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Eleven paid high price for beliefs

In a play written by Judy Meyers, The Living Lord's Supper, members of the Inverness Church of God told those attending a four-night event about the lives of the men who would forever be remembered as the apostles of Jesus Christ.

As the play concluded, each disciple came to the front of the scene while a recording of Len Meyers' voice (Meyers portrayed Jesus Christ) told what became of him.

"Each of them, except one, was so committed to Jesus and the ministry of telling others about him that they gave their very lives for him and the sake of the Gospel," Meyers said. "Each one had his own identity. They were all different but had one common bond: They loved Jesus. They believed in everything he taught them.

"Eleven of the 12 became apostles, which means "sent out ones.' These men boldly shared their faith even to the point of giving their lives for what they believed.

"Judas Iscariot bargained with the priests for 30 pieces of silver. He led them to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was praying, and with a kiss, betrayed the Lord to the Roman soldiers. After he realized what he had done, the Bible tells us that Judas hung himself.

"John the Beloved was intolerant and ambitious. He was called John the Beloved because he learned to love in the school of Christ. John wrote the Gospel of John, First, Second and Third John, and the Revelation. John was in exile on the Island of Patmos after escaping without injury from a pot of boiling oil. He was later freed and died at an old age.

"Simon Peter was naturally impulsive, tender-hearted and impetuous. At times, he was presumptuous. Other times, he was timid and cowardly. When Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he spoke boldly about the Lord and 3,000 were saved that day. He wrote First and Second Peter. Peter was sentenced to spend nine months in absolute darkness, chained to a post, at which time he converted his jailers and 47 others to Jesus. When Nero sought to kill him by crucifixion, Peter requested to be crucified upside down, because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.

"Andrew was the man who introduced others to Jesus. He was the first foreign missionary as he brought the Gospel to the Greeks. The ruler of Patrae was hostile toward Andrew and condemned him to death. After being scourged, he was hung on a cross shaped like the letter X. He was not nailed to the cross, but bound, and left to die of hunger, thirst and exposure.

"James the Elder was clearly a man of courage and forgiveness. He preached in Jerusalem and Judea. When he was being led to the place where he would soon be beheaded, the one who led him was moved to confess that he also was a Christian. He asked James to forgive him, and they both were beheaded. James was the first of the disciples to be martyred.

"Philip was the man first called to follow Jesus. His preaching against the worship of an idol so angered the people in Phrygia that they stripped him, pierced him in the ankles and thighs and bound him to a cross. As he was being stoned, he prayed for his enemies

and tormenters. Records say he was 87 years old at his death.

"Nathaniel was a man of complete sincerity. He was skeptical at first but willing to be convinced of the deity of the Lord Jesus. He was a missionary in Armenia. He gave his life for the Gospel of Jesus Christ by being cut into ribbons by barbarians and, by command of the king, was then beheaded.

"Thomas labored in Persia and India. The people were envious and resentful at the success of Thomas' teaching and were determined to kill him. Knowing that he prayed in a cave on the slope of a mountain, they stood where there was a narrow opening and looking through it, saw the apostle on his knees with his eyes closed. They thrust a lance through the opening and wounded him. He dragged himself out into the open and there he died.

"Matthew, hated by everyone as a tax collector, was probably the most educated of all the disciples. The Gospel of Matthew, which he wrote, was directed toward the Jews to try to make them see that Jesus was their messiah. He traveled into Egypt and Ethiopia, preaching the Gospel and was beheaded by a sword in Nadabah.

"James the Less, or Younger, founded a church in Syria. He was stoned in Jerusalem for preaching Christ and had his head crushed with a club.

"Thaddeus preached in Persia. He also traveled with Nathaniel and spent eight years with him establishing the Armenian Church. He was pierced with arrows at Edessa.

"Simon the Zealot preached in Egypt, Africa and in many remote and barbarous countries. He suffered martyrdom in Persia by being sawn in half."