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The Men Jesus Chose #2

top The Men Jesus Chose #2  Friday, August 18, 2017

Jesus Calls His Disciples

                    The Men Jesus Chose  #2

       A study of their character and the message they proclaimed

                        By, James & Mary Lee Thornton

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Contents~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Introduction
2. Judas Iscariot
     2a. The Bargain Planed
     2b. The Bargain Completed
     2c. The Door Slams Shut
     2d. The Bargain Repented
     2e. The Pitiless Purchasers
     2f.  A Terrible Eternity
3. Nathaniel & Simon The Canaanite, Or Simon Zelotes
4. Finding Of Philip
5. Thomas Called Didymus
6. Lebbaeus Or Thaddaeus Or Judas

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Introduction

This is a continuation of our Study #1 Of The Men Jesus Chose. In this Study #2 we will be studying about Judas Iscariot, the Sons of thunder, James and especially John the Apostle of love.

He Called Chose Twelve:
Luke 6:12. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
13. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14. Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15. Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16. And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

The twelve were handpicked by Jesus, and became missionaries of a message that changed the world. We could sub-title this study The Miralce Of The Twelve.

We want to know these men Jesus chose, in whose honor Cathedrals have been built, and whose names have been used in naming multitudes. The miracle was that principally through their efforts, within three and a half centuries, proud imperial Rome yielded and bowed to the glad tidings of the redeemer from Galilee.

We have already covered a great deal in The Men Jesus Chose #1 and we will continue the study in the section.

2. Judas Iscariot:

Judas Iscariot

Matthew 10:2. “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these;”
4. “…and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”

Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who committed suicide. We will attempt to trace the steps which Judas took that lead him to take a rope and hang himself.

Probably if we had been there and had known each of the twelve, as Jesus made His choice, Judas would have been the last one we would have suspected would kill himself. What a load a person must bear to be driven to this point and no man need bear such a burden. The story of Judas is one of the most tragic and sorrowful records in the scripture. It would have been better for this traitor had he never been brought out of obscurity, In Kerioth

Jesus said of him the most terrible thing that could have been said of any man.
Mark 14:21. “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

Judah Iscariot and Pontius Pilate are listed together as men who are scorned. But Judas Iscariot must carry a heavier load of guilt than the Roman Governor. There are forty verses in the New Testament in which there is a reference to the betrayal of our Lord, and in each of them the terrible sin of Judas is recorded.

Shakespeare says of Judas “The base Judaean who sold a pearl richer than all his tribe.” He was of Kerioth a city in South East Judah. (Joshua 15:25) All of the other Apostles came from Galilee, in the far north of Palestine.

The second name ‘Iscariot’ is a form of a Greek word meaning “A man of Kerioth,” the town where he was born, there is no trace of this town. A clear answer to the prophecy of Psalm 69:25 “Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.”  Galileans were not regarded as pure Jews by their brethren of the South in Judea. 

 John 7:41. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?

Jews To Nicodemus
John 7:52. They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

This could be our first clue in the mystery of Judas Iscariot. He would have possible had a feeling of superiority over the other Disciples, Tribe of Judah?

1. Judah Iscariot was a Disciple. The first scripture reference to Judas is his appointment to Apostleship.
John 6:70. “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71. He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.  

Luke tells us that it was after an all night prayer meeting that He called unto him His Disciples and of them He chose twelve.

So more than likely, Judas was a follower of John the Baptist before he became a follower of Christ. Kerith is near Hebron which is the town where John the Baptist was born (Joshua 21:11). It is also very near the wilderness of Judaea where John began to preach. It is very possible that Judas heard and was attracted to John the Baptist very early in his Ministry.

What was it that attracted Judas Iscariot to follow John the Baptist, then Jesus?
We would like to think that at the time of his choice to follow Jesus, Judas was not a conscious or deliberate hypocrite. And that the fervor and enthusiasm he displayed were no sham.

We would hope that he was sincere in his initial discipleship, having an honest desire to follow Jesus. But while he may have been sincere, he was not whole hearted in his decision. He did not leave all to follow, but offered to Jesus a divided allegiance.

The love of money had been in his heart from earlier days and he was a “double minded” man. Had he followed the Lord fully he might have had a very noble life and the most blessed destiny. Judas took his sin with him into the service of Christ until ultimately his habitation became desolate (Acts 1:20)

Some feel that when he joined Jesus it was more of a Patriot or Political Leader than as a personal friend. --- as a Zealot—Judas was strong willed and conceited he could not admit the idea of being mistaken in his first opinion of the new Leader, so he followed him.

2. He was chosen by Jesus to be an Apostle. An Apostle had to be one who had seen and heard Him, and shared in His companionship (Acts 1:21-22).

It would seem that the rest of the Apostles were unsuspicious of Judas up to the very last. The thought of treachery from Judas never entered their heads until the deed was finished. It was only after the sell-out, and then they understood that the foul act of Judas had been premeditated and deliberate.

Judas was given the power, along with the rest of the twelve to preach, heal sickness, and cast out devils (Mark 3:14-19). If ever a man had the opportunity to become a saint, that man was Judas who, for over two years lived with the holiest Man on earth. This should have inspired Judas to grow better and holier daily.

But Satan entered even an Apostle, Let us beware. What a hard blow it must have been for Jesus to bear when such betrayal came. Not from an avowed enemy but from one He had chosen as an Apostle and who had enjoyed the closeness of His friendship.

David etched a portrait of Judas in Psalm 55:12-15, a deceitful friend. Why did Jesus, chose Judas as an Apostle? Did He think Judas was a different man than he turned out to be? Was He not aware of his character, or was he deceived as the rest of the Apostles were? I totally disagree with some who say that Judas was chosen merely to be a traitor, as an actor might be chosen to play the part.

