Matthew 10: Jesus and the Twelve Dudes

One of my favorite children’s books with my son has been “Jesus and the Twelve Dudes.” By the age of five, he could tell me the names of all twelve of the apostles without missing a beat.

Matthew launches into chapter 10 by not only mentioning the list of the Twelve but what they were commissioned to do. These twelve guys were sent out two by two to teach, heal people, and cast out demons. This was not easy stuff! For guys who help regular jobs and had previously spent their free time sharing fish stories, preaching and healing was a stretch.

But Matthew shares this account in part to show the early authority these guys had. Despite one traitor (Judas Iscariot) and that they all deserted him on the night of Jesus’ betrayal, they had already spent significant time with Jesus and had even already started replicating his work in the surrounding area.

Again, of the Twelve, we know at least the following:

-At least four were fishermen for a living (Peter, Andrew, James, John)

-Philip was from the same town as Peter and Andrew (Bethsaida; see John 1:43-44)

-One had been a tax collector (Matthew)

-Bartholomew was usually listed with Matthew; maybe they were closer friends with one another than Matthew was with the other disciples?

-Thaddeus was also known as Judas (I would have gone by another name than Judas, too!)

-One was a political activist (Simon the Zealot)

-Thomas, called Didymus, was almost certainly a twin

-Matthew and James son of Alphaeus were probably brothers (compare Matthew 10:3 and Mark 2:14 where Levi (Matthew) was called son of Alphaeus)

-One was known as a thief and traitor (Judas Iscariot; “Iscariot” likely meant “son of Kerioth” indicating his hometown, likely here: View Larger Map [Google satellite map

Much more could be said, but what stood out to me was that Jesus chose a wide variety of people from different cities, vocations, and social circles to follow him. This is still certainly true today, as Christ calls plumbers, teachers, doctors, web designers, and every other kind of person in this world to follow him as Lord.

By God’s grace, he has called me, and hopefully you, to follow him as well. We will be called to uncomfortable tasks and difficult journeys, just as the Twelve. May we respond with “Yes” to whatever calling he gives today.


NOTE: Thanks for my new friend Timothy Dalrymple, associate director of content at, Patheos readers should soon begin seeing these posts under the Evangelical Portal of the site. Again, a big thanks to the team at Patheos. They have been a tremendous support every step of the way!


Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at

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