Last week, we celebrated (or mourned) the death of Christ as Christians remembered it from April 18-21. It was a big break for politicians from the sizzling campaign summer heat with temperature soaring up to 43 degrees.
A TV network showed the death and resurrection of Jesus through “The Bible,” the story of Jesus as He was given by Pilate to the people for crucifixion. The scene was so gruesome that my housemates cried when he was tortured and then nailed on the cross.
One side story here tells of Peter denying Him three times, then the cock crowed. In fact, only Peter and Judas Iscariot had significant parts in this film; where are the other apostles? Or what happened to them after Jesus died or “climbed up to the heavens.”
How did the 12 apostles die? And what happened to Pilate afterwards?
A research reveals the following:
Bartholomew, who preached in several countries including India, was skinned alive and beheaded in Derbent where a local king, angered by his people’s conversion to Christianity, ordered the apostle’s execution. His bones are kept in the Basilica of St. Bartholomew in Rome.
James the Less was stoned and clubbed to death. He was believed to have preached in Damascus (Syria) and was the first bishop of Jerusalem where he angered the Jews who stoned him to death and was finished off by someone who bashed his head.
Andrew preached in several places including Georgia (Russia), Istanbul, Macedonia and Greece where he angered the governor of Patras for converting his (the governor’s) family. He was crucified, tied upside down in an x-shaped cross from where he preached for two days before he finally died. His remains are partly in Constantinople, in Scotland, and his skull remains in Patras.
Peter fled Jerusalem when King Herod Agrippa I started to persecute the Christians in Jerusalem. He preached in Judea and Antioch and then went to Rome where he converted thousands to Christianity. This angered Nero who made the Christians his form of entertainment by feeding them to the lions or dogs at the Coliseum. Peter, who refused to renounce his faith, was crucified, at his request, upside down.
Thomas was impaled by a spear. He preached in India and was martyred there, in Mylapore, where the local king condemned him to death who thought Christianity disrespects the Brahmins and their caste system.
James the Great was beheaded. He was John’s brother and he preached in Spain. When he returned to Judea, Herod had him beheaded: his body was brought back to Spain, buried in the area where the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is located.
Phillip preached in Greece, Syria and Turkey and finally in Egypt where, in Heliopolis, he was thrown to prison, scourged and finally crucified.
Matthew, the tax collector, preached in Ethiopia, Judea, Macedonia, Syria and Parthia (in northeast Iran). There are two versions of his death, the first being that he died a natural death but the second one says he angered a local king who ordered him nailed to a bed, covered his whole body with paper, brimstones, oil, asphalt and brushwood and set him on fire.
Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of desperate and lost causes, partnered with Simon the Zealot and they preached in Judea, Persia, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Iran and Libya. There are also two versions of his death: that he was crucified in Edessa, Turkey or clubbed to death. His remains are buried in a crypt in Rome.
Simon the Zealot was a member of the Zealots before he followed Jesus. He is known to be the second bishop of Jerusalem, after James the Less. He is said to have been crucified in Samaria after a failed revolt or axed to death in Suanir, Persia.
John, the beloved apostle, is reported to have also gone to Rome where he was thrown in boiling oil but survived, to live to a ripe old age, the only one reported to have a non-violent death. Others believe he is still here, waiting for the second coming of the Lord.
Iscariot. In Matthew 27:3-5 says …Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he
saw that he was condemned, repented himself and brought again the thirty pieces
of silver to the chief priests and elders,saying, I
have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went and hanged himself.
But Acts 1:16-19 gives us a totally different picture of his death: Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
How about Pilate, fellas?
Caesar heard that a man had been healing the sick in Jerusalem and, being sick himself, wanted Jesus to come to him and heal him. But when he heard that Pilate ordered Jesus’ crucifixion, he was angered and summoned him.
Then the emperor ordered him to be kept in prison, until he should deliberate in a council of the wise men what ought to be done with him. And a few days after, sentence was therefore passed upon Pilate, that he should be condemned to the most disgraceful death.
Pilate, hearing this, killed himself with his own knife, and by such a death ended his life. When Cæsar knew of the death of Pilate, he said: “Truly he has died by a most disgraceful death, whom his own hand has not spared. He is therefore bound to a great mass, and sunk into the river Tiber.”
And here’s a more amusing story on what happened to Pilate’s corpse:
But “malignant and filthy spirits in his malignant and filthy body, all rejoicing together,” kept moving themselves in the waters and in a terrible manner brought lightnings and tempests, thunders and hail-storms, in the air, so that all men were kept in horrible fear. Wherefore the Romans, drawing him out of the river Tiber, in derision carried him down to Vienna, and sunk him in the river Rhone. For Vienna is called, as it were, Via Gehennæ, the way of Gehenna, because it was then a place of cursing. But there evil spirits were present, working the same things in the same place. Those men therefore, not enduring such a visitation of demons, removed from themselves that vessel of malediction, and sent him to be buried in the territory of Losania. And they, seeing that they were troubled by the aforesaid visitations, removed him from themselves, and sunk him in a certain pit surrounded by mountains, where to this day, according to the account of some, certain diabolical machinations are said to bubble up.
Now, the bigger question is: What happened to Mary Magdalene? And what was her role in the life of Jesus?
I’ll be treating this controversy some time, fellas. Just hold on.