Alternate title for this post: 27 Days Later. You’ll see.

While many fears and anxieties have changed over time as cultures changed, human history has long been full of the stories of cannibals. Even in modern society, in which there is likely little to fear from cannibals, they still capture the imagination, whether in fiction and movies or– in certain rare but highly publicized cases– fears about real-world individuals. The idea of cannibalism strikes at the intersection of quite a few fundamental and universal fears, taboos, and grotesque concepts. In ancient times, it was no different. cannibal-blood

In the apocryphal text called the Acts of Andrew and Matthias, which according to David Brakke in The Apocryphal Jesus may have been originally been a part of the poorly preserved Acts of Andrew, the apostle Matthew make their way to the country of the man-eaters. There, flesh is eaten, blood flows freely, and hard drugs are consumed. This text may not teach radically change your worldview or teach you the secret metaphysical under-workings of the universe , but sometimes, we all need the apocryphal equivalent of a late night horror flick!

Do you dare follow along? Click below to continue!

The Apostle Gets Stoned

The story starts off with a hearty round of gambling– the apostles draw lots to determine which countries they’ll be assigned to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in. Bad news for the hero of our story, the apostle Matthew: he drew the lot condemning him to go to the Country of the Man-Eaters! What, pray tell, is he in for? The gospel advises us that the people in this city don’t consume food or drink like normal folks, but instead were cannibals who ate flesh and drank blood. Further, they used sorcery to create drugs that altered their victim’s heart and made them lose their mind. Bad stuff, eh?poison-used-by-cannibals

The apostle goes to the city, and sure enough, is captured by cannibals who plunge out his eyes and make him drink their magical derangement-drug. Matthew, however– being both an apostle and a bad-ass– didn’t go crazy from their magical serum of madness; instead, while sitting in prison, he prayed to Jesus, who granted him his sight back, and told him he needs to survive for 27 days, saving as many souls as he can. Jesus would then send another apostle, Andrew, to rescue Matthew from prison, as well as help whoever he saves escape.

The stage is set, the apostle is charged with his task, and the cannibals are ready to chow down. Where do we go from here? A musical, of course!


27 Days Later: Apostles vs Cannibals, The Musical!

The apostle, Matthew, does the logical thing in this kind of situation: he breaks out into song. The text doesn’t report what genre he was singing in, but I welcome your suggestions in the comments! At any rate, the cannibals are getting hungry for their musical entree, but the dish wasn’t ready yet– cannibal policy, in these parts, was to let the meal hang out in prison for 30 days before eating him, and the guards wouldn’t let anyone get a nibble in before it was time.

Twenty-seven days later, the Lord shows up to the apostle Andrew and told him to “rise up” (link provided if you’re interested in sticking with the musical theme) and go rescue Matthew from the city of cannibals. Andrew, understandably, is not happy with this idea– though he blames it on the challenges of travel– and tries to argue with Jesus. Bad call, buddy. Jesus tells him once again to rise up, grab the rest of the apostles/disciples he can find, and get ready for a ride.apostle-jesus-boat

Andrew shows up with his crew, bright and early, to find that Jesus showed up in a human body– which hasn’t been a thing for awhile, since this is after his ascension. Jesus not only brought two burly angels to fight for him, but he also brought a boat! Of course, for dramatic tension, Jesus hid his identity from the apostle for a bit. Andrew subjects Jesus to a bunch of tests about how well he can drive a boat, who of course passes with flying colors; as Andrew later admits, “the sea has recognized you that you are righteous”. I mean, how awesome does your boat-driving skill have to be for even the sea to consider you righteous?


Jesus And his Sphinx-Buddy

At this point, the story has a brief interlude in which he brings a stone sphinx to life to be his partner in crime. They do miracles apostle-jesus-sphinxtogether, talk trash about the pharisees, and they convict a bunch of priests. It’s a lot of fun, kind of a buddy-cop story, but it’s a long movie and we don’t have time to talk about all the B-plots! Come on, let’s jump back to the main story!



The Great Escape!

Jesus drives his boat to the cannibal city and drops off the apostle Andrew and the rest of the team. While Jesus high-tails it back to heaven, Andrew and his crew sneak into the  city and head to the prison. There, he saw seven cannibal guards watching over the apostle Matthew; that wouldn’t be an easy fight. So, what does he do? Andrew starts praying and the bodies hit the floor– he ends up assassinating all the guards with his murder-prayer. Andrew then makes the sign of the cross on the door to reveal the apostle Matthew, still singing; then, in true Broadway fashion, they kiss each other.apostle-cloud

The apostle Andrew looks around and sees the terrible shape that all the drug-addled prisoners are in, to be fed to the cannibals. He starts mumbling to Satan about how he’ll take vengeance upon him, then starts laying hands on prisoners to grant their sight back.  The apostles Andrew and Matthew end up freeing 270 men and 49 women. Andrew uses his prayer-power to summon a cloud down from heaven, which grabs Matthew, the rescued prisoners, and Andrew’s crew. The cloud takes them all to hang out with Peter while Andrew keeps investigating the city.


