The Lord gives His servants power to do His work.
The original twelve apostles
Simon (Peter) – Given a special name by Jesus: Cephas (Syriac) or Petros (Greek) which means “stone or rock.” He was Andrew’s brother and the son of Jonah. By trade, Peter was a fisherman. He was a married man (1 Corinthians 9:5) and his home was Capernaum. He received the keys of the kingdom on earth from Jesus, Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration. He was the President of the Church following Christ’s ascension. He opened up the gospel to the gentiles. He came with James and John to bestow the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829. Tradition says he was crucified, head downward, in Rome.
James – the son of Zebedee and Salome. James is the Greek form of the Hebrew Jacob. He was John’s brother. Jesus referred to James and John as Boanerges, the sons of thunder, evidently because of their temperament. (Mark 3:17.) He was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem. He was with Peter and John on certain special occasions – the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration and at Gethsemane. He preached in Jerusalem and Judea and was beheaded by Herod, the first of the twelve to be martyred (Acts 12:1,2).
John -The name means “Jehovah’s Gift,” from the Hebrew Johanan. He was James’ brother. He was known as the ‘Beloved’. He wrote the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and the book of Revelation. John did not die but has been allowed to remain on the earth as a ministering servant until the Second Coming.
Andrew – The name means “manly.” He was Simon Peter’s brother. He lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum and was a fisherman before Jesus called him. Originally he was a disciple of John the Baptist (Mark 1:16-18). Andrew brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus (John 1:40). According to tradition, it was in Achaia, Greece, in the town of Patra that Andrew died a martyr. Andrew, feeling unworthy to be crucified on the same-shaped cross as his Master, begged that his be different. So, he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, which is still called Saint Andrew’s cross and which is one of his apostolic symbols.
Philip – The name comes from the Greek and means “lover of horses.” Philip came from Bethsaida, the town from which Peter and Andrew came (John 1:44). The likelihood is that he, too, was a fisherman. Tradition says that after the ascension of Christ Jesus, Philip traveled into Scythia (south Russia) and remained there for twenty years preaching the Gospel. Eventually, in the company of the apostle Bartholomew, Philip went to Asia Minor and laboured in Hierapolis in what is modern-day Turkey. He was crucified there. Philip’s tomb is still to be found in the Turkish city of Hierapolis.
Nathanael (Bartholomew) -The name means “gift of God,” and is from the Hebrew. Bartholomew was probably his surname. Jesus called him “An Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile” (John 1:47). He is said to have been martyred in 68 AD
Thomas – He is also called Didymus, from the Greek, meaning “twin.” In John 20:25, we see him saying unless he sees the nailprints in Jesus’ hand and the gash of the spear in His side he will not believe. That’s why Thomas became known as Doubting Thomas. Tradition says he laboured in Parthia, Persia, and India, suffering martyrdom by being thrust through by a spear near Madras, India.
Matthew – He was also called Levi, a Hebrew word meaning “gift of Jehovah.” Also called the Publican (tax collector). He is James the Less’ brother. He was probably the best educated of the apostles and had a thorough knowledge of the scriptures. He wrote the Gospel of Matthew to show that Jesus is the Messiah of whom the prophets spoke. He is believed to have been killed by a spear and a battle-axe.
James – Son of Alphaeus. Called “the less” to distinguish him from James, son of Zebedee. He is Matthew’s brother. He is believed to have been beaten and stoned to death in Jerusalem for preaching of Christ.
Thaddeus – (Also known as Jude or Judas, not Iscariot) Thaddeus is the Hebrew root for “heart.” He is also called Lebbaeus which is Arabic for “root.” Tradition says he preached in Assyria and Persia and died a martyr in Persia.
Simon – Called “the Canaanite” (Matthew 10:4) and “the Zealot” (Lu. 6:15). The Hebrew word for zealots was Kananim. This would explain the title “Canaanite.” The Zealots were fanatical Jewish Nationalists who hated Rome. There is a strong Christian tradition that Simon was crucified by the Romans in Caistor, Lincolnshire and subsequently buried there on May 10, circa 61 AD.
Judas– Called Iscariot, probably because he was from the village of Kerioth (Joshua 15:24). He was the only one of the twelve who was not a Galilean. He betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was replaced in the Twelve by Matthias.
When we are in the Lord’s service, He will inspire us with the words to say.
‘I think it wrong that men should prepare themselves beforehand to speak to the people. I believe that God has given unto us the correct rule, the rule that He gave to His ancient disciples—“to take no thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.” Matt. 10:19-20 Luke 12:11-12 D&C 84:85 When the time should come for His servants to address the people, He would give unto them the very things that were needed. How do I know, how does any other man in this congregation know the thoughts and the fears and the wants of you who are here today? There may be souls here hungering for the word of God, tried and tempted in many directions, annoyed and perplexed with the cares of life and with those anxieties that are connected with our earthly existence. Who shall tell these souls that which they need? Can any man out of his own wisdom, from the depths of his own thoughts, give the needed strength and comfort to those hungry souls? It is impossible. God must do it. God must pour out His Holy Spirit. God must help as he has promised to do, and we His children must put ourselves in a position to be helped so that we can claim the blessing.’ (George Q Cannon, Journal of Discourses)
The Sabbath is a day to do good.
What can we learn about serving others on the Sabbath from the ways the Saviour served and blessed those around Him?
Jesus Christ taught, “It is lawful to do well on the sabbath.” As we follow His example, we can serve others—even on our day of rest.
The Sabbath provides opportunities to serve not only God but also others.
‘Jesus reaffirmed the importance of the Sabbath day devotion, but he introduced a new spirit into this part of worship. (See Matt. 24:20). Rather than observe the endless technicalities and prohibitions concerning what should and should not be done on the Lord’s day, he affirmed that it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath. (See Matt. 12:12) He taught us that “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” Matt. 12:8) and introduced the principle that “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). He performed good deeds on the Sabbath, such as healing the man with palsy (see Mark 2:1–12) as well as the man with the paralyzed hand (see Matt. 12:10–13) So the divine mandate of Sabbath day observance in our day is now more of a manifestation of individual devotion and commitment rather than a requirement of civil law.’ (James E Faust, General Conference, October 1991)
As we are forgiven of our sins, our love for the Saviour deepens.
‘Which of these two people are we most like?
Are we like Simon? Are we confident and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness? Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards? Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?
Or are we like this woman, who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin?
Do we love much?’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, April 2015)
Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?