To say that Jesus chose Judas to be a traitor is to make him responsible for his own betrayal. The scriptures do declare that Jesus, as the omniscient one, knew what was in man, and therefore “Knew from the beginning… who should betray Him.” (John 2:24-25 -- 6:64)

From the hour Jesus first saw Judas and decided to include him in the twelve He knew that He would betray Him. But foreknowledge is not foreordination. I know the sun will rise, but me knowing it does not make it happen. As we shall see Judas was free to choose his own path. Foreknowing all that would happen why did Jesus prayerfully and deliberately chose Judas to His service? An Apostle?

Entrust him with all his teachings and confidence and even send him out to preach, and heal the sick, and cast out demons. Answers to such a question are not easy. We have many unexplainable problems, the origin and working of evil in Judas’ life and of Divine omniscience, and all that combined with human free will.

However I will give you some 6 answers to why Jesus chose Judas to be an Apostle.
1. Because it was His sovereign will to do so.
Psalm 135:6. Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

2. Because it was needful to fulfill Old Testament prophecies concerning every aspect of His life and mission, Divine foresight. Many Old Testament scriptures foretold the betrayal in words so vivid as to seem to be written after the fact. Knowing the end from the beginning God was able to record what Judas would do, centuries before he was born.

3. Because the sell out by Judas would reveal that association with the Godly, even with Jesus is possible without having a total commitment. You can be in Christ’s service and yet not have Him in the heart as Savior and Lord. Judas lacked the most essential thing of all. He was destitute of love and faith.

4. Because the money Judas sought for his terrible deed would demonstrate that “The Love of Money” is the root of all evil.” We will deal with this more later.

5. Because Jesus desired to manifest His amazing forbearance and patience and long suffering, “Not willing that any should perish..” He did not expose Judas as he witnessed his gradual degeneration, but left him in his own time to reveal his true character. Jesus saw other finer qualities he possessed which might under his teaching and influence overcome the baser inclinations.

Jesus was aware of the struggle going on in Judas’ heart between light and darkness, and prayed and hoped that the nobler side of Judas would be victorious. He repeatedly tried to warn Judas. Judas did not rush blindly and ignorantly to his fate. We can see Jesus’ patience and forbearance in our own lives as He stretches out His hand of mercy and forgiveness to us so often.

Our Lord taught him and warned him about the love of money. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? How about the big farmer and his small barns? Yes Jesus was constantly reaching for him.

Paul sum it up,
Romans 2:4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Finally Jesus gave him up saying,
John 13:27. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

This was not a command to Judas to go out and finish his awful work; it was rather a warning, a message to Judas of Jesus’ foreknowledge of his wickedness. This warning went unheeded and Judas “went immediately out and it was night:” went out from the greatest fellowship the world has ever known. Judas was not driven out,  nor was he forced out.

6. Because the unusual sorrow that our Lord had to bear as the result of His choice of Judas. 
Psalm 41:9. Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

All this was necessary to qualify Jesus as our High Priest.
Hebrews 4:15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 5:9. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;      

Now after we have thought about why Jesus chose Judas, Let us turn the question to ourselves and ask the same as to why Jesus called us into His service. What did He see in you and in me, constraining Him to set His love upon us? Why did He bring us into His fellowship? What great talents did we bring Him? What kind of ability and what kind of offering?

Do we not feel the need of His constant attention? His ever abiding forbearance, and patience, and long suffering, He’s still working on me. Jesus would reach one last time to Judas, even after the deal with the High Priest was struck. When Judas came leading the band of men with torches and clubs in the Garden Jesus asked Him. Matthew 26:50. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

John alone tells us about the point we want to make next.
John 12:4. “Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
5. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
6. This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

John 13:28. “Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
29. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.”

Judas was the treasurer of the Apostolic Band. How he was chosen to be the purse bearer we have no way of knowing. But as this was a position of trust and honor, we must understand the confidence, which the group must have had in Him. 

The very fact that he was given this responsibility proves that the other Apostles had faith in his honesty. This confidence remained unshaken up to the very night of the betrayal. But the tragedy was he took advantage of his position – Purloining – kept back part of it.

And as John tells us plainly, Judas “was a thief, and had the bag (kept) what was put therein.”  Pilfering –Embezzling. 

John 12:6. This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Surely conscience, an accuser never silent, must have warned him of his greed. Greed made Judas a thief, and in the end, a traitor guilty of the foulest deed in history which ended in a hang-man’s rope. James say it best,

James 1:14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Now we want to finish our study of Judas with a look at the awful act which Judas committed. We will divide it into three main features.
1. The Bargain Planned
2. The Bargain Completed
3. The Bargain Repented.

2a. The Bargain Planned:

While there were circumstances that changed Judas from a possible into an actual traitor, he was a traitor at heart from the beginning. The petty thievery from the small treasury of the Apostles was a sure sign of a mean and base soul. The Gospels only tell and do not explain the wickedness of Judas. But it is easy to discern his character from their pages.

Instigated by Satan. Behind the scenes was the tempter, for Judas was but a dupe (deceived) of the Devil – He was used by Satan. John tells the part Satan played in the betrayal of our Lord.
John 6:70 “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

Judas was possessed, not by a demon, but a Devil, an evil spirit.
John 13.2. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; (At this point Satan had made mere suggestion). Then Satan entered Judas as the originator of a cruel and wicked purpose. Satan possessed Judas as the source of diabolical action.

John 13:27. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

Why did Jesus not cast Satan out of Judas? Why did Jesus not take charge of Judas’ life?
Romans 8:7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (man has a free will)
John 13:27.  And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

Up until this point Judas was his own boss. He gave allegiance first to one master then to another, sometimes to Jesus, sometimes to Satan. Judas to this point had given himself to Satan then retreated into the Lord’s influence over him.

Matthew 6:24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The day would come when Judas must make his choice. It was that night in the upper room when Judas was compelled to make his choice. Each of us should take not of the steps Satan took in the life of Judas Iscariot. Satan will make his ideological suggestions and we must resist them immediately. The more we think on them, the more influence Satan gains over us. The time will come for us to make the choice, that’s the only freedom we have, is the power to choose, choose wisely, it may be a final choice, as it was with Judas.

