THE ORIGINAL TWELVE APOSTLES ARE NAMED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT as Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Levi (or Matthew), James (the less), Jude (perhaps also named Thaddeus or Lebbaeus), Simon (the Zealot or Cananean) and Judas Iscariot. It is obvious that they fall into two main groups: those who were former disciples of John the Baptist and those who were members of Jesus’s extended family. Of the former group are Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, Philip, and probably Bartholomew and Thomas. Family
3 members are Jesus’s brothers James (the less), Jude, Simon the Zealot and Matthew/Levi, along with his cousins, James and John the sons of Zebedee. Judas Iscariot could be in either group as he is described as the ‘son of Simon’ and it is not clear if this means that he is a son of Simon Peter, Simon the Zealot (Cananean) or some other Simon that we don’t know about.
Thus at least six, possibly seven, of the original twelve were family members. However, there is one important name missing from the list of apostles and this is Jesus’s other brother Joses (or Joseph) who, like James the less, is definitely named as being a son of both Mary and Alpheus. Why should he alone not have been included in the twelve?
It seems to us that the answer to this question is hinted at in several places in the New Testament, most specifically in the Crucifixion story. When Jesus is being tried by Pilate, the latter is clearly willing to release him, making use of an alleged custom among the Jews that a prisoner of their choice should be freed at the Passover. However, the crowd shout out for someone called Barabbas, with the result that he, instead of Jesus, is released.