The Twelve Apostles of Ireland and Their Legendary Miracles

The Twelve Apostles of Ireland and Their Legendary Miracles


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The original Twelve Apostles in the Christian religion are responsible for taking the faith and spreading it across the Mediterranean World. These are the Twelve Apostles who were among the original Judean followers of Jesus. A lesser known set of twelve saints referred to as apostles are the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, who were renowned for their study of the Bible as well as their devout lifestyle and role in spreading Christianity in Ireland. The Twelve Apostles of Ireland all studied under the same saint, Saint Finian of Clonard.

Who was Saint Finian?

Saint Finian was born around 470 AD. During his early years, he went to Wales to learn more about Christianity and studied under prominent saints in Britain. After this pilgrimage, he returned to Ireland where he wandered through the wilderness until he came to a location along the Boyne River where he was told he would rise during the final resurrection. It is here that he established the monastic school of Clonard. Many laymen, clerics, monks, and even some bishops were drawn to the holy man because of his devout lifestyle and a community built up around him.

Statue of St. Finnian of Clonard, teacher of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. (AFBorchert / CC BY-SA 4.0 )

The School of Clonard and the Twelve Apostles of Ireland

The school of Clonard flourished during Saint Finian’s lifetime and it was said that at one time there were as many as 3000 students. People would gather from all over Ireland and elsewhere to learn from the saint and listen to his sermons and lectures. Among these followers were twelve men who would later be called the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.

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Twelve of the most famous of Saint Finian’s students are the following:
Saint Ciaran of Saighir
Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnois
Saint Brendan of Birr
Saint Bendan of Clonfert
Saint Columba of Tir-da-glasi
Saint Columba of Iona
Saint Mobhi of Glasnevin
Saint Ruadhan of Lorrha
Saint Senan of Iniscathay
Saint Ninnidh the saintly of Loch Erne
Saint Lasserian mac Nadfraech
Saint Canice of Aghaboe

These men are known for having founded monasteries, churches, and being miracle workers. Here is just a sampling of stories told about some of them that have been passed down through the centuries.

St. Finnian and his pupils, Twelve Apostles of Ireland, in a stained glass window at the Church of St. Finian in Clonard. (AFBorchert / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Stories of the Miracles of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland

Saint Columba of Iona is said to have been able to turn water into wine. He also wrote 300 books and is said to have been kind to all, even the least intelligent of creatures. Saint Columba of Tir-da-glasi traveled to Tours, retrieved a sacred relic and brought it to Ireland only to die from a plague. Afterwards, he was buried in his own monastery.

Saint Columba, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, known as Apostle to the Picts.

Saint Branden of Clonfert, also known as Saint Branden the voyager, according to legend, went on a great voyage of seven years. During this voyage, it is said that he discovered a mysterious island paradise that was believed to exist west of Ireland. Saint Branden was accompanied by a company of monks.

This island continued to be searched for by explorers into the Age of Exploration. Originally, it was believed to be just west of Ireland, but as knowledge of the ocean west of Ireland increased, the island became more and more remote. In the early 19th century, the idea of finding his mysterious island was abandoned but it was replaced by an even more extraordinary legend. Instead of simply reaching a paradise island , it was suggested that Saint Branden of Clonfert had reached the Americas and made contact with the Native Americans.

Saint Branden of Clonfert, one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland, was known as the voyager.

Another famous saint considered to be one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland is Saint Ciaran of Saighir. Saint Ciaran is said to have studied both at the school of Clonard and in continental Europe, where he was ordained as a priest. Saint Ciaran is said to have had a love for animals. In one story, a hawk caught a baby bird and Saint Ciaran had pity on it and prayed for the hawk to release it. After the baby bird was released the saint healed it using prayer.

According to legend, animals would come to the saint asking to be healed and he would always heal them. Sometimes he would also discipline animals. In one legend, a fox stole his boots and the saint ordered the other animals to bring the fox to him. When the fox was brought to him, the fox confessed, and Saint Ciaran ordered it to fast for penance.

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The Legacy of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland

Irish identity has been strongly rooted in the Christian faith ever since the religion became widespread in Ireland after the 6th century. One of the reasons that it was so successful is that Christian missionaries in Ireland were able to incorporate Celtic elements into their Christianity so that their faith became yet another expression of Celtic religious consciousness rather than a foreign element.

