Jesus had dinner with his 12 disciples right before he died. Noted historian Madeleine Chapman finds out who really deserved to be there.
As you sit on your couch this Easter Sunday, eating a chocolate egg you know will never fully leave your ageing body, remember the true reasons for the season. Death, suffering, betrayal, and children’s joy. We all know the vague details surrounding Jesus dying on the cross to save us from sin, but what about the supporting characters? Were they cool like Jesus or did they just have nothing better to do with their time? No adult has that many friends so some of them must surely have been duds. Here, now, at last, is the definitive, canonical ranking of Jesus’s 12 disciples. Hallelujah.
12) Simon the Zealot
Having ‘zealot’ be an official part of your name is a spoiler that you were super annoying and nobody liked talking to you. Like a vegan who tries to sell veganism to you every time they see you eating a chicken nugget, Simon was a bit…intense. You just know he definitely started spouting some off-brand political theories after his third glass of water-wine.
Barthomelew didn’t do a lot in the Bible and basically just hung around Philip. After he died, the people of Lipari carried his statue through town. The longer they carried it, the heavier it got, and they had to keep putting it down. Seconds later, a wall further along on their path collapsed and would’ve killed them if they had been near it. This miracle was credited to St Bartholemew. I dunno, though. A heavy thing getting heavier the longer you carry it sounds a lot like…science.
10) James the Less
Have you ever come across a group of friends, gotten to know all of them on multiple occasions, then introduced yourself to a new face only to be told that you’ve met five times already? That forgettable face was James. He was even called James “the Less” which should’ve been enough for him to hand in his apostles badge and go do something else with his life.
9) Peter (born Simon)
Simon/Peter/Simon Peter, supposedly best friends with Jesus and haver of not just two first names but two boring first names. If your name is Simon and you want a different one, aim a little higher than Peter. Make people call you something ridiculous like “Danger” or “Cheese”.
Everyone thinks of Simon Peter as the OG apostle and the best one because he was the first to see Jesus rise again and was deemed “The Rock” of Jesus’s church. First of all, there’s only one “The Rock” and he’s Samoan. Secondly, let’s not forget that SiPetermon denied Jesus and acted like they weren’t even friends three times. So much for “ride or die”, Simon. If that even is your real name.
8) Andrew, brother of Peter
I feel for Andrew. Having eight older siblings means until very recently I too was most often referred to as “so-and-so’s sister”. It’s a savage burn every time and great motivation to do something interesting with your life. Unfortunately Andrew stayed boring and the best he could do was be related to Peter, who’s now heaven’s bouncer.
Matthew is the bad boy turned good. Also known as Levi (classic bad boy name), Matthew was a bad guy tax collector. Calm down, socialists, he was also cheating people out of money and running a scam. Tax is fine etc. Then one day he met Jesus and completely turned his life around. I know a lot of people who have a particularly tragic night out on Saturday and then show up at church on Sunday as new people. And much like my thoughts of Levi, I do not trust these people.
6) Judas Thaddeus, also known as Jude
I went to church every week for 18 years and had 11 years of Catholic schooling and this is the first I’m hearing of a second apostle named Judas. However, he’s the patron saint of lost causes and is therefore a #relatable #millennial #leader
5) John, brother of James [the Great]
He might be the “brother of James”, but John made himself known. He wrote five chapters of the Bible and Bible print is tiny so that’s like 40,000 words. Probably handwritten with dirt or something as well. Whatever the case, John had receipts. But also, imagine if the first time you were introduced to someone, they said you were “James’s brother” and then never stopped referring to you as James’s brother even though they knew your name was John. Still waiting for someone to publish John’s burn book that he definitely wrote.
When Jesus held his sermon on the mount and didn’t organise catering for his 5000 fans, it was Philip who asked him how he was going to fix the problem. This sort of pragmatism and interest in food is what ranks Philip so high. Otherwise he was incredibly underwhelming, so much so that he is now the patron saint of hatters.
3) James the Great
“James the Great”. What a name. If there are two people with the same name in a friend group they shall hereby be known as “the Great” and “the Less”, like the two Jameses were. James the Great was one of only three apostles to see Jesus’s Transfiguration, which was Jesus lighting up like a beacon and speaking to Moses and Elijah before being spoken to by God. Much like when you’re little and your parents drive a five seater, Jesus could only invite his three best friends to his Transfiguration party and James was one of them. Jesus referred to James and his brother John as “sons of Thunder” because of how angry they could get. At one point, they tried to call down heavenly fire on a town but Jesus told them no. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen my brother drunkenly try to call down heavenly fire on a bouncer who didn’t let him into a club so James sounds great.
Thomas is known as Doubting Thomas because he was the only apostle who didn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead. He only believed after he’d literally poked his finger through the holes in Jesus’s hand, which is gross. Though his doubting was frowned upon at the time, it’s admirable. He’s the only apostle who, if they were alive today, would be smart enough to not buy an Ab King Pro.
1) Judas Iscariot
Yeah I bet you thought Judas would be last, didn’t you. Judas is the Severus Snape of the Bible. You can’t help but hate him while reading and then you finish the last book and go oh, he had to be a dick or else everything would’ve fallen apart. Now we’re all free of sin thanks to Judas and also thanks to Hogwarts potions professor, Severus Snape.
Beside’s King Herod, Judas has the best songs in Jesus Christ Superstar because Judas is the closest character to a regular person so is allowed to be interesting. Perhaps the reason so many people claim to hate Judas is because deep down we all know we’d betray our friends with a kiss if a stranger paid us five weeks’ salary. We read books to escape our reality, not to look into a grim mirror. I await the day when calling someone a “Judas” means calling them a three dimensional person with flaws and temptations, who’s just trying their best #justiceforjudas
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