The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us we have not yet suffered to the point of death as we strive against sin (Heb. 12:4).The apostles had it tough and we can learn from their sufferings. The following is the historical account of how they died.
Matthew is killed in Ethiopia by the sword.
Mark dies in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until dead.
Luke is hanged in Greece as a result of his dynamic preaching to the lost.
John the Beloved faces martyrdom in Rome. He is placed in a large vat of boiling oil, but is miraculously delivered. He is sentenced to work in the mines on the isle of Patmos, where he writes the book of Revelation. He is later freed and returns to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. When he is more than 90 years old, he passes away. He is the only apostle that does not die a martyr’s death.
Peter is crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. According to church tradition, this happens because he tells his executioners he is unworthy to die in the same manner as His Lord Jesus.
James the Just is a leader in the church in Jerusalem. For refusing to renounce his faith in Christ, he is thrown from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple. This is a drop of over 100 feet. He survives the fall but is beaten to death with a fuller’s club.
James the Great, the son of Zebedee, is a fisherman when Jesus calls him to minister. He becomes a strong leader in the Jerusalem church. According to tradition, the Roman officer who guards James during his trial watches in amazement as he defends his faith. When this officer later walks beside James to his execution by decapitation, he is overcome by conviction. Declaring his newfound faith in Christ to the judge, he kneels beside James and accepts being beheaded.
Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel) is a missionary in Asia. He witnesses for Christ in what is now the country of Turkey. He is martyred for preaching in Armenia where is he flayed to death by a whip.
Andrew, after being whipped severely by soldiers, is tied to an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. He is heard to remark as he is led to his cross, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour, for the cross is consecrated by the body of Christ.” He continues to preach to his tormentors for two days until he dies.
Thomas, during one of his missionary trips to India to establish the church there, is stabbed to death with a spear.
Jude is killed with arrows when he refuses to deny his faith in Christ.
Matthias is the apostle chosen to replace to traitor Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26). He is stoned and then beheaded.
Paul is tortured and then beheaded by the Emperor Nero in Rome in 67 A.D.
Our sufferings are comparatively insignificant when compared to that of the apostles. However, they are nothing at all when compared to the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. He assures us that we “shall be hated of all men for My Name’s sake, but he that endures to the end shall be saved” (Mt. 10:22).