Because we’re coming up to Easter, I thought I’d do something different this week!
Can you name the 12 Apostles?
Well, obviously, there’s Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who have Gospels named after them – that’s four. Whoops, sorry, you can’t include Mark and Luke – they weren’t Apostles.
Well, from the Easter story we’re all familiar with Peter and Judas Iscariot. So that’s four we can name, we’re a third of the way there.
So who does that leave, mmmh!
There was Simon. Oh no not him because he’s already in our list – he’s also called Peter. So still eight to go.
There was Doubting Thomas – that’s five.
But who were the others. Well, there’s James who was John’s brother, and there was Andrew who was Peter’s brother – that’s seven. Just five to go.
So who are those last five? Bonus marks for anyone who remembers Bartholomew, James (the less), Philip, Simon the Canaanite, and Thaddeus.
So hang on, what about all those people who keep saying Jude – the patron saint of desperate causes. Yes he was an Apostle, but, apparently, he is also known as Thaddeus – mainly because early writers didn’t want him being confused with Judas Iscariot (hence the alternative name).
Which brings me nicely back to dealing with Judas Iscariot. Obviously he was an Apostle – one of the 12 – but you can’t imagine early Christians being too keen on including him in a list of revered Apostles! So who became the new twelfth man (if you’ll pardon a sort of cricketing metaphor)? In Acts it is said that following the death of Judas a new twelfth Apostle was appointed. He was called Matthias. He usually appears in lists of the twelve Apostles rather than the disgraced Judas Iscariot. However, some argue that only people actually sent out by Jesus could truly be called Apostles.
Troublingly, The Gospel of John also mentions an Apostle called Nathaniel (see John 1:45-51 and 21:2). Most authorities assume this is an alternative name for Bartholomew – so don’t worry about that one.
St Barnabas (who, confusingly, was originally called Joseph) is referred to as an Apostle in Acts 14:14. His claim to fame was introducing Paul (of road to Damascus fame) to the disciples in Jerusalem. And that’s the lot!
And for lots of bonus marks, can you name the thirteenth Apostle? Of course, there is more than one answer to this question.
Paul (of Tarsus) described himself as an Apostle following his Damascene conversion.
The Roman Emperor Constantine was responsible for making Christianity the official religion in Rome in the 4th century. He is often referred to as the thirteenth Apostle.
Plus, there’s also a long list of people who have brought Christianity to a some particular part of the world, who are referred to as the Apostle of somewhere or Apostle to somewhere else (for example St Augustine, the Apostle to England, or St Patrick, the Apostle to Ireland).
So, a much harder quiz than you might have thought. How many did you know?
If you celebrate it, have a good Easter next week. It’s back to mainframes in two weeks’ time.