2 “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.”
first, Simon, who is called Peter,
Peter became a leader of the twelve apostles. The New Testament always mentions Peter “first” in lists of the apostles. “Simon” is a Jewish name while “Peter” is a Greek name.
and Andrew his brother;
John the Baptist introduced Jesus to Andrew (Jn 1:36,40). Andrew then brought Peter to Him as well. Andrew was the younger brother of Peter.
James the son of Zebedee,
Herod killed James, who was the first to die a martyr (Ac 12:2).
and John his brother;
John was the brother of James, the son of Zebedee. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. He wrote the gospel of John, the three epistles of John, and the book of Revelation.
Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus. Philip, Peter, and Andrew were citizens of Bethsaida. This is not Philip the Evangelist of the book of Acts. “Philip” is a Greek name.
Bartholomew is the same as Nathanael. He was an Israelite in whom Jesus found no guile (Jn 1:47).
Thomas was also called Didymus (meaning twin). He was called “doubting Thomas” but he confessed Christ as Messiah (Jn 20:28).
and Matthew the tax collector;
Matthew referred to himself as a tax collector. After becoming a disciple of Christ, he wrote the book of Matthew.
James the son of Alphaeus,
We know very little about this apostle. He was not the James of Acts or of the book of James.
and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Lebbaeus was also known as Judas, the son of James (Lu 6:16). His only statement appears in John 14:22.
Jn 14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Simon the Cananite,
Luke called Simon “the Zealot” (Lu 6:15). He was a Jewish revolutionary; the Zealots were a political party that tried to overthrow the Roman government. Simon was a Jewish nationalist.
and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.
Last in the list is the betrayer of Jesus. His name stands in infamy.
Jesus can use anyone to serve Him.
Jesus did not call the great, the educated, the noted—but rather common folk and young men in their 20s. If Jesus can use them, He can use us.