Catholic Courier

Posted: March 8, 2017

Jesus' followers

In the Bible, we read that many people who heard Jesus preach or who were healed by him began to follow him. We also read that some of his followers were called "disciples" and others were called "apostles."

What is the difference between Jesus' followers?

As Jesus' reputation as a preacher and healer became known, random people would follow him from town to town to hear him talk or in hopes of being cured by him. In Matthew 4:25, we read that "great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him."

Disciples were not just random followers. As Jesus traveled around Galilee, he called specific people to follow him and learn from him. The first people he called were Simon, Andrew, James and John.

As Jesus' ministry continued, he chose 12 men from among his disciples to be his best and closest assistants. In Matthew 10, we read that these men -- called apostles -- were sent on missions to preach God's word, and they were given "authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness."

The apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4. They were Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (the son of Alphaeus), Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean and Judas Iscariot.