Here is a topic that we can all agree on!!
I don’t know to what degree I would be intellectually convinced of the resurrection of Christ without the witness of the apostles in their deaths. Their confession in the face of death, their blood testimony, is a great inspiration to me and, in a very real sense, a gift from God. Finding an explanation for their deaths outside of the fact of the resurrection of Christ is very far-reaching for any unbeliever and, in my opinion, hopeless. If they all died (or at least most) confessing to have seen Christ die and then alive three days later, then one only has a few options to explain this:
- They died for a lie: But why would they die for a lie? They had nothing to gain either in popularity (since the majority of the world thought it foolishness to preach of a “resurrection from the dead” and the Jews had rejected Christ) and they could not gain any riches from it. All it brought to them was rejection and death.
- They died because they thought they saw Christ either die or rise. But how could all of them have been unified in their mistake when they all confessed to have seen him dead and buried, and then alive and victorious for 40 days.
- Christ really did raise from the grave. The only reasonable explaination for their death.
But how do we know that they died a martyr’s death? I know that we can be certian of James, John’s brother, died a martyrs death for it is recorded in Acts 12. But what about the rest. How did the rest of the apostles die? There seems to be some conflicting historical accounts about many of their deaths.
- James (Killed with the sword Acts 12:2)
- John (died a natural death)
- Simon who was called the Zealot
- Judas of James
- Judas Iscariot (killed himself)
Please take this list and give me references (as #3) to the historical documentation of their deaths.