The Twelve Apostles of Ireland were all wonderworkers and sages who were in touch with both nature and the spiritual world. Many also lived as hermits in the wilderness before becoming founders of monasteries and churches. This pattern makes them similar to the pagan druids that preceded them centuries earlier. They were Christian monks, but they practiced their monasticism in a very Celtic way.


Vinny Byrne, the most feared assassin sent by Michael Collins

One of the problems with the history of the Irish War of Independence is that so many of the participants never got to tell their story—some died, some remained mute—so many of the “facts” were told secondhand.

But there is one eyewitness who came forward to tell the terrible truth about what really happened in that pivotal year of 1920. His name was Vincent Byrne, Old IRA, and a member of the Squad, Michael Collins’ legendary “Twelve Apostles.”

I first came across Byrne in the RTÉ/BBC history of Ireland back in the 1970s. Vinny came on to the screen, a delightful little Irish gnome, laughing and telling tales. It was when he came to the events of Bloody Sunday that the shock began.

On November 21, 1920, at precisely 9 a.m., members of Collins’ Active Service Unit (ASU) Squad entered buildings, most in Dublin’s now trendy D4 postal district, and shot dead 14 members of the British Secret Service. Byrne’s assignment that morning was the building at #38 Upper Mount Street, a block removed from Merrion Square and framed by St. Stephen’s Church of Ireland, fondly known as “The Pepper Canister” because of its unique architecture.

Perhaps the best way to understand and appreciate Byrne’s contribution to the cause of Irish freedom—and to understand the strategy of Michael Collins—is to read his complete witness statement at the Bureau of Military History which Byrne gave on September 13, 1950. It is 75-pages long and it reads like a thriller.

Byrne joined the Irish Volunteers in January 1915 at the age of 14. He was a member of the Volunteers 2nd Battalion, Dublin South. One of his officers was Mick McDonnell who would become the first leader of Collins’ Squad.

On Easter Monday 1916, Byrne assembled on Stephen’s Green, ready to march over to Jacob’s Biscuit Factory and strike a blow for Irish freedom. When spotted by a Volunteer officer, he was told to go home, probably because of his age.

“I started to cry,” said Byrne in his statement, “because I was being sent home. I met section commander Mick Colgan on my way down Grafton Street and he asked me what was wrong with me. I told him what Lieutenant Shiels has said to me. He said: ‘Come along out of that, and don’t mind him.’ So I paraded at Stephen’s Green with the remainder of the company and was armed with a .22 rifle.”

Byrne spent the week in Jacob’s and with the surrender escaped to his home on Anne’s Lane, just off South Anne Street, near the top of Grafton Street. A week later he was arrested by the British at home and taken to Richmond Barracks where he was fingerprinted before being released about a week later with other youngsters, including future Taoiseach Seán Lemass, who would also be a member of the Squad on Bloody Sunday. (It is interesting to note that the rebels were fingerprinted, but no mugshots were taken, which would come back to haunt the British because they did not know what many of the key players looked like—especially one Michael Collins.)

In another ironic twist, a short six years later Byrne, then a Commandant-Colonel in the new National Army, would be the commanding officer of the same Richmond Barracks.

Byrne recounts how he became a member of the Squad after being recruited by Mick McDonnell: “‘Would you shoot a man, Byrne?’ [asked McDonnell] I replied: ‘It’s all according to who he was.’ He said: ‘What about Johnnie Barton?’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t mind’—as he had raided my house. So Mick said: ‘That settled it. You may have a chance.’”

Byrne goes on to relate his many adventures, including trying to shoot Lord French, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, on several occasions. He relates how they stole the Royal Mails to obtain intelligence as it related to the dealings at Dublin Castle.

By most historical accounts Collins set up his private ASU, his Squad, in September 1919. (There is an account of this in the movie Michael Collins where Collins is recruiting the members and says if you don’t want to join, it won’t be held against you. At the end of this meeting, a volunteer holds up his hand and says something to the effect: “Would we have gotten out of here alive if we said ‘no’?” Liam Neeson laughs and refers to his questioner as “Vinny.” Guess who the imp was?)

