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Every Disciple’s Favorite Band

The twelve disciples were a lot like us. That’s something you hear a lot in church and, reading the Gospels, it checks out. They came from lots of different jobs (some fishermen, some tax collectors, some political activists) and they didn’t always get along.

In fact, many scholars believe that at least some of the disciples were quite young, even teenagers, during their time with Jesus. We know that Peter, at least, was married by the time he started following Jesus, but no other disciple’s significant other is mentioned. Some of the disciples were already working by the time they met Jesus, which meant they were probably at least in their mid-teens or early twenties. Most likely, they were a range of ages, with the oldest being about 30 and the youngest possibly coming in as young as 13 or 14, which might explain some of the temper tantrums we read about in the Gospels.

And if the disciples were indeed teenagers, then you just know they had a favorite band. Men will literally have a favorite band instead of going to therapy, you know. We can only guess what sort of music they loved at the time, since whatever cool bands may have existed in first century Israel have been lost to time. But we can make some educated guesses about who they’d be listening to today.

Simon Peter: Steely Dan

We know a few things about Peter. First, he was nicknamed “the rock.” Second, he was one of, if not the oldest disciple. Third, he was a real stab first, ask questions later kind of guy. All of this points to a devil may care dad rock vibe, and nobody fits the bill like Steely Dan. Can’t you just see him humming “Peg” or “Dirty Work” while casting his nets? He’d love them.

Andrew: Tame Impala

Andrew was the first disciple to follow Jesus after seeing John the Baptist herald him as the Messiah, so we know he’s a guy who’s not afraid to take a risk on an unknown. He was Peter’s brother, but doesn’t get nearly as much attention, suggesting a way more chill vibe than his famously hotheaded older sibling. It’s easy to picture him having Peter’s same music taste, but maybe a little younger and cooler. Tame Impala fits the bill.

James: Frank Ocean

Jesus nicknamed James and John “the Sons of Thunder,” owing to their volatile natures. Of the two, James is the one who seems less inclined to go postal at the drop of a hat. While often invited into Jesus’ inner circle, he also keeps to himself. Most notably, he was the first disciple to be martyred for his faith, and the only one whose martyrdom was recorded in the Bible. His calm fierceness is channeled through Ocean’s ruminative thoughtfulness.

John: Kendrick Lamar

James’ brother is an interesting one. On the one hand, he was the disciple Jesus loved, known for writing some of the most tender books in the New Testament. On the other, he had a temper and was known for rowdy fights with his brother. He sounds like a guy who would love Kendrick, who splits the difference between love and righteous fury like few other artists working today.

Philip: Radiohead

We don’t know much about Philip, other than when Jesus told him to follow, Philip not only obeyed but brought his friend Nathanael along. That sort of evangelistic spirit calls to mind a true Radiohead fan, who would never go to a Radiohead show without making sure all their friends knew.

Nathanael: Lizzo

Nathanael made a mean joke about Nazareth when he heard the Messiah was from there (“can anything good come from there?” he snorted) and what’s wild is that Jesus laughed along with the joke. Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” he said. If Jesus says you’re not a liar then you’re as honest a guy who ever lived. It kind of calls to mind Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.”

Matthew: Taylor Swift

Matthew was a tax collector, and if you think tax people have a bad reputation now, they had it even worse in first century Israel. Tax collectors were seen as not only corrupt, but traitors — cooperating with occupying forces to keep the people down. But Matthew changed his tune over time, maturing and eventually embarking on a mission to take the gospel to Ethiopia and Egypt, where he was killed. He would certainly appreciate a singer/songwriter who had to go through her own series of evolutions, including some rough patches with former friends, before finding he place.

See Also

Thomas: Mountain Goats

Thomas gets a bad rap. Sure, he expressed some initial skepticism about Jesus’ resurrection but, as soon as he was proved wrong, he owned it and was the first to declare that Jesus was God. That mixture of faith and doubt sounds an awful lot like Mountain Goats, who have made a quiet career out of expressing the tensions of belief and unbelief.

James the Less: Prince

We know very little about James, other than that he was nicknamed “James the Less.” Was he younger than the other James? Shorter? Any guesses are pure speculation, but we do know he would have loved Prince. Who doesn’t?

Simon the Zealot: Run the Jewels

Simon was a political activist, a man who wanted to overthrow the rule of Rome and liberate the people of Israel from oppression. It’s hard to think of a modern artist as fired up about social unrest as RtJ, who Simon the Zealot would have loved.

Jude: Johnny Cash

We know very little about Jude, although tradition holds he took the gospel to Edessa in modern-day Turkey. In John 14, he does ask Jesus “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” His honest, inquisitive nature calls to mind another guy who wondered when the Man would Come Around.

Judas Iscariot: Judas Priest

Self-explanatory.

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