Our Lord had girded himself with a towel and knelt before each of the disciples and washed their feet. Peter was horrified and said Thou shalt never wash my feet.

John 13:8. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

But with Judas Iscariot it utterly failed to move him, and Jesus felt that at once. Before Judas, also, He had knelt and washed and dried his feet too. No doubt praying and hoping that this act of humility on His part would somehow break through to Judas and reach him.

That Judas might accept the cleansing, forgiveness of God which he so needed. That Judas would amend that cry of Peter so as to meet his own worse case. “Not my feet only but my heart, my mind, and my soul.” Instead Judas sat there stolid, unmoved, still all but set upon his purpose. And still Jesus sought to hold back His friend from the ruin to which he was rushing.

Jesus kept dropping sayings which the others did not follow, but which must have let Judas realize that Jesus knew what he had in mind.
John 13:11. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
18. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

2b. The Bargain Completed:

And the face of Judas never softened, and showed never a change of heart.
Let us continue to follow this diabolical story.

John 13:21. “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.”

Behind the traitor was the tempter. Working behind every foul and evil deed is the Devil. Ambitious, and greedy, Judas sold his soul to the devil. Judas had come to the supper with a guilty secret in his heart and a bribe on his mind. He must have been uneasy under the eye of Him who was able to see him through and through.

After the foot washing, “Jesus was much troubled in spirit.” He acted as though He was worried. Then Jesus said plainly, “One of you shall betray me.”

Mark 14:19. “And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?”

Not one of the disciples dreamed of suspecting any of his fellow disciples. It seemed that each had less confidence in himself that in any of his brethren. “Can it be I?” “Lord is it I?”

John 13:26. Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

This was a courtesy more or less reserved, for an honored guest and for particular friends. As Jesus did so His eyes must have looked into the eyes of Judas asking, “Can you do it?” “Will you do it?” After all that there has been between us?

2c. The Door Slams Shut On Judas Iscariot:

And Jesus said, That thou doest, do quickly.”

I read where Jesus can save to the uttermost, and yet here is a soul and one dear to Him, that was being swept out into roaring waters, and would not grip His hand, and would not let itself be saved, and it was going down. There was nothing more that Jesus could do except surely to follow him to the door with eyes full of pain for the soul which was running away.

But Judas unflinchingly bore the pain in Jesus’ eyes and closed the door behind him and was gone to sell his Lord and Master for a trifle. “And it was night.” In that instant the trap shut on Judas. Satan, not Jesus, had taken possession of the heart of Judas in spite of all of his privileges.

Now the Devil’s doubt had become the Devil’s deed. Thought becomes act, act becomes habit, habit becomes character, character shapes eternity,” arranged by Judas. While the Devil was the evil figure behind the betrayal, wicked though he is, He must not be blamed for everything. We’ve all heard the phrase “The Devil made me do it,” She saw, she took, she ate. (Genesis 3:6)

When the Devil came to Jesus with suggestions which were contrary to the Divine Will, Jesus could say, “Get thee behind me Satan.”  But Judas left a path open to the Devil with his greedy nature so the Devil took advantage of his pilfering to gain a hold on him.

Who would have thought that stealing a few coins from the bag would lead to satanic possession, and result in the most monstrous crime and a suicide’s grave? We can never be to careful about shunning so called little sins, for sin has an awful power of growth.

1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Ephesians 4:27. Neither give place to the devil.

Judas himself made the arrangements for the betrayal. The High Priest did not come to, nor seek out Judas he went on his own. Judas did not act in a moment of passion or insanity, his dark deed was quietly and deliberately planned.

Both Matthew and Mark record how cunningly Judas watched for an opportunity to sell Jesus. This took place immediately after the woman broke the alabaster box of very precious ointment and anointed Jesus. Matthew 26:7 “There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.”

Judas said that it could have been sold for 300 pence. A Roman penny was the ordinary daily wage of an agricultural laborer at that time. 300 pence would have  paid the wages of a man for almost a year, an amount sufficient to excite the covetousness of Judas.

The bargain completed: It took place immediately after the supper at Bethany.
(Matthew 26:6-16 -- Mark 14:3-11)     

The Purchase Price:
Matthew 26:14. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15. And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Mark 14:10. And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
11. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

Judas bargained to betray the Son of God for 30 pieces of silver, not half the 300 pence. All Jesus was worth to Judas was the price of a slave when killed by a beast.
Exodus 21:32. “If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.”

They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him that was valued.
Matthew 27:9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;

If anyone had told Judas on the day that Jesus chose him to be an Apostle that one day he would sell his Lord for 30 pieces of silver he would have been indignant with horror. But Judas kept the sin of greed in his heart until it drove him to commit this monstrous crime.

What horrible deeds men will do for money! There are still those who sell honor and truth, barter away their souls for money, sacrifice religion and any hope of Heaven for material gain. Jesus taught, and Judas heard Him, that the soul of man was worth more than the whole world.
Mark 8:36.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Yet Judas estimated His worth as being around $10.00, never was so little paid for so much.
To John “His price was far above rubies.”
To Peter “He is precious”

It may not be for silver, it may not be for gold, but yet by tens of thousands the Prince of Life is sold.
Sold for a Godless friendship,
Sold for a selfish aim,
Sold for a fleeting trifle,
Sold for an empty name,
Sold in the mart of science,
Sold in the seat of power,
Sold at the shrine of fortune,
Sold in pleasure’s bower and
Sold for your awful bargain.
None but God’s Eye can see, ponder my soul, the question,
“shall He be sold by thee”?

Sold! O God, what a moment!
Stilled is conscience voice;
Sold! And a weeping Angel records the fatal choice, Sold!
But the price accepted to a living coal shall turn,
with the pangs of a late repentance deep in the soul to burn.