The idea behind the Squad was relatively simple. In collaboration with Collins' intelligence operation located at 3 Crow Street, its purpose was to identify and eliminate British spies and touts. Assassinations could only be ordered by Collins himself, or, in his absence, Richard Mulcahy, Chief-of-Staff of the IRA, and Dick McKee, commandant of the Dublin IRA brigades.

Members of the Squad hung out at various offices around Dublin called “Dumps” because that’s where they would dump their guns after a job. A frequent visitor was Collins himself, as Byrne recalled: “The ‘Big Fella,’ Mick Collins, visited us at least twice a week. Notwithstanding the enormous amount of work he undertook, he found time to visit his Squad. The moral effect of his visits was wonderful. He would come in and say: ‘Well, lads, how are ye getting on?’ and pass a joke or two with us. He was loved and honored by each and every one of us, and his death was felt very keenly by the Squad. I am proud to say that Mick stood by us in our hard time, and that every single member of the Squad stood by him in his hard times, without exception.”

Perhaps the highlight of the statement is his involvement in the events on Bloody Sunday. His targets that morning were a Lieutenant Bennett and a Lieutenant Aimes. They were living at 38 Upper Mount Street (the address is misidentified in the statement as #28). Byrne rounded up the two men and brought them to the back room. He stood them on a bed together. “When the two of them were together, I said to myself ‘The Lord have mercy on your souls!’ I then opened fire with my Peter [hand gun]. They both fell dead.” If that wasn’t enough excitement, Byrne and his men ran into a shoot-out with British agents as they were escaping. They exchanged fire and Byrne and his men got away.

Byrne relates many adventures, including the shooting—which dismayed and incensed Winston Churchill—of Alan Bell, the bank examiner brought in by the British to find Collins’ National Loan the elimination of Willie Dolan, a porter at the Wicklow Hotel who was a British tout [unbelievably Collins gave his widow a pension because she believed that he had been killed by the British] and the greatest Eamon de Valera fiasco—and triumph—in Irish history, the burning of the Customs House in May 1921, where Byrne narrowly escaped capture.

After the establishment of the Irish Free State, Byrne left the army, but remained active in Old IRA activities, serving as an ambassador to both sides of the conflict. Nearly one hundred years after his adventures, it’s a wonder that Hollywood hasn’t come a-calling to tell the story of Michael Collins’ most colorful Apostle, Vinny Byrne.


Who Were The Twelve Disciples (Apostles) Of Jesus?

The apostles of Jesus were called on different occasions by Jesus to aid in His own work, irrespective of where they were from or their varied professional backgrounds. Jesus saw the potential in them and told them He would make them fishers of men. We’ve seen in history how they were the founders of the modern churches as they spread the good news. Irrespective of their hard work the faced various persecutions in the delivery of Good News.

Andrew

Andrew was the brother of Peter and a son of Jonas. They lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum and were fishermen before he was called by Jesus to be one of the disciples. Andrew was among the inner circle in the time of Jesus and drew people to Christ and introduce other to the master. Andrew died in Greece in a town of Patra, a martyr as he was arrested and condemned by Governor Aepeas to die on the cross.

Bartholomew

He’s also known as Nathaniel and was the son of Talmai who lived in Cana in Galilee. He was from a royal family as his father was the king of Geshur, and whose daughter was the wife of David. Jesus called him a true Israelite in whom there’s nothing false. He was a great searcher of the scripture and died a martyr after being flayed alive with knives.

James, Son of Zebedee

James was the son of Zebedee and Salome and a brother of John the Apostle. He was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem. He was also a member of the inner circle and was accorded special privileges. He was a man who displayed the fruits of the Holy Spirit with an extraordinary faith. He preached in Jerusalem and Judea and was beheaded by Herod and became the first martyr among the twelve.

James, Son of Alpheus

James was the son of Alpheus and Mary and a brother to Jude, another apostle. He lived in Galilee and was one of the less known disciples but was a man of a strong character and was an exemplary and fiery man. He also died a martyr as his body was sawed into pieces and the saw became his apostolic symbol.

John was the son of Zebedee and Salome and a brother of the apostle James. He was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem. He is known as the beloved disciple was a member of the inner circle and close to Peter. He was a very ambitious man with explosive tempers and an intolerant heart. He wrote the books of John, 1st John, 2nd John 3rd John, and Revelation. There was an attempt on his life, but God spared him and died a natural death.

