Look at the 5 Violent Ways the Disciples of Jesus Died

Making the ultimate sacrifice for their faith

Everyone knows about the hideous death that Jesus suffered from the Holy Bible. It’s hard to find a more violent way to die than getting nailed to a cross.

However, what is not as well-known is how violently some of his twelve disciplines met their end. While the death of Judas, who hung himself, is known to many of us, the deaths of the remaining disciples are a mystery for the most part.

Many people are curious about the deaths of the disciples overall.

Crucified Upside-down (Peter)

Crucified Upside-down - Peter

The Apostle Peter was given a sentence of death sentence through crucifixion. Many historical writings indicate that Peter refused to be crucified in the same way that Jesus was crucified. Because he was simply a disciple, Peter didn’t feel worthy of dying the same way his master did.

Many people wonder which disciple was crucified upside down. This event was perhaps the most popular of all the disciples’ deaths. Peter is that disciple crucified upside down.

This claim has been questioned by a few historians. They don’t believe that an executioner in those days would allow a prisoner to decide how they would die.

But existing historical records have neither proven nor disproven either of these claims. In any event, Christian communities have long believed that Peter decided to be crucified upside down — and the execution happened that way.

The traditional method of crucifixion caused its victims to die from suffocation. But Peter’s death was probably caused by hemorrhaging of the brain because blood would have filled his head while hanging in an upside-down position.

Decapitation (James, son of Zebedee)

Decapitation - James son of Zebedee

Thankfully, not many of us have ever seen a decapitation. Those who have witnessed a beheading often tell us that it’s barbaric and incredibly bloody. The irony of this hideous execution method is that it’s a very quick death for the victim.

Science claims that no one is certain as to how long a person can live following a decapitation. There are some studies that suggest consciousness inside the brain could exist for a few seconds after a beheading.

The Apostle James, the son of Zebedee, was the unfortunate one that was decapitated. The beheading of James comes with a fascinating side story.

A man lied by accusing James of a horrific crime. James was given a death sentence because of this false accusation. And because James was so courageous and humble throughout the accusation and sentencing, the man who had accused him ended up repenting for his false accusation.

This man also became a Christian himself, and even requested to be beheaded along with James. The executioners eagerly granted his wish, so both the Apostle James and his accuser had their heads chopped off side by side.

Skinned Alive (Bartholomew)

Skinned Alive -Bartholomew

Just the thought of trying to imagine the pain of getting skinned alive is disturbing and terrifying. An event like this was probably horrifying for spectators as well.

A natural response for the victim would most likely be immediate jerking and twisting away from the knife, as it peeled away from their flesh. One might think that just the shock alone from this torture would surely kill the poor victim. If not this, then maybe they would bleed out rapidly.

This story seems to be the second most popular story of how the disciples died. Many people often ask which disciple was skinned alive.

Bartholomew was the unfortunate disciple who had to endure this horrific death. Incredibly, he was decapitated in the end, but his beheading was vastly different than what James experienced. Poor Bartholomew first suffered through a painful flaying before his decapitation. Hopefully, he was already dead by that time.

Speared to Death (Thomas)

Speared to Death - Thomas

The Apostle Thomas died from being speared multiple times. While this might not sound like a terrible death at first glance — at least when compared with others we have listed — it actually creates unseen agonies that are excruciating.

As opposed to being stabbed or cut up by knives or swords, spearing doesn’t cause massive bleeding, which would cause a victim to bleed out. Spearing prolongs the victim’s suffering because death does not come until vital organs are damaged and pierced.

Additionally, experienced executioners understood the human body. They knew where all the organs were located and knew how to prolong the victim’s agony.

Thomas mostly didn’t die from the loss of blood. He probably died from the repeated spearing of his chest cavity. This spearing would inevitably puncture his heart, his lungs, and rupture his liver.

Stoned and Clubbed (James, son of Alphaeus)

Stoned and Clubbed - James son of Alphaeus

Jesus had two different disciples named James. We already mentioned James that was the son of Zebedee, who got beheaded. The second James was the son of Alphaeus, and he perished from a stoning followed by a clubbing.

Even though he suffered lots of stoning, James was still alive. This prompted people to complete the execution by clubbing him to death.

While this method brings on imminent death, it is not necessarily immediate. The fact is that many stoning victims have suffered from seizures, paralysis, and impairment of the senses from all the blunt force trauma to their heads.

Due to all the damage to James’s body and head, these effects weren’t experienced for very long. He probably suffered from seizures and then fell into deep unconsciousness. Most likely, death was caused by the trauma of the brain and blood loss.

Final thoughts

How unfortunate it is for someone to suffer and pay the ultimate price for how they choose to peacefully worship. When considering Jesus’ disciples’ deaths, it’s hard to find a more disturbing example.

If these holy followers were punished, where does that leave the rest of us?

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