Some will say “But I would never sell Him like Judas did.”
Others will say “But I would never deny Him like Peter did.”
But will we forsake Him like Demas did?
Will we just leave Him like so many have done,”
Just drift away slowly almost unaware?  (Hebrews 2:1).

Matthew 26:47. “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.”

All of the Evangelist record this event. We can feel the pangs of sorrow in their words as we read it.

2d. The Bargain Repented:

Here are some of the things we will look at.
1. The Pitiless Purchasers
2. The Tortured Conscience
3. A Tarnished name
4. A Tragic End
5. A Terrible Eternity:

Matthew 27:1. “When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2. And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4. Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Judas Iscariot: We have traced the path of Judas from the place of his birth in Kerioth to his discipleship of our Lord. We talked about his call by the Lord to be an Apostle and given a part in His Ministry. And the confidence placed in him by being chosen as the treasurer of the Apostolic band.

We found a flaw in his character which John describes him as a thief. It must have started as a small thing by taking a few coins from the bag. We saw it grow till the monster of greed had such a grip on him that he planned and covenanted to sell or betray his Lord for thirty pieces of silver.

In this study we will focus on the actual betrayal and the after effect of that deed.
Judas left the upper room where he along with Jesus and the rest of the Apostles had gathered to partake of the Passover Feast.

John 13:30. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. Judas went immediately to the High Priest to seal the bargain and to collect the money. He is joined to a band of men along with officers from the Chief Priest with lanterns, torches and weapons.

John tells us that Judas knew the place where the Lord would be because he had been there with Him many times.
John 18:2. “And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.”

Judas gave them a sign to let them know which one was the Lord.
Matthew 26:48. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.

A kiss has always been a token of friendship and a symbol of love and trust. But Judas’ kiss was a kiss of betrayal marking Jesus for arrest. One of the most profane things about his arrangement and marking the low point in Judas Iscariot’s life was it took place in Jesus’ prayer chamber.

Judas ‘knew the place’ he had been there, but evidently Judas did not enter the spirit of prayer. As the band approached where Jesus and His Disciples were, Jesus wished to spare Judas the hypocrisy of the kiss. It was not really necessary, so Jesus stepped forth to meet them.

John 18:4. “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5. They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.”

But Judas would not take advantage of the offer, or, shall we say, the Devil would not let him take it. Judas stepped forward and kissed Jesus. Jesus greeted him by using the word friend. But can we say that Heaven and Hell met in that embrace: That was the last word The Son Man spoke to the Son of Perdition.

They laid hold on Jesus and bound Him and let Him away to the house of the High Priest. There they sought for, and finally found, false witness to testify against Jesus. They derided Him and mocked Him; they spit upon Him, and buffeted Him with their fists. Judas was witness to all of this.

When daylight came they led Him away bound to Pilate to seek His death. Judas could take no more, “His conscious would not die” Judas knew in his heart that the things which were said were not true.

He had seen and heard so many wonderful things which Jesus had done.
“He’s not a blasphemer.”
“He’s not a criminal,”
“He’s a Good man.”

But at first maybe he thought that Jesus would use miraculous power to free Himself. But now Jesus was being condemned to death for something He did not do, and Judas felt responsible for it and his conscience revived and he felt guilty and also felt remorse. Judas was heart sick probably for the first time in his life and he came to himself -- The Bargain Repented.

Smitten with remorse when he saw Jesus led away bound and delivered over to the Roman Governor.

Matthew 27:3. “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4. Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Matthew tells us that Judas “repented himself, but this was not repentance toward God. Repentance in itself is not enough as we shall see. Judas once again confronted the Chief Priests and Elders. I have sinned, …” What a confession! Of the thousands in our Bible fewer than a half dozen made that confession openly.

King Saul
1 Samuel 15:24. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Job – “A Promise”
Job 7:20. I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
Job 33:27. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
28. He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

2e. The Pitiless Purchasers:

But Judas found no pity with the High Priest and Elders.
Matthew 27:4. Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

These religious men had no concern either of his fate or of his tortured conscience. They had no pity. Who knows? Perhaps if Judas had received sympathy and counsel from those who should have given it, he might have been saved even at that last hour. Their attitude “You should be left to bear the fullest penalty of your own sin.”

“For we have not a High Priest which, cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities”
(Hebrews 4:15).

It is our God given right to repent. It is His privilege to give us forgiveness. A tortured conscience, no greater pain can we bear, it drove Judas to suicide. It would have been different had Judas sought out the one who he had wronged.

Judas could have been the first to come to the foot of the Cross. He would have no doubt found that place of forgiveness. Jesus was already dying for the sins of all men even Judas. His blood will never lose its power.

A Tragic End: For so long Judas had been hard hearted. But now he was broken hearted. Matthew tells us that he threw the money down in the Temple and went and hanged himself. Sin has a dreadful end. Luke tells us that “His bowels gushed out”

Acts 1:18. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

2f. A Terrible Eternity:

If by taking his own life, Judas thought he could end the misery of his conscience he made a terrible mistake. Conscience goes with us to eternity. Read about the Rich man and Lazarus: (Luke 16:19-31)

When sin and trouble gang upon a person and he despairs of life. If he thinks suicide is a way out of his inner remorse, he is cruelly deceived of the Devil.

Peter says in.
Acts 1:25. That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

Jesus said in,
John 14:2.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

How far different from the place Judas went? He went to his own place.” All men do; saints and sinners. Paradise or Perdition –The choice is made this side of the grave. Some have felt that some where in the world of the dead, behind the veil, he met his Lord and confessed his guilt. I don’t think so.

Men go to their own place, not because they were not loved of God, and not constantly warned of their peril. Each sinner writes his own biography in that one sentence, “He went to his own place.” With Judas repentance came too late he could not set the clock back. He had passed redemption point.

