A New Team – Simon, Jude and Judas
Scripture reading this week: Luke 6:12-19
And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)
This week we’re looking at how Jesus chose twelve men who were everyday folks like you and I, to take on the most important mission in the history of mankind: Sharing the good news of the gospel.
Today we’ll look at the next three men on the list; Simon the Zealot, Jude son of James, and Judas Iscariot
Simon, the Zealot
Simon, the Zealot lived in Galilee, and the New Testament gives us practically nothing on him except that he was a zealot. Some scholars hold that this moniker was given to Judas not for his political views, but because of his zeal for the gospel. Perhaps both accounts are true, as people who are zealous for political or other causes often become zealous for God after conversion!
The fact that Jesus chose Simon the Zealot tells us that God can take a man with unbridled zeal, and channel that zeal for kingdom purposes!
Jude, son of James
Jude (also called Thaddeus, or Lebbeus), was a brother of James the Younger, and lived in Galilee. Like Simon the Zealot, scripture gives us little of Jude. According to tradition, Jude and Bartholomew were the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
One interesting thing about Jude is the Roman Catholic designation of Jude as the patron saint of lost causes. The Catholic church felt that because his name was similar to the traitor Judas Iscariot, few would pray to him for intervention, out of the mistaken belief that they would be praying to Judas Iscariot. As a result, St. Jude was little used, and so became eager to assist any who asked him, even if the situation was a lost cause!
Obviously there is no scriptural basis for this belief. But the fact is that Jude, the son of James, though he may be lesser known, and even misunderstood, will rule over one of the twelve tribes of Israel in in the kingdom of heaven (Luke 21:29-30).
Finally, we come to Judas Iscariot, the traitor. Judas goes down in history as the man who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. In this, Judas is the enigma of the New Testament
How could anyone who was so close to Jesus, who saw so many miracles, and heard so much of the Master’s teaching, ever betray him into the hands of his enemies? One would think that man would hesitate from betraying Jesus.
I suppose all we can take from Judas’ example this; The world will always have people like Judas. People who may look upon the beauty of God’s creation, people that will witness the power of God, people that will hear of the great things God has done… and yet still reject His Son Jesus Christ.
But I can’t help wonder, had one of the disciples reached out to Judas after the fact, would he have repented?
We can’t change Judas story, and I wouldn’t go so far as to question the disciples hearts, but I would say this: You and I can reach out to the Judas’s around us.
If a Judas repents, it will change their eternal destiny.
We can change the world, one life at a time…