The Devil Rides Down to Cannibal Town

While the Great Cloud Rescue is taking place, the cannibal executioners discover that the guards were slain by the spirit and the prisoners were freed. Sad face! The executioners went and told the rulers of the city, who tell them to go back and bring the dead people so they can chow down– no need to let a perfectly good meal to waste. They decide that they’re going to start eating lots of people until they’re able to find a bunch of young men who they can train to be sailors and roam the world, kidnapping folks to be brought back as cannibal cuisine.

apostle-nooseThere’s a particularly gruesome scene in which the executioners drain the blood of the corpses into a trough to be drunk before putting them in an oven (cannibal croissants, anyone?). Andrew stays in hiding but freaks out over the whole thing as the city decides who to eat and who to let live, trying to decide if they were more in the mood for elderly food or if they’re more in the mood for children.

They obviously need someone to sort this mess up, so they summon the devil, who shows up looking like an old man. The devil lets them know that, really, what they need to do is eat Andrew– he’s the one who let the prisoners free, leaving them hungry. Here, we have a good news / bad news situation. The good news for the apostle is that no one knows what he looks like! The bad news for the apostle is that he can’t keep his mouth shut and decides to announce his presence.

The crowd is really torn, at this point. If they cut his head off, he won’t suffer long enough! If we burn him, we’ll burn away the tasty apostle-tenders! The devil ends up getting frustrated by the whole thing, possesses one of the cannibals, and says: look– just tie a rope around his neck, drag him around the city until he dies (so he’s tortured), then eat him. Everyone seems really happy with this, so they throw him in prison and start getting ready for the two-for-one dinner and a movie.

The Final Countdown

In the morning, the cannibals bring the apostle Andrew out and tie a rope around his neck. They drag Andrew all around town long enough that his blood flowed freely and his flesh was literally sticking to the ground, wherever they dragged him. They ended up doing this all day, throwing him back in prison at night so they can have round two the next

The devil decided to get his due, though, and brought his own crew– seven of the toughest demons he could muster– to go kill Andrew. However, as it turns out, Andrew was still protected by Jesus, so all the demons could do was humiliate him. Andrew wouldn’t play ball, though, having learned to make witty retorts from Jesus and the Sphinx. The Devil and his demon crew left, unable to do much of anything.

Andrew gets round two of torture– same thing as before, blood flowing and flesh sticking to the ground. This time, though, the clumps of hair and flesh that stuck to the ground rapidly sprang up and bore fruit. The apostle was thrilled. The text doesn’t say what the cannibals did, but something tells me that none of them decided to go vegan.

The Revenge of the Apostle

During the second night in this situation, Jesus himself makes a surprise appearance at the prison. Andrew worships him, and Jesus reveals an alabaster statue standing on a pillar. Andrew says a bunch of definitely-theologically-normal stuff at the statue, which causes it to start pouring water out of its mouth. Oh, wait, it wasn’t water– it was acid. Flesh eating acid.

The flesh-eating acid does what flesh-eating acid does best… it ate the flesh of the cows and the children. Then Andrew summons the archangel Michael to build a wall of fire around the city so no one could escape. Bad day for the cannibals! As they’re burned alive by fire while their flesh is eaten by acid, they repent. You know, just like good-old-fashioned tent revivals.

The apostle Andrew decided they’d have enough and told the statue and Michael to cut it out. As the flesh-eating acid died down and the fire stopped, the city repented. Andrew decided to have pity on some of them, while others were carried down to the abyss and into Hades for what would presumably not be a good time. Andrew then resurrected from the dead the men, women, children, and cattle who died, baptized them, built them a church, and taught them how to pray. It looks like everything turned out fine in the end, after all.


Jesus showed up as a “comely little child” and told the apostle Andrew that he needed to go back to the ex-cannibals and teach them how to do things like eat fruit. That seems like a good idea. Comely Child Jesus also tells him to bring back the cannibals who he condemned to the abyss– I mean, seriously, right? Who does Andrew think he is, Jesus? Andrew is overall relieved, the city rejoices, and we– the audience– can bask in what was truly an epic apocryphal story.



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