The land of Israel is a treasure trove of artifacts and locations of the Bible, including those to do with Jesus’ closest followers and friends, the Twelve Disciples.
Throughout the country, from the Galilee to Samaria and Jerusalem, there are places you can still visit that tell the story of the men who were part of Jesus’ life and ministry and spread Christianity to the world, carrying out Jesus’ Great Commission.
Who Were the Twelve Disciples?
Peter- Born Simon, Jesus began to call him Peter when he chose him to be the leader of His Church. He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
James– Brother of John and Son of Zebedee, referred to by Jesus as “Sons of Thunder”. A fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. Was the first to be martyred of the twelve.
John- Brother of James and Son of Zebedee, referred to by Jesus as “Sons of Thunder”. A Fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He was Jesus’ closest friend and is the only disciple to die of natural causes.
Andrew- Brother of Peter and son of Jonas. Was the one who brought his brother, Simon Peter to Jesus. He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
Bartholomew- Said to be the only one from a noble birth line. Was very adventurous in his ministry, traveling far and wide until his martyrdom in India.
James the Younger- Brother of the apostle Jude. He was a fiery teacher.
Jude- Also known as Thaddeus. Brother of James the Younger. He was also called Jude the Zealot.
Matthew– Also known as Levi, Matthew was a tax collector in the area of Gailiee and was hated by the Jews. When he gave his life to Jesus, he was likely one of the only disciples who could write, so he began to write down Jesus’ teachings.
Philip– A fisherman from the Sea of Gailiee who was among the first to believe and without hesitation. He had a heart for missions and ministry.
Simon the Zealot– Simon was fisherman a Zealot which meant he was a Jewish nationalist who hated the Romans. He turned away from this when he followed Jesus.
Thomas- Another Galilean, Thomas is best known as being “Doubting Thomas”. He died a martyr in India.
Judas Iscariot- Known for being the betrayer of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He stood out in the crowd of Galilean men as the one from Judah.
Where Can You Visit Where the Twelve Disciples Were?
The Sea of Galilee– The disciples were men in the region of Galilee, and many of them were fishermen on the sea. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Philip and Nathaniel were all fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.
Capernaum- Jesus spent much time in his early ministry in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13) and several of his disciples came from this town. Matthew was a tax collector in the town, Peter was married and living there. James, John and Andrew were also from there.
You can visit the home of Simon Peter today, where a Catholic church hovers above the house, allowing you to be able to look down into the home from the church.
Caesarea Philippi- In northern Israel, you can be right in the spot that Jesus asked Peter who he thought Jesus was Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27–30 and Luke 9:18–20. This location is now a very popular place to visit for both locals and tourists alike. You will marvel at the wonderful water features and amazing ancient ruins of the city, but the context of where Jesus was first called the Son of God by his own disciples is truly amazing.
The Upper Room– Inside the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is the Cenacle, or also referred to as “The Upper Room”. This is where traditionally it is believed that the Last Supper took place and where Jesus’ disciples stayed after his death and resurrection.
Caesarea Marítima- Caesarea Maritima was the place where gentiles were “grafted in” with the conversion of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius. Peter was there to baptize Cornelius and his family. Philip lived there and ministered to many people. Paul, who was not a disciple during Jesus’ life, but was certainly personally called by Jesus, visited Caesarea Maritima often and was imprisoned there for a few years. When you visit this coastal town, you are walking in the footsteps of the heroes of the faith!
St. Peter’s Church in Gallicantu– Located in Jerusalem on the slopes of Mount Zion, this church is said to take place where Peter denied Jesus the night of his trial. Gallicantu means “Cock’s Crow” in Latin.
From atop a view point at the church you can get sweeping views of the Kidron Valley.
There is a dungeon there that some believe that held Jesus the night he was arrested. In addition this could have been where Peter and John were held prisoner in Acts chapter 4 as it says it was by Caiaphas, and this could have been his personal prison.
Acre (Akko)– Acre, also known as Akko, is a coastal city that is among the oldest consecutively dwelled cities in the world. In the time of the disciples it was known as Ptolemais. Luke and Paul visited the town as recorded in Acts chapter 21, verse 7.
There are many other places but these are just a few to consider adding to your tour in 2021 or 2022! Contact our tour operators today to start your risk-free planning!