2.40 Jesus' Disciples I: The Cabinet of Three

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Jesus had an inner cabinet of three disciples: Simon Peter; and James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Only they have significant speaking parts. The often appear together at many significant moments, such as the Transfiguration. The rest of the disciples are ciphers. Peter is by far the pre-eminent disciple, named more often in the New Testament all the other disciples put together. He is Jesus’ devoted wombat, an impulsive, exuberant, and eminently likeable individual. But he fails when put to the test. A work attributed to him, the Apocalypse of Peter, provided all our modern images of hell. Western church fathers held that the disciple John wrote the gospel of that name, Revelation, and three letters. The Eastern church and modern scholars are dubious. James was the first disciple to be martyred, by Herod Agrippa. He is memorialised at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

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