Who Persecuted the Disciples of Jesus?

The disciples of Jesus were a group of twelve men who followed him during his ministry on earth. They were his close companions and witnessed his teachings, miracles, and ultimately, his crucifixion and resurrection.

However, their journey was not without persecution. Let’s take a look at who persecuted the disciples of Jesus.

The Pharisees and Sadducees

The Pharisees and Sadducees were two prominent Jewish sects during the time of Jesus. They held different beliefs and often clashed with each other.

However, they shared a common disdain for Jesus and his teachings. They saw him as a threat to their authority and way of life.

The Pharisees were particularly critical of Jesus’ teachings on the Sabbath and purity laws. They accused him of breaking these laws and leading people astray.

In Matthew 12:14, it says that “the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.” It’s clear that they saw him as a threat to their religious authority.

The Sadducees were another group that opposed Jesus. They were wealthy aristocrats who controlled the temple in Jerusalem. They didn’t believe in resurrection or an afterlife, which put them at odds with Jesus’ teachings on eternal life.

In Acts 4:1-3, we see that Peter and John were arrested by the temple guards at the instigation of the Sadducees for preaching about the resurrection of Jesus. The Sadducees saw this as a direct challenge to their beliefs and authority.

The Roman Empire

During the time of Jesus, Palestine was under Roman rule. The Romans tolerated different religions but expected loyalty to the emperor above all else. This put Christians, including the disciples, in a difficult position.

The Roman authorities saw Christianity as a subversive religion that could potentially threaten their rule. As such, Christians faced persecution from time to time. In Acts 12:1-3, we see that James, the brother of John, was put to death by Herod Agrippa I, who was acting on behalf of the Roman Empire.

The Jewish People

Not all Jews were opposed to Jesus and his teachings, but there were certainly some who saw him as a threat. They were concerned that his popularity could lead to a rebellion against Roman rule and further oppression from their rulers.

In John 9:22, we see that the parents of a man who was healed by Jesus refused to speak about him openly because they feared being put out of the synagogue. This shows that there was a social cost to following Jesus, even among the Jewish people.


In conclusion, the disciples of Jesus faced persecution from various groups during their time on earth. The Pharisees and Sadducees saw them as a threat to their religious authority and way of life.

The Roman Empire saw them as potential troublemakers who could challenge their rule. Even among the Jewish people, there were those who opposed Jesus and his teachings.

Despite this persecution, the disciples remained committed to spreading the message of Jesus’ love and salvation. They endured countless hardships and ultimately gave their lives for what they believed in. Their example inspires us today to stand firm in our faith even in the face of opposition.