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. He is known as the traitor because he betrayed Jesus with a kiss to the hands of the enemy for thirty pieces of silver and hanged himself afterward. Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him before he even did it. He was a covetous man seeking to be recognized by the Governor.

Jude was also known as Thaddeus or lebbeus, and was a brother of James the son of Alpheus. He lived in Galilee, and little regarding him was known. He preached the gospel in many places, including the Euphrates river, healed many, and many others believed in the name of the master. He went on to preach the gospel and was killed with arrows at Ararat.

Matthew

Matthew was also known as Levi and was the son of Alpheus who lived in Capernaum. He was a tax collector, in the Jewish culture they were hated for being very unjust but still Jesus saw the potential in him and chose him. He wrote the Gospel of Matthew and also was the first man to write the teaching of Jesus in Hebrew language and laid down his life for the faith of the master.

Matthias

After Judas Iscariot had committed suicide, Matthias was selected to replace him. There is nowhere in the Bible that records that Matthias was with Jesus throughout his ministry. Another one under consideration Joseph or Barabbas but lots were cast, and Matthias was chosen. Historical sources indicate that Matthias spread the gospel on the shores of the Caspian. He lived till the 80 A.D.

Simon Peter

Simon Peter was the son of Jonas who was a fisherman and lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum. He was a member of the inner circle of Jesus, and he did his missionary and evangelistic work as far as Babylon. He was the author of two books in the Bible, namely 1st Peter and 2nd Peter. He was martyred on a cross, and he requested to be crucified head downwards as he was not worthy to die as his master.

Philip

Philip was from Bethesda, just as Peter and Andrew were. He becomes a living personality in the Gospel of John. He was the first man that Jesus told to follow him, and he believed that He was the one prophets described by Moses. He had a warm heart and a pessimistic mind, and very much desired to do for others but often couldn’t see how they could be done. He was hanged, and when he was dying, he requested his body be wrapped in papyrus, not in linen as Jesus was.

Simon the Zealot

Little regarding the life of of Simon the Zealot is known outside of what is recorded in the Bible. He was a Canaanite who lived in Galilee. He was a zealot and Zealots were fanatical Jewish nationalists who had heroic disregard for suffering involved and the struggle for what they regarded as the purity of their faith. But in the end, he emerged as a man of faith and died a martyr and saw that God would have no forced service.

Thomas

Thomas Didymus lived in Galilee and was a pessimistic and bewildered man, yet one known for his courage. He could not believe until he had seen, but during the resurrection of Jesus, his doubts turned to faith after seeing the risen Christ. After all these, he was commissioned to build a palace for the king of India and was killed with a spear as a martyr for his Lord.


Influence of the Apostles Today

The names of Jesus' apostles have become the most common names for males in the Western world. How many do you know named John, Pete, Tom, Andy, Jim, Bart, or Phil?

At least four of the apostles were fishermen. Can this be part of the reason that one of the earliest and most prominent Christian symbols was the fish? The Greek word for fish, ichthus, formed an acrostic: Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter, which means "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior."

After the death of the apostles, we do not find great missionary figures of the stature of Paul. Yet the faith continued to spread like wildfire -- even though Christianity was declared an illegal religion.

No professional clergy: None of the apostles were called from the priesthood or the "professional clergy" of Jesus' day.


1. Peter

Also known as Simon, Simon Peter, or Cephas (Rock), Peter was a gregarious, natural leader, and an obvious spokesperson for the twelve. Peter’s name is mentioned far more in the New Testament than any other of the disciples. He was the older of the two brothers and the only married disciple. (Luke 4:38) His wife was known to travel with him when he was on mission. (1 Cor. 9:5) His assignment was to bring the Gospel to the circumcised. (Gal. 2:7)

Peter is well known for denying Christ three times after Christ was arrested. After his own arrest many years later he requested to be crucified with his head down. He didn’t believe he was worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. He died a martyr’s death in Rome during the reign of Nero. Some speculate around the same time as Paul was being beheaded.

Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock


Did Peter write any books of the Bible?

