by Pete Schrank
During a recent trip to India, one of my business colleagues who lives there and is not at Christian said to me, “Do you know that the Apostle Thomas was sent to India?” I answered, “Yes, ‘Doubting Thomas’ was sent to bring the message of resurrection and redemptions and is the Apostle to India.” I remembered that after Christ gave all believers the Great Commission and ascended into Heaven, the Apostles were sent to various regions to spread the message of salvation. Their mission was to increase the Kingdom of Christ to all the world.
This has been my most researched article I have written to date. I figured a quick Google search would tell me the 12 Apostles and where they were sent. However, not happening this time. After Jesus’ ascension and the giving of the great commission the Apostles were sent, but there was not definitive historic documentation as to where. As one web site proclaimed, “This sending was about the spreading of the Gospel, not about the messengers that were giving the message.” I remember from “The Purpose Driven Life”, worship is not about you but about God; we come to praise the Lord. So, you can see why complete documentation is not available. It wasn’t figured as the important aspect of the Great Commission.
Back to the sending of the 12. The Hebrew word “salah” is translated as “apostello” in the Septuagint and means “stretch out or send”. Some assign “Apostle” to the 70 plus believers that were sent after Pentecost. For the sake of this discussion we will use this to define the 12: Andrew, Bartholomew, James the son of Alpheaus, James the son of Zebedee, John (James’ brother), Mathew/Levi, Simon/Peter, Phillip, Simon the Zelot, Thaddaeus, Thomas, Matthius (replacement for Judas), and Paul/Saul. Oh, that is 13. It is taught by most Christian faiths that all the Apostles were martyred for taking this message to all that would listen. My research says that this may or may not be true because of limited historic documentation. Again, this not critical to the story I am trying to tell, the point is the sending of Christ’s message of salvation. Based on limited information, Andrew went to Georgia and Bulgaria. Bartholomew went to India and Armenia. James (not the person that wrote the book of James) was stoned in Jerusalem. James the son of Zebedee preached in Judea and was beheaded by Herod as found in the book of Acts. John preached in Asia and was exiled to Patmos, where he died of natural causes. Matthew went to the region that we now call Iran. Peter was missionary to Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy, Asia and as a martyr was crucified upside down in Rome. Phillip, they say, was sent to Turkey. Simon the zealot became the bishop of Jerusalem after James was killed. Thaddaeus was sent to Iraq and Syria. Thomas as stated earlier went to Afghanistan as well as India. Matthias, who replaced Judas, appears to have preached in and around Jerusalem. Paul was missionary to Croatia, Spain, and Italy.
2000 years later our mission remains the same. People often wonder what their gifts are and what their mission is while occupying this mortal coil. Most if not all the Apostles were simple hard-working men. They were humble and not pretentious in any way. Most were not formally trained as Rabbis or religious leaders. They were fishermen who helped change the world by what they did in their short time on earth. We should all look at these examples to understand our mission and our purpose.