Did Any Disciples Leave Jesus?

Many people are familiar with the story of Jesus and his 12 disciples. They were a tight-knit group that traveled together, ate together, and learned from Jesus’ teachings.

However, did any of these disciples leave Jesus during his time on earth? Let’s take a closer look.

Disciples Who Stayed

Firstly, let’s identify the disciples who stayed with Jesus until the end of his ministry. These include Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael), Matthew (also known as Levi), Thomas (also known as Didymus), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus (also known as Judas, son of James), Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.

Despite their flaws and imperfections, these 12 men remained committed to following Jesus throughout his ministry.

The Departure of Judas Iscariot

However, one disciple did leave Jesus: Judas Iscariot. He is famously known for betraying Jesus by leading the religious leaders to him in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.

This betrayal ultimately led to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. It’s important to note that while Judas’ actions were evil and resulted in terrible consequences, they were ultimately part of God’s plan for salvation.

Other Disciples Who May Have Left

While there is no evidence that any other disciples left Jesus during his ministry, there are a few instances where it’s possible that some may have considered it.

For example, in John 6:60-70, after Jesus teaches about eating his flesh and drinking his blood as a metaphor for eternal life, many of his followers turned away from him. When he asks the twelve if they will also leave him, Peter responds with one of the most powerful statements of faith in the Bible: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Additionally, in Mark 10:17-31, a rich young man approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell all his possessions and follow him. The man goes away sad because he is unwilling to give up his wealth.

While it’s unclear if any other disciples ever seriously considered leaving Jesus, these instances show that following him was not always easy or popular.


In conclusion, only one disciple – Judas Iscariot – left Jesus during his ministry. However, other followers did turn away from him when his teachings became difficult or unpopular.

Despite this, the twelve remained committed to following Jesus until the end of his ministry. Their dedication and faithfulness serve as an example for us today as we seek to follow Christ in our own lives.