Peter didn’t write any of the four gospels himself, but he plays a major role in all of them, and tradition holds that the Gospel of Mark records Peter’s account of Jesus’ ministry through his companion, Mark the Evangelist, who’s widely believed to be the same person as John Mark.

Two books of the Bible claim to be written by Peter (1 Peter and 2 Peter), but scholars debate about whether he wrote them himself or dictated them to a secretary, or if he even wrote them at all.

Numerous apocryphal texts claimed to be written about (or even by) Peter, but the church rejected them as inauthentic, though some of them recorded important information.


Miracles of Jesus' Apostles

Miracles Of Jesus' Apostles Bible Verses:
Peter prayed, "Now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus." When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:29-31 NHEB.

Previous Bible study lesson: Jesus Heals Shame #6.15

Preliminary Bible Study Questions:
1) What is an apostle?
2) Who were Jesus' Apostles?
3) Did St Paul the Apostle perform miracles?

Have you thought much about the Apostle's miracles?

What great signs, wonders, and miracles did they perform?

Today's lesson will compile the biblical list of the apostle's miracles from the Bible. Then a more in-depth look into the events will take place.

Finally, the principles gathered from the biblical accounts of the Apostle's miracles will instruct us about God's nature and the work of his true Apostles.

You'll find this lesson enlightening and edifying, so, let's get started. But first, do you need a miracle? Join our (click) Personal Miracle Prayer page. Finally, we would all LOVE to hear about a miracle God has performed in your life, share your miracle (click) here.

Jesus' Apostles

All of the Bible's official disciples were also Jesus' apostles, with the obvious exception of Judas the Betrayer. But, did you know that not all apostles were one of Jesus' 12 disciples? The terms "disciple" and "apostle" are not synonyms.

Simply put, the term "disciples" refers to learners or students while, the term "apostles" refers to messengers. However, there is some crossover with the two designations in the New Testament.

We studied Jesus' 12 Disciples (click) here. Did you realize that they were all elevated to apostles after Pentecost, sans Judas Iscariot? This lesson will focus on Jesus' apostles but more specifically, the apostles' miracles.

For a little fun, know that Jesus himself was never referred to as a disciple but, he was referred to as "God's Apostle" (Hebrews 3:1), because of his function as God's special messenger to the world. 

Here's a definition of apostle: A special messenger of God: a person to whom Jesus delegated authority for certain tasks (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, editor: Ronald Youngblood, Nelson Publishing, Nashville, 1995, p. 91).

True apostles personally met Jesus Christ, which is also one of the criteria the Bible compilers used in justifying the approved authors and books of the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:7-8).

Paul tells us the early church had a "test of apostolic authority" (2 Corinthians 13:6). He didn't reveal the specifics of what the test included however, one test of a true apostle was the fact that they always stood for the harmonious truth of God's plan of redemption (1 Corinthians 15:11 2 Corinthians 13:8). Another test of apostolic authority included God's working of signs, wonders, and miracles through the men (2 Corinthians 12:12)
 
Here is a partial list of Jesus Apostles:
Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, son Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Matthias, Paul, Barnabas, Stephen, and James, brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19). There were undoubtedly many more men called as apostles in the New Testament era.

The apostles, based on a strict New Testament study, were limited to the first generation of Christians. They are tied to the prophets who established the household of God (1 Corinthians 12:28 Ephesians 2:20 4:11).

The apostles were not permitted to transfer their position, nor could they ordain new apostolic authority upon later Christians. They did, however, pass on the gospel through their writings, which form the New Testament Canon. Apostles were personally chosen, called, and commissioned by Jesus Christ himself (John 15:16).

Jesus also personally selected his own apostles to write his word, aka the Bible, to the future generations of Christianity (2 Peter 1:19-21 2 Timothy 3:16-17). No one, therefore, currently has the authority to declare him or herself, or anyone else, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Let's now delve into the miracles of Jesus' apostles.

Miracles of Jesus' Apostles

All of Jesus' apostles were ordinary men, with no exceptions (Acts 4:13). Like us, they had personal strengths and weaknesses and both good and bad days. Some were simple fishermen (e.g. Peter, Andrew, James and John), one a despised tax collector (i.e. Matthew), one a murderous zealot trusting in Judaism (i.e. Paul), etc and all were very young, strong men. In short, all of Jesus' apostles were sinners saved by the grace of God.