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3. Simon The Canaanite, or Simon Zelotes & Nathaniel, Bartholomew:

Simon The ZealotNathaniel, Bartholomew

^Simon The Canssnite, Simon Zelotes ^  Nathaniel,  Bartholomew ^

John 1:47. “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite in deed, in whom is no guile!”

Matthew 10:4. “Simon the Canaanite, ..”
Luke 6:15. “…and Simon called Zelotes,”

In this section of the study of The Men Jesus Chose we want to look at the vast difference in the background of these two men Jesus called into His service. This is to prove once again that the children of God come from all walks of life. This lets us know that no man regardless of his occupation, or past, is shut out of the Kingdom.

This study will let us know that our goodness is no asset neither is our meanness a liability, in doing a good work in the Kingdom of God. A good person who comes to God has no head start on that person who comes to Him from some ignoble past. All men are brought on an even ground at the foot of the Cross. Paul and Barnabas stood even.

Isaiah 64:6. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.     

Isaiah 1:18. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

One of these Disciples Bartholomew or Nathanael comes to Jesus with a shining character, in fact Jesus spake higher of his reputation than he did of any other man.
John 1:47. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

An Israelite, not merely in decent but in character according to the ideal laid down in God’s Law. Jesus says of him as the scripture says of Jacob His forefather.
Genesis 25:27. …….and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.”
Plain = Hebrew: A perfect or upright man, of quiet and simple habits, unfeigned, without disguise, simple and guileless. (Strongs conc).

Simon the Canaanite on the other hand did not come to Jesus with such high character. His very name, Simon Zelotes, indicates that he was a revolutionist and a member of a radical and revolutionary party among the Jews.

The following scripture calls him Simon the Canaanite which we need to understand more thoroughly.
Matthew 10:4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Canaanite has been wrongly interpreted as coming from “Cana,” a town in Galilee, where Jesus attended a wedding and some even supposing that it was Simon’s wedding. But my view of interpretation, where scripture is silent, we should preserve the same silence, and not let our imagination run riot.

Others have wrongly said that the designation of Simon the Canaanite means that he was a descendant of one of the ancient tribes of people who occupied the land before Joshua invaded it. This would mean that Simon had Gentile blood in his veins, and was not therefore wholly Jewish. Most likely false.

Cananaean or Canaanite is an epithet, or adjective, or descriptive word, derived from a Hebrew word, Kana, which means, “To be ardent or Zealous.” So “Canaanite” is the exact Hebrew equivalent of the word for “Zealot” which we found in Luke 6:15. Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

The Greek name “Zelotes” describing the “Zealots,” and Simon’s connection with them, is the only thing the Bible tells us about him. The Bible never repeats a single word that Simon said or a single deed he did. Yet in this one word, Zelotes, we see a Jew of flaming zeal and burning enthusiasm.

In this word Zelotes we see him through a small peep hole and behold a broad vision of his background before he met Jesus. Brand a man a communist and there comes to mind an ideology with cruel and Godless principles. Say a person is a “Nazi” we think of dictatorship, militarism, racism, domination and suppression of helpless people.

A few years ago a “Hippy” represented any young person with long hair and a beard who resented authority and broke away from the moors and standards of society. Today “skin heads” stands for radical young men with a shaved head who form “gangs” and act with violence towards other people.

Luke, forever brands Simon with the nick name Zelotes, – Simon the Zealot. You may wonder what is a Zealot? For the past 100 years these fanatical Jews, known as Zealots, had stirred up sedition and rebellion at every opportunity against the Romans. They used every means to inflame the people against their conquerors.

They were guilty of many crimes in the name of patriotism. Josephus describes the infamous “Jewish Wars” and tells of the horror and death which followed them. Barabbas was one of these Zealots who was cast into prison for sedition and murder. Jesus died in his place. Many were put to death.

Their rebellion roused to a feverish pitch in A.D. 70 until Titus destroyed Jerusalem and burned the temple. So no doubt Jesus rescued Simon from the holocaust of the Zealots in the temple. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is able to make even a “Rebel,” A priest and a King; it takes the meanness out of us.

“No name is more striking in the list of the twelve than that of Simon the Zealot, for to none of them could the contrast be so vivid between their former and their new position. From one of the fierce war party of the day pressed into service of him who is the Prince of Peace.

Further no name, along with its label, Zelotes, bears a more striking evidence of the purpose of Jesus in the selection of His Disciples than that of Simon the Zealot. Simon Zelotes walked along in fellowship with Matthew the Publican, the one a “Tax hater” The other a “Tax gatherer. Is this not true of the fellowship of the Body of Jesus Christ today?” (Vincent, Life and words of Christ).

Sometimes it would seem impossible to reconcile and bring into harmony such extreme antagonisms, extreme contradictions as existed before they met Jesus. A Church, A Body, the Body of Christ, where a Zelotes and a Publican, Where a Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor, and a Barnabas “Son of consolation” are joined by one uniting spirit of love, harmony and fellowship. The Lord sent them, two together, to seek out a lost world.     

Jesus chose:
1. Peasants from the village
2. Townsmen
3. Fisherman
4. Tax Collectors
5. Extreme fanatics, Zealots
6. Good men
7, Bad men, saints, sinners and harlots to form the early Church

Jesus said,
 Matthew 8:11. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

History tells us that Simon Zelotes was martyred by being “sawed asunder” in Persia, after Possible preaching the Gospel as far as the British Isles.

Bartholemew was crucified in Armenia, They say he took the Gospel to India.  

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4. Finding Of Philip:

Philip

John 1:43. “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

In our study of The Twelve we have returned time and again to some portion of John 1:29-51, twenty three verses. What a seemingly insignificant event in the history of the Church , not to say of the world, this first meeting of Jesus of Nazareth with five humble men. Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathaniel, and another unnamed, (John).

It actually seems almost too trivial to find a place even in the Gospel narrative. Accordingly we find no mention made in the first three Gospels of the events recorded here, why? We are tempted to wonder why that John, the author of this Gospel, after the lapse of so many years (60-65) thought it worth while to relate incidents so minute so trivial.

