Disturbing Disciples

Messiah’s Thirteen – Can You Name ‘em?

Not a sequel to a sequel of a movie – but the dudes who went from fishing and taxes and revolutionary gangs and jobs about which we know absolutely nothing to changing the world.

But… Can you name which one’s which?

1. The Shouty One
2. The Go-between One
3. The Doubty One
4. The Naughty One
5. The Well-liked One
6. The Clumsy One
7. Not The Shouty One
8. The Money-grabbing One
9. The Friendly One
10. The One We Know Nothing About
11. The Fighty One
12. Not The Naughty One
13. The Replacement One

Answers (Matthew 12, Acts 1)

1. The Shouty One. James, nicknamed a ‘Son of Thunder’ presumably ‘cause he was ‘a bit loud’. (Mark 3)

2. The Go-between One. Andrew, only the guy who brought (drum roll) Peter (fanfare) to Jesus. Oh and he only kicked off the biggest miracle in history, the one with five thousand munchers and all the leftovers. He brought the kid with five loaves to Jesus. Often remembered as Peter’s brother. Maybe just a tad frustrating for a sibling? A little overlooked perhaps? (John 1 & 6)

3. The Doubty One, a.k.a. ‘The Twin’. Thomas, went down in history as the only one whoever doubted. Yea, right. (John 2)

4. The Naughty One. Judas Iscariot, of course. (Mark 14)

5. The Well-liked One. John. The disciple who was really close to Jesus, according to er… John.’(John 13, 2 & 21)

6. The Clumsy One. Peter, of course. Always making bloopers and putting his foot in it. Couldn’t even walk on water for goodness sake. Tried to do surgery on a servant in a garden. (Matthew 14 & 26, John 18)

7. Not The Shouty One. James, another one. a.k.a. the son of Alphaeus. As was Matthew as it happens, brothers maybe? (Mark 2 & 3)

8. The Money-grabbing One. Matthew a.k.a. Levi. Talking of the tax collector, here he is. The one who with most to lose. The one who couldn’t go back to work if the scheme went pear-shaped. It’s all right for them fishermen, they can just jump in the boat again, As in fact they did. Matt couldn’t. When you jump ship from working with the Romans they don’t welcome you back with a hug and a frappaccino. Notice the rest of the gang didn’t trust him with the money. They gave it to a much more reliable disciple – Judas. Ah… Bit of a snag there… (Mark 2, Matthew 9, John 12)

9. The Friendly One. Philip. Brought his mate Nathanael to meet Jesus. And also (oh dear) a bunch of Greeks – you know – outsiders. Strange people. Different ones. People not like us. You don’t want to go making friends with the likes of them, mate. Oh, too late. Philip’s already gone and done it. Oh dear. (John 1 & 12)

10. The One We Know Nothing About, Bartholomew. A.k.a. Nathaniel. He was the one who was er… alive. Yup. And a man. Unless that’s a false beard.

11. The Fighty One. Simon the Zealot. Zealots were probably a group of revolutionaries who liked nothing better than bumping off Romans.

12. Not The Naughty One. Judas. Ooh! Unfortunate name. Maybe he could also be known as Thaddaeus. Yes. Good idea.

13. The Replacement One. The one who stepped into Judas shoes. Hard act to follow? Er… no not really. So – time for Have You Got the Disciple Factor? Please welcome your hosts Peter, James and John. (applause and overblown music) And please welcome our two finalists – Barsabbas and Matthias. Only one can go through – which one will it be? Would it be Barsabbas or Matthias? Matthias or Barsabbas? Barsabbas or Matthias?
(Prolonged musical build, both look nervous, judges confer, the phone lines close, then Peter holds up the card with the result on it.)
This year’s winner of Have You Got the Disciple Factor is…. Matthias! Congratulations! Barsabbas – sorry mate. Maybe next year?
Just have to wait for another disciple to er… oh… let’s not go there… never mind. (Acts 1)

Messiah’s Thirteen –- Spot Those Deaths…

You know the names, you know the descriptions, now how did it all end?

Can you put a name to those deaths? Caution – you might need a cushion to hide behind.

1. Killed by a sword.
2. Crucified upside-down.
3. Died of old age on an island somewhere.
4. Skinned alive.
5. Crucified diagonally.
6. Crucified upside-down with his mate Bartholomew, but while he was on it he preached a sermon.
7. Possibly beheaded.
8. Unknown – possibly burned, stoned or beheaded.
9. Stoned and stabbed with a lance.
10. Definitely beheaded.
11. Sawn in half.
12. Died of old age in Rome.
13. Hung himself.

Amazing thing about these men – they separated and went all over the place, every one of them willing to die for the Messiah they met all those years ago in a little-known place going by the name of Galilee.

Answers… (according to legend and Wikipedia so it must be absolutely and unequivocally true)

1. Killed by a sword. James. Possibly by Herod in Jerusalem. Although one story claims he was clubbed to death in Egypt. And there are pictures to prove it! Not photos though, just painted ones.

2. Crucified upside-down. Peter. The nutter Nero took revenge for the firestarters in Rome by killing lots of Christians. Peter being one of them. If Nero wanted to catch the real perpetrator he should have looked in the mirror. And we think our leaders are bad cause they fiddle their expenses.

3. Died of old age on an island somewhere. John, probably on Patmos, after seeing the big screen bit of the Bible, a.k.a. Revelation. Worth noting that the one book in the Bible entitled ‘Revelation’ is the one we can’t understand. Maybe some pictures could have helped? Cartoons and a bit of video?

4. Skinned alive then crucified. Bartholomew. In Albania after converting the King of Armenia. The king’s brother was well-miffed. WELL-miffed. As you can tell from the outcome.

5. Crucified diagonally. Andrew. In Greece. Legend has it he requested to be crucified in an X-shape, because he didn’t see himself as good enough to die in the same way Jesus did. I reckon Andrew was a humble guy, often in his big brother’s shadow.

6. Crucified upside-down with his mate Bartholomew, but while he was on it he preached a sermon. Philip – and his sermon was good enough to get Bartholomew set free from the cross beside him. Now that’s what I call preaching.

7. Possibly beheaded. Matthew. Probably. Went a long way whatever. Converted Ethiopians, Macedionians, Persians and Parthians. Busy man. He is now the patron saint of bankers – which rather misses the point because… well… not to put too fine a point on it – didn’t he give all that up? Awkward.

8. Unknown – possibly burned, stoned or beheaded. Judas a.k.a. Thaddaeus. When he was in Syria with his mate Simon the Zealot. Spreading the gospel, not on holiday.

9. Stoned and stabbed with a lance. Thomas. In India. Which just goes to show you can be the biggest doubter in history and still go half way round the world converting people.

10. Beheaded. James. Herod Agrippa ordered it in Jerusalem. Both James are said to have been topped by this bad guy.

11. Sawn in half. Simon the Zealot. Actually – there are lots of theories. Sawn in half in Persia. Killed in a Jewish uprising by the Romans (because as a Zealot he was a revolutionary). Crucified in Samaria. And even… came to Glastonbury and got bumped off in the UK in Lincolnshire. Probably depends which first century newspaper you read.

12. Hung himself. Judas Iscariot (the naughty one). Also fell in a field and split open. Depends which way you read the story. Maybe hung himself and then the body fell. Bounced against a rock, flew up a little, spun in the air, got shaken up and burst on impact. A sticky end either way.

13. Died of old age in Rome. Matthias. Or crucified in Georgia. Or stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem. I know which one I’d choose.

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