Jesus was close with twelve individuals, known as disciples. These disciples, alternatively referred to as the Twelve Apostles, hailed from various professions and geographies, each one distinct from the next. Jesus invited them to step away from their ordinary lives and join Him in His divine mission. These followers were with Him during His trial, witnessed His miraculous healings, accompanied Him on His travels, and stood by His side as He bore His cross.
They used their experiences to help share Jesus’ teachings with others, so it’s important to note their backgrounds:
- Simon Peter (1) and his brother Andrew (2) were both fishermen. This means they caught fish in the Sea of Galilee. When Jesus asked them to follow him, they left their nets and did so. Peter later became a big leader in the early Christian church.
- James (3) and John (4), known as the sons of Zebedee, were also fishermen. They were among the first disciples called by Jesus. James was part of Jesus’ inner circle and was able to see some very important moments in Jesus’ life.
- Philip (5) was from the same town as Andrew and Peter. We don’t know what job he had before he met Jesus, but he was very important in the early Church. He told many people about Jesus.
- Bartholomew (6), also known as Nathanael, is a disciple whose job we also don’t know. But he was known for being honest and straightforward.
- Matthew (7) collected taxes for the Roman Empire. Many people didn’t like tax collectors because they often took more money than they should. But Matthew left that job to follow Jesus, and he wrote about Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness and mercy.
- Thomas (8) is known for a moment when he didn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. He said he needed to see and touch Jesus’ wounds to believe it. His job before he met Jesus is not known.
- James (9), son of Alphaeus, is sometimes called James the Less to avoid mixing him up with James, the son of Zebedee. We also don’t know what job he had before meeting Jesus.
- Thaddeus (10), also known as Lebbaeus or Judas son of James, is believed to have written part of the New Testament. His job before he followed Jesus is not known.
- Simon the Zealot (11) may have been part of a group that did not like the Roman rulers. If this is true, Simon would have brought a political perspective to the group.
- Judas Iscariot (12)was in charge of the group’s money. However, he is sadly best known for betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
Each Disciple and Their Occupation
|Job / Occupation / Background
|A Zealot, may not have had a traditional job, had a political leaning
|Possibly involved in banking or finance
Even though these men had different jobs and were not famous, their faith and their decision to follow Jesus helped form the basis of Christianity. Their stories show us that no matter what our job or where we come from, we can all play a part in spreading Gospel and love to others.