Especially in such close proximity to the sublime sentences with which his Gospel begins. But facts so seemingly insignificant may be very important to the feelings of those whom they personally concern. I feel that John himself was one of the five who became acquainted with Jesus in these verses, the unnamed Disciple. (John 1:29-51)

And John to his latest hour remembered, with emotion, the first time he saw the Incarnate Word. John deemed the smallest details of that time exceedingly precious. First meetings are sacred, as well as last ones, especially those followed by such a lifelong friendship. All five of the men named are natives of Galilee, 40 miles to the north of where they met Jesus. Two of them, and possible all five were Disciples of John the Baptist.

This was a memorial day in the life of Andrew and John.
John 1:35. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
36. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
37. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

I wonder if we remember the first time we were introduced to Jesus? The significance of this meeting in John chapter one, John is describing the beginnings of the Church of Jesus Christ. We could call it the earliest blossoms of the Christian faith.

The first Disciples of Jesus, these five could have no inkling as to the gigantic proportion that this group would grow to. From such humble origin the mighty empire of Jesus Christ has evolved. Daniel saw the stone grow till it filled the whole earth. In some form or other at least one-half of the population of the earth is under its sway.

Long after he saw the beginnings, he saw the end. John said,
Revelation 7:9. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Here, in John 1, the Bride is introduced to the Bridegroom, and the marriage will come in due season, to the joy of the friend of the Bridegroom. (John 3:29) How easily and without formality, does the mystic bride, as represented by these five Disciples, become acquainted with her Heavenly Bridegroom?

There is no need of a formal introduction. They all introduce each other, or simply followed their feelings. I want to act as the friend of the Bridegroom. We are going to study one of these men who became a follower of Jesus that day and thereby part of the beginnings of this great fellowship.

Philip the Apostle who, some say, was slow witted, but I want us to form our own opinion of him from the information we have of him. Although Philip is mentioned in the four complete lists of the Apostles, it is interesting to observe that John is the only writer to tell us all that is said about him.
(Matthew 10:3. – Mark 3:18. – Luke 6:14. – Acts 1:13.)

John gives us enough information about Philip for us to study and gain some knowledge about him, a native of Bethsaida of Galilee.
John 1:44. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Although three and possible six of the Apostles came from Bethsaida, the city as a whole rejected the Lord’s Ministry. The results of such rejection was tragic, for the same lips which had proclaimed glad tidings then spoke terrible language of doom.
Matthew 11:21. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

How true it is that faithful witnesses for Christ, sometimes comes from unlikely places. Like the saints in Sardis who escaped the pollution of the city in which they lived.
Revelation 3:4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

“Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter (John 1:44) This is more than a notice of Philip’s postal address. The important part of John’s sentence not only where Philip lived but that it was the city of Andrew and Peter, two Saints of God.

So it tells us not only his dwelling place but what is more, his friendships. These two brothers, especially Andrew helped to prepare Philip for his Apostolic calling. It was probably because of Peter and Andrew that Philip came to where John baptized.

It was to Andrew that Philip came when difficult situations arose and Andrew always took charge of the situation.

John 6:5. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6. And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
9. There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

Aren’t you glad when a friend will step in when we don’t have the answers.
John 12:20. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21. The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.

Why did these Greek proselytes come to Philip? Philip himself had a Greek name and came from a town with several Greek inhabitants, he was not a Gentile. So it would be natural to approach someone with a name kindred to your own.

“Sir, we would see Jesus.” “Sir, we should like to meet Jesus.” No doubt Philip remembered when he, himself was a seeker, but he, himself was found. (John 1:43) He was many miles from home listening to a new prophet, John the Baptist. He was there because of a promise made many centuries before he was born, the promise of a Messiah, a Saviour.

Philip, like all his ancestors was constantly searching, but it was the seeker who was found.
John 1:43.  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

The first called to discipleship, “Jesus ……. findeth Philip” Isn’t it amazing the first person Jesus sought was Philip, and he became His Disciple. Findeth implies a diligent search, not by accident. “Seek and ye shall find.” Jesus sought and found Philip, but it is evident that Philip must have sought for Jesus. He said to Nathanael, “We have found Him..” (John 1:45)

Oh! The Joy of finding. Some can say, “I sought the Lord and He heard me.” Others will say,” Jesus sought me when I was a stranger.” The Greeks came to Philip seeking to see Jesus. Once again Philip turned to Andrew; they both take them to Jesus. How much Philip owed to Andrew who was a neighbor and a friend?

Cannot we say that our lives have been blessed by those who live under the same roof with us, or live on the same street or in the same town as we?

We need desperately the help of one another. Some have said that Philip was slow witted because that after 3½ years of training and teaching Philip lacked spiritual insight.

They base their conclusion of a question Philip asked in (John 14:8)
John 14:5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
20. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

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5. Thomas, Called Didymus:

Thomas, Called Didymus

John 20:24. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Thomas, The Apostle Most Slandered:
I want to be the last person to speak ill of, or slander, any Bible Character, especially the Heroes of Faith or the Apostolic Order. The reason being, that one day I expect to meet them and I do not want to owe any of them an apology. They may be listening because if I understand Hebrews 12:1 correctly “we are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses.”

Surely Thomas commands our sympathy for the mistreatment given him. Somewhere back in the distant past someone called him “Doubting Thomas.” Since that day a thousand preachers have jumped on the bandwagon and beat the same old drum to the same tune of adverse criticism.

An old proverb say, “Give a dog an ill name and his work is done.” This is certainly true in connection of Thomas. Many teachers and preachers have hardly a good word to say about him, having no independent judgment of their own; they only repeat someone else’s thoughts.