God prepared some amazing miracles for these men to perform at the most crucial time in the establishment of Christ's Church (Ephesians 2:10). Don't ever forget the biblical truism, "ALL miracles are God's miracles."

Early in Jesus' ministry, not long after choosing his 12 disciples, he commissioned his apostles for a short mission to the Jews, "Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!" (Matthew 10:7-8). The disciples followed instructions and returned, sharing about all the great miracles they performed (Luke 9:10).

Soon, Jesus sent 72 disciples from his broader following on a similar mission (Luke 10:1). They returned excited, saying, "Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!" (Luke 10:17). Jesus told them to calm down, because it's more important that their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Luke 10:20).

One can only imagine the great miracles the disciples performed during these short mission trips (Mark 6:12-13), because details aren't given us. However, the Lord did gift us with the Bible's Acts of the Apostles, which we can search for the accounted miracles of the apostles.

Peter tells us why the apostles had these extraordinary powers, "And the Father, as he promised, gave Jesus the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today" (Acts 2:33). We'll start the list with a miracle Peter performed on the Sea of Galilee.

List of the miracles of Jesus' Apostles:

  • Peter walked on water (Matthew 14:28-31).
  • All believers spoke in foreign languages (Acts 2:4).
  • Many signs and wonders performed (Acts 2:43 5:12).
  • Peter & John healed the lame man (Acts 3:1-11 3:16).
  • Peter's shadow fell on the sick, healing them (Acts 5:15-16).
  • Stephen performed amazing miracles and signs (Acts 6:8).
  • Philip cast out demons and healed the lame (Acts 8:7 8:13).
  • Peter & John laid hands on believers who then received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
  • Peter heals lame Aeneas in Lydda (Acts 9:32-35).
  • Peter raised Tabitha, aka Dorcas, from the dead (Acts 9:36-43).
  • Paul cursed and blinded the blasphemous Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:11-12).
  • Paul & Barnabas performed signs and wonders in Iconium (Acts 14:3).
  • Paul & Barnabas healed the crippled man who had faith (Acts 14:8-10).
  • Paul & Silas cast a demon out of a fortune telling slave girl (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Paul given extreme power for many unusual miracles. People touched him with aprons and handkerchiefs and laid the cloths on the sick and demon-possessed, who were then healed (Acts 19:11-12).
  • Paul raised Eutychus from the dead after a terrible accident (Acts 20:9-12).
  • Paul unharmed by poisonous snake bite in Malta (Acts 28:3-6).
  • Paul healed Publius' father of fever and dysentery (Acts 28:7-8).
  • Paul healed all sick people on the island of Malta (Acts 28:9-10).

One can't help but notice all of Paul's miracles. Most people would have turned proud and bragged about such great works. Let's discuss this matter of the temptation of pride further.

Apostle Paul's Miracles

Paul didn't write much about his miracles (Luke wrote Acts) in fact, he rarely ever mentioned the topic, even when writing about Jesus. One exception was to the Corinthians when he had to defend himself against the self-proclaimed "super-apostles" (2 Corinthians 12:11-12). 

But, often, he would speak of the source of power for his great service to God, "We now have this light shining in our hearts but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves" (2 Corinthians 4:7). He later said, "If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord" (2 Corinthians 10:17).

If anyone could have boasted about performing great signs and wonders it was Paul. God knew that any human with as much power as was given Paul would corrupt the miracles and corresponding message, and accept praise for such great works. So, God gave Paul a little reminder to stay humble.

Paul said, "If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won't do it, because I don't want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message" (2 Corinthians 12:6).

He shared further, "So to keep me from becoming proud I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud" (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Paul hated the thorn, whatever it was, actually begging God three different times to remove it. Personally, but not dogmatically, I believe this to be a demon who constantly attacked Paul's self-image and self-respect, continually revealing Paul's failures to himself. Regardless of what or who it was, Christ told Paul, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).

St Paul the Apostle then explained why he took pleasure in all his weaknesses, including the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles he suffered, "Because when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).

In other words, when Paul's weaknesses struck him down, then Christ's power lifted him up and became evident in Paul's preaching and miracles. The same spiritual principle works in our lives. when we stay low and humble Christ shows his great power in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

Reasons for Jesus' Apostles Miracles

Jesus' main reasons for performing his own miracles were to glorify God the Father and announce that the Kingdom of God had arrived in the flesh (i.e. the Son of God).

