What is a disciple?
A disciple is someone who follows and learns from Jesus in order to obey his commands, develop his character, and imitate his life.
Here are brief descriptions of each of the 12 disciples of Jesus. For a much fuller treatment, try this list of the 12 disciple names, and what they did.
1. Simon Peter: Also known as Simon, he was a fisherman from Bethsaida and brother of Andrew. He was a prominent disciple and leader among the apostles.
2. Andrew: Simon Peter's brother, he was also a fisherman from Bethsaida. He was known for bringing people to Jesus, including his own brother.
3. James, son of Zebedee: He was one of the Sons of Thunder, along with his brother John. He was a fisherman and one of Jesus' closest disciples. He was the first apostle to be martyred, killed by King Herod in Jerusalem.
4. John, brother of James: Also known as the Beloved Disciple, he was a fisherman and one of Jesus' closest friends. He is believed to have written the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation.
5. Philip: He was from Bethsaida and was known for his practicality and his ability to bring people to Jesus. He is famously asked by Jesus to feed the 5,000.
6. Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael): He was from Cana and was one of Jesus' disciples from the beginning. He is believed to have preached in India and Armenia.
7. Thomas (whose nickname was Didymus, which means "The Twin"): He was from Galilee and is known for his doubt regarding Jesus' resurrection. He is famously called Doubting Thomas, but later became a devoted follower of Jesus.
8. Matthew (also known as Levi): He was a tax collector before he became a disciple of Jesus. He is believed to have written the Gospel of Matthew.
9. James, son of Alphaeus: He is sometimes referred to as James the Less or James the Just. Not much is known about him, but some say he was a relative of Jesus.
10. Thaddaeus (also known as Judas, son of James or Lebbaeus): He is sometimes called Judas (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot) and is believed to have preached in Syria and Persia. He is one of the least known disciples.
11. Simon the Zealot: He was from Cana and is believed to have been a member of the Zealot movement, a political group that sought to overthrow Roman rule in Palestine.
12. Judas Iscariot: He was the disciple who betrayed Jesus to the authorities for 30 pieces of silver. To this day he is synonymous greed and treachery.
Here's a more full version of the 12 disciple names, and what each one is known for, along with key Scripture references about them.
Can anyone be a disciple of Jesus?
The 12 disciple names listed here are not the only disciples that existed, either in Jesus' day, or now! A disciple is anyone who follows and learns from Jesus in order to obey his commands, develop his character, and imitate his life.
The common thread of all disciples is not their ability, or talent, or background. The 12 disciple names here were not bound together by their similarities, but their differences.
Then, Jesus commanded these men to "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, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
This means that the door of discipleship has been thrown open to you, and all who are willing to believe in Jesus enough to follow after him.
A disciple isn't just one of the 12 followers of Jesus, it isn't just the 12 disciple names here... it can be YOUR name as well.
How can I be a disciple?
If you're interested in following Jesus, you'll need to invest in learning his ways, obeying his commands, developing his character, and imitating his life.
I'd recommend learning how to start by learning the highlights of the Bible, the word of God, and developing spiritual disciplines of prayer, community, and the Word like jesus taught his disciples.