Let’s listen to some of the criticism from high sources which do not do Thomas justice.
1. Thomas is very much to be blamed for his unbelief, in that he compares very unfavorably with the rest of the twelve.
2. If ever a dismal somber note was to be struck, you could depend on Thomas to strike it.
3. A man of warm heart but melancholy temperament.
4. A man of much love and little faith.

Get the picture? They portray a man of doubts and unbelief with a gloomy, sad, melancholic disposition, a man of great depression of spirits. Today many would be trying to cast this spirit out of him. I want to dissociate my self from such an idea of the temperament of Thomas. It is high time we look at the man whom Jesus Himself must have seen.

Certainly, I agree, Thomas may have had doubts, so do the saintliest of men, who among us has not? But I do not believe for one moment that Thomas was among those “Born sad,” whose heart was “The home of sorrow,” Who looked upon life with “sad eyes,” and “carried about with him everywhere a heavy heart.

What’s in a name? “Thomas, called Didymus.”
Thomas = Hebrew
Didymus = Greek
Both mean, “A twin.”

It was customary with the Jews when traveling or associating with the Greeks and Romans to have a Greek or Latin name to use when dealing with them.

Saul of Tarsus ====Hebrew
Paul the Apostle == Greek
Dorcas ========= Greek
Tbitha ========= Hebrew

We do not know why Thomas chose the Greek equivalent, Didymus unless it was because of some business venture. We could busy ourselves trying to find a twin for Thomas in the Bible but of this it is silent. Many have suggested that because his name is paired with Matthew that he was Thomas’s twin, an old tradition.

Who the twin was we would like to know and whether he or she became a follower of the Lord. As far as Gospel history is concerned we know absolutely nothing about
1. The kinsmen of Thomas
2. His place of residence
3. Or his occupation.

The first three Gospels give us nothing but his name and that only in their listing of the “Apostles.” We are again indebted to John who in his Gospel makes him speak for us. Thomas along with Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot appear in the group of Apostles without any reference to the circumstances of their call to follow Jesus.

But I feel that all the Apostles came from the large multitude which followed Jesus from the beginning of His Ministry, and most were former disciples of John.
Act 1:21. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
22. Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

These scriptures seem to indicate that all must have been former disciples of John. And when the call came to Thomas to follow Jesus something stirred in his heart and he, along with the others, left all and went after the Lord. It’s not so much what Jesus saw in him that day but what he would become.

Let us ask a question. Was it a coincidence, a mere chance that Thomas is always listed with Matthew in the lists we have of the twelve Apostles? I think not, this was an arrangement of their names inspired by the Holy Ghost to each writer, and all writing at different times, and in different locations. Years apart, miles apart, yet we have the same arrangement.

I feel that this arrangement was made by Jesus himself when He sent them forth by two’s to preach, to teach and to heal the sick. I feel that also Matthew and Thomas will be found side by side, a common experience, and personal sympathy for each other, a fellow feeling of harmony.

The Lord who sent them forth saw to it they were not unequally yoked together.
John in his Gospel gives us three sketches of Thomas the Apostle. Jesus must have seen something in Thomas constraining Him to select him as an Apostle. Three times he speaks for us, all in John’s Gospel.

Thomas did not turn aside when danger or even death threatened. Lazarus was dead and our Lord resolved to go to Bethany to raise His friend whom He loved. But the rest of the Apostles sought to dissuade Him from going into Judea because the religious leaders there were plotting to slay Him. (John 11:1-16.) This takes place late in our Lord’s Ministry and Jesus had made many enemies.
(John 10:39—42.) Some wanted to take Him (Jesus) by force and put Him to death.

But Thomas spoke up and implied that they should not hinder Him but follow Him.
John 11:16.Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

What Thomas is saying “We will not desert, we will go too and if need be, we will die with Him.” Unlike Simon Peter who boasted “Lord I am ready to go with Thee to prison and to death. (Luke 22:33)  We all know that within hours Peter denied Him. Peter’s boast was mere words not followed by the deed. But with Thomas it was a declaration backed by deed for he crossed the Jordan with Jesus in the face of death threats.

Where are those Theologians who have constantly maligned Thomas accusing Him of fear, gloominess and pessimism? His was a love that counted no sacrifice too great. Thomas was willing to go into the very jaws of death in the company of His Lord.

No doubt thousands, yea, millions, have gained the courage to face the same trial inspired by these words of Thomas. “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” Love would make it sweet for Thomas in his company. The only person who has the right to malign Thomas is the one who has surpassed him, not only in word, but in deed. I personally have not met that person.

Thomas remains as the forerunner of them all when it comes to those who have seen what ought to be done and swift to see where duty led, and what devotion to Christ ought to lead to. Ever ready to leave all for Christ, dare all for Christ and die with Jesus. To be a Christian is not for the faint of heart.

David had mighty men, men of courage who was willing to stand back to back with him in a barley field. He had men who fought until their hand clave unto their sword. (2 Samuel 23)

Thomas speaks for us again in
John 14:5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

We should thank Thomas for his questions because Jesus’ answer supplies us with a lot of information we would not have had he not asked these questions. Thomas wanted a clear understanding of Jesus’ words. Jesus had told them He was going away to prepare a place for them.

John 14:4. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Then it was Thomas who spoke up and said that they knew not whither He was going, much less the way. Jesus was speaking cheerfully of going away and preparing that place in His Father’s house. But Thomas spake with a touch of sadness.  John 14:5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

This reveals him as a seeker after fuller truth. He lacked total understanding on a subject which he wanted to be clear. The place, and the way to get there. How we all need clarity of these important subjects.

Jesus gave the answer in one of His greatest utterances in the New Testament.
John 14:6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

He is the sum total of all we need to know for time and eternity. “How can we know the way?” Jesus is the way to God, the truth of God and the life from God. Finally this Apostle who is so maligned came to a fuller revelation of Jesus than any man in all the New Testament.