Both Jesus' teachings and miracles were witnesses to who he truly is, the Son of God and Savior of the world (John 5:36).

In essence, Christ's miracles happened to be an expression of salvation.

Is there any reason to think that Jesus' apostles had differing reasons for their miracles? Not at all.

Jesus' apostles main reasons for performing miracles were to glorify God and his Son, and also the Kingdom of God. Miracles are attention-getters and great works of authorization for the gospel message, of which the apostles were the prime conveyors.

Both the apostles and the gospel needed authentication, which the amazing signs, wonders, and miracles provided in full (Acts 14:3). The apostles' miracles verified the gospel message, which says that Jesus forgives the sins of those who repent and believe in him (Acts 17:30-31).

Here is the commissioning statement Jesus gave his messengers, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NHEB). The miracles are truly performed by the Holy Spirit, not the apostles, so again, to whom should the glory be directed? That's right, to God Almighty.

Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" John 14:12-13 NHEB.

Miracles also brought fear into the hearts of people. When God struck and killed Ananias and Sapphira through Peter great fear swept through the hearts of both believers and unbelievers. God's immense power, demonstrated in the apostle's miracles, was causing great fear and chaos throughout Jerusalem and the surrounding area (Acts 5:1-11).

A healthy fear in the heart of a soul leads to the admiration of the Lord (Psalm 111:10) and submission to God Almighty (Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:1-4).

Another critical reason for why God worked miracles through his apostles was to strengthen the believers (e.g. Acts 14:21-22 2 Corinthians 12:19). Further, Paul told the Corinthians directly that he wanted them to repent of their impurity, sexual immorality, and lustful pleasures (2 Corinthians 12:21).

In other words, Paul, his message, and his challenge was for his listeners to hear and believe the message, and prove it through their obedience to God. Obedience to the Scriptures leads to a strong spiritual life.

Still, today, in all these ways and for all these reasons God showed his greatness through miracles. First, through the Prophets of old, like Moses and Elijah then through Jesus himself and finally, through Jesus' apostles. These miracles are for your benefit, so that you are drawn to God through his Son, Jesus. That fact should make you feel important, because you really are.

Denying God's miracles, since they are his, is denying God himself. Denying God's miracles, is denying his Son. Denying God's miracles, is denying and blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which is the ONLY unforgiveable sin. Denying God's miracles also denies his Holy Word, the Bible (Mark 8:38). In fact, denying God's miracles is equivalent to calling God a liar and results in the eternal destruction of your soul (Matthew 11:20-24 John 15:24). 

The call goes out to you, my dear friend. Repent and turn to God in faith, submitting to Him and his Word.

Grasp This!

The following verse is critical for understanding why God worked miracles through his apostles:

Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that we heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation — which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard (i.e. apostles). God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? Hebrews 2:1-4 NHEB.

There's a message that God wants spread around the world, and this is it: The Good News proclaims that Jesus Christ died for our sins. All those who repent and believe in his name will be saved (Acts 20:20-21).

Not to diminish God's miracles, but the most important thing to grasp is God's gospel of love and forgiveness. The supernatural phenomenon of miracles is spectacular and glorifies the Lord however, the salvation of a spiritually dead sinner by God's grace is his greatest miracle, which Jesus' Apostles would wholeheartedly affirm.

Has it sunk deep into your soul yet? Do you realize that you must experience God's forgiveness ABOVE ALL ELSE?

If so, and you've been saved, you're blessed, because not many people do come to realize God's amazing miracle of salvation (Matthew 22:14). This leads us to the second most critical thing in your life. You're called not simply to receive God's forgiveness, but to proclaim the same gospel to the rest of the world.

We'll cover that in our next lesson: Present Day Miracles #6.17.

Miracles of Jesus' Apostles Discussion Questions:
1) Why do God's awesome miracles make humans fear him? What kind of fear is in play here? (see Proverbs 9:10).
2) What does the incredible story of Simon the Sorcerer display about God's power and miracles? (see Acts 8:18-25).
3) What is one to think of present day "apostles" who claim to perform miracles? (see our next lesson for in-depth discussion).

