In the Acts Luke would record the rise of the Christian "movement" in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Roman Empire. Concentration of the "inner circle" apostles -- James, John and Peter -- would dominate until Paul had been trained by Jesus. After the death of James, Peter would meet with supporters in Jerusalem and then disappear from the record as Paul emerged as the chief missionary for Christianity.
- Simon Peter
- Thaddeus (Jude or Judas)
- Judas Iscariot
- Matthias the Apostle
- Paul (disputed)