Philip said,
John 1:45. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Nathanael said,
John 1:49. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

Peter said,
Matthew 16:16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Thomas answered and said,
John 20:28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Thomas was the only person in the New Testament to call Jesus God.
Our Lord had risen from the dead and appeared to the Apostles when Thomas was not present. They told Thomas about His appearance but Thomas could not believe them. His was an honest doubt.

John 20:25. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

All honest doubters will end where Thomas did on their knees before their Lord in praise and adoration. Doubt may endure for a season, and then faith sweeps away all unbelief. After eight days Jesus came again and Thomas was present.

John 20:26. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

The Marks of Calvary:
The Thorns on His brow,
The Nails in His Hands,
The Spear in His Side.

John 20:29. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  

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6. Lebbaeus Or Thaddaeus Or Judas:

Thaddaeus, or Judas

Matthew 10:3 “… and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;”
Mark 3:18 “… and Thaddaeus,”
Luke 6:16 “… And Judas the brother of James,”

Judas the Apostle with three names.
Judas = Hebrew form.
Thaddaeus = Greek form.
Lebbaeus = Greek form.

Luke, tells us in his Gospel 3:16, and again in Acts 1:13, that he was the brother of James although he gives no hint to which James he refers to. John is only one of the  writers who knew him personally to call his name Judas, (John 14:22), but quickly adds “not Iscariot.”

Matthew and Mark who also knew him personally drops his Hebrew name for Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus which has a duel meaning “Heart-child.” His mother probably called him this, or, “the courageous one.” He may have earned this one.

All of these wrote many years after the Lord’s death and the name Judas had been dishonored. Judas the betrayer, Judas the traitorous one, in his case the brand of shame. Christians no longer named their children Judas. But John wants the world to know that this Judas before us remained devoted to Christ.

The Apostles are made up of greater and lesser lights. In the beginning of God’s creation “God made two great lights; (Genesis 1:16).

The sun and the moon are so conspicuous you cannot miss seeing them. “He made the stars also. Lesser lights, many so faint you can hardly discern them in the sky. Many centuries ago man discovered how reliable they were for navigation. How very important in the overall realm of things are these lesser lights. Many a ship would have ended up on the rocks but for these lesser lights.

Science tells us that many of these, which we call lesser light, are many times larger and brighter than our sun. We are only viewing them from so vast a distance. God has made other lights also, Spiritual lights, and has set them in the firmament of His Holy Word to give light to men.

Bible Characters are these lights Great – Lights –Lesser. Giving light not of themselves, but of God. Great lights there are such as Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Abraham and Jacob. Lesser lights almost unknown Bible Characters, Caleb, Two unknown Spies, and Shamgar.

Some are called Minor Prophets, Minor Personalities but in God’s work there are no greater or lesser person. Yet whether great or small each has its own special office. Each life and character teaches us its own lesson.

Guidance and example come from the unknown as well as the known sources. Some of the lesser saints on earth may be great in the sight of God and guiding stars in our lives. As I was saying among the Apostles they seem to be made up of greater and lesser lights.

Peter was a blazing sun and more conspicuous than any other Disciple in the Gospel story. It was the same for James and John the sons of Zebedee. But Apostles like Simon the Zealot, James the Less, and now Thaddaeus are lesser lights, yet they had their place in Jesus’ plan.

The information we have concerning these three is very limited. All that we know about Thaddaeus is that he had three names and asked Jesus a 16 word question. Another thing we know is that Jesus chose him after an all night prayer meeting, to be an Apostle and sent him forth to preach the Gospel. The record of his ministry has been kept on high where the record of thousands of others whose earthly biography was neglected.

John again gives us the only “knot-hole” through which we can get a small glimpse of Thaddaeus, Lebbaeus, Judas the brother of (son of) James. In John 14, Jesus speaking to His Disciples about His going away to His Father’s House and returning for them. This prompted several questions among the disciples as to where He was going and the way to get there.

John 14:5. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

The coming again in the first part of John 14:1-4. Jesus is speaking of a literal physical coming to take them away to be with Him in His Father’s house. Then in verses 16-21 Jesus indicates that it would be a period of time before His literal physical coming.

But during this integral He would return to them, to give comfort to them, and a full understanding of them of His relationship with the Father, A re-appearance specially exclusively to His own.

John 14:19.  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

In these verses Jesus is speaking of a spiritual coming which the disciples could not grasp the meaning of. (John 16:17-18)

Rather than to remain in darkness Thaddaeus asks Jesus to explain it more clearly. Thank God for some of the questions which were asked of Jesus? And John, who heard the question asked, thought it worth recording because of the answer Jesus gave.  

John 14:19.  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

John 14:22. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

What Judas, Thaddaeus, Lebbaeus is thinking how is it possible? How could Jesus make Himself visible to His disciples, and yet remain invisible to others? Not having received the Holy Ghost, like Nicodemus, he wonders “How can these things be.”

Neither Judas, nor any of His disciples, was capable as yet of conceiving a spiritual manifestation. Nor could they conceive of finding, in a spiritual manifestation, a compensation for the loss of His bodily presence.

Let us look at the question which Judas asked, for all of them, I might add, And for our benefit too. “Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest, Thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Let us now look at the gracious answer which Jesus gave. He did not attempt to explain the difference between a spiritual, corporeal, or literal manifestation. But He simply said.

John 14:23. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Then, Jesus knowing the state of mind which they were in, and the sadness of their heart, which would not let them comprehend what He was saying. Then He tells them that the Comforter would explain (teach) all this to them when he came.

John 14:26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Then He begins to utter words of farewell to them,
John 14:27. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I feel that these words did more to comfort their sad hearts than all that had been said before. Wonderfully soothing…. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you….

Like soft music, in the very sound of them, No doubt, these poor disciples were overtaken with the tenderness of the moment probably busting into tears.  

We hope you enjoyed reading this section of The Men Jesus Chose #2 and we hope you will read the other part of this study. The Men Jesus Chose #1 and The Men Jesus Chose #3.

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