Miracles of Jesus' Apostles Bible Verses:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-2 15:4-5 NHEB.

Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 NHEB.

Miracle Prayer:
Dear Lord, I bow before you, fully amazed at your awesome power. We deserve ruin because of our sin, but you have patience and mercy on us, O God. Thank you. Forgive us of our rebellious nature and unrighteous ways. Heal us from the disease you call sin. Lord, knock out our pride so we can be presented to you as a bride to her husband. In Christ's name, Amen.

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How did Bartholomew die?

Pretty gross, right? But there are other records of his death, too.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs claims that in India, “He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.”

The Golden Legend notes several accounts:

“There be divers opinions of the manner of his passion. For the blessed Dorotheus saith that he was crucified, and saith also: Bartholomew preached to men of India, and delivered to them the gospel after Matthew in their proper tongue. He died in Alban, a city of great Armenia, crucified the head downward. St. Theoderus saith that he was flayed, and it is read in many books that he was beheaded only. And this contrariety may be assoiled in this manner, that some say that he was crucified and was taken down ere he died, and for to have greater torment he was flayed and at the last beheaded.”

Another tradition claims he was beaten unconscious and drowned in the ocean.

However Bartholomew died, it was probably pretty gruesome. But while they may not agree on the manner of his death, all of the traditions connect Bartholomew’s death to his ministry. Now, if only they could all agree on where that was.


Twelve Apostles


Upon commencing His three year Ministry, Jesus of Nazareth called many to follow Him. There is a group of men who are recorded by name as the Twelve Apostles- those hand-picked by Jesus to learn from Him so that they may, in turn, tell others about Him (to evangelize). New American Bible footnotes in Matthew 10 define the word apostle as "one who is sent."

These chosen twelve are Simon (Peter), James (son of Zebedee), John, Andrew, Philip (not to be confused with the Philip mentioned in Acts 8 and 21), Bartholomew (Nathanael), Levi (Matthew), Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Jude (Thaddeus), Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.

The infallible Holy Scriptures tell us that many others who were following Jesus in His Ministry ended up falling away from Him ( John 6:64-66 ). Unfortunately, this continues to happen present day. However, the original 12 Apostles learned "The Way" directly from Jesus and, as they witnessed Him perform many signs and miracles, they proclaimed He was the Messiah, the living Son of God.

As much as they witnessed first hand, even the faith of these men who walked in the very footsteps of Jesus was shaken when He was falsely accused of blasphemy and arrested (initiated by the betrayal of Judas). Only one Apostle- John- was known to have been at the Cross when Jesus was crucified and died. The rest scattered, as another Old Testament prophecy ( Zechariah 13:7 ) was fulfilled ( Matthew 26:31 , Mark 14:27 , John 16:32 ) by Jesus Christ. For a complete listing of all prophecies fulfilled by Christ, to include a printer friendly document, explore http://stmarymysticalrose.org/jesus-ot-prophecies .

The Good News for us is that Jesus defeated Sin and Death at His Cross! Amen! After rising from the dead, but before He ascended to the right hand of His Father in Heaven, Jesus gave one final command to His Apostles and to all who proclaim Him as their personal Lord and Savior:

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" ( Matthew 28:19-20 , Mark 16:19-20 , Luke 24:36-53 ). This is known as "The Great Commission."

Just where did these obedient and Holy Spirit-filled Ambassadors of Christ go to preach and teach the Good News of repentance and salvation? As they accomplished their supernatural feats a few thousand years ago, many accounts of who went where and when are sketchy and unconfirmed. But, we have compiled some resources and have listed them in this document. The accompanying chart also lists where, how and when the Apostles may have died. As it was illegal to be a practicing Christian in the first century (and still is today in many world regions), Church teachings share that all of the original Apostles (except for John & Judas) died horrific deaths for refusing to rebuke the teachings of Jesus. Accordingly, they are called "Martyrs."

After the death of the original Apostles, we do not find great missionary figures possessing the stature of Paul. Yet, the faith continued to spread like wildfire for about 400 years after the Ascension of Christ. what do you think we need to do to get that same fire burning again today?

Check out the charts below for much info. for a printer friendly version of this page, please click on the PDF document provided in the sidebar!


Watch the video: Twelve Apostles