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Lesson 12 - Three Forgotten Disciples

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INTRODUCTION

 

1.      Jesus called all kinds of people to be disciples

a.       We have seen Peter, James, John, Philip, Nathanael, Matthew, Thomas

b.      All were TOTALLY different

c.       But Jesus had a PURPOSE for EACH of them

2.      Now we are going to look at THREE apostles - Kind of forgotten

a.       James, the son of Alphaeus

b.      Simon the Zealot

c.       And Thaddaeus, aka Judas, son of James and Lebbaeus

3.      These three are like the vast majority of Christians

a.       They live, they work, they are faithful, they die

b.      All without little or no RECOGNITION

c.       They NEVER get their names in the church bulletin

d.      They NEVER teach a Bible class

e.       They NEVER get in the spotlight in ANY way

f.       They SIMPLY follow Jesus in the BACKGROUND

g.      They SIMPLY do what Jesus calls them to do

JAMES, SON OF ALPHAEUS

1.      This is NOT James, the son of Zebedee and John’s brother

a.       All we know about THIS James is his FIRST name

b.      His father’s name

c.       And that he was one of the original TWELVE

d.      His name is mentioned only FOUR times

Matthew 10:2-4 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Mark 3:16-19 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

Luke 6:13-16 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.

Acts 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

e.       In EACH list James, the son of Alphaeus is mentioned in the NINTH position

f.       NOTHING is recorded in the Bible of ANYTHING James said or did

2.      We know less about James, the son of Alphaeus than any of the OTHER eleven

a.       Some believe he could be the brother of another disciple whose father had the SAME name

Mark 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

b.      IF this James is the brother of Matthew, he may have become a follower of Jesus when he saw the TREMENDOUS change in his brother

c.       BUT we will not know for sure if they were brothers until we get to HEAVEN

3.      James may also be the person called James the less

Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

a.       This James’ mother was among the women at Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb

Matthew 27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

b.      But this is really stretching the point, because James is not called by this name in any of the lists of the disciples

4.      Tradition says James, the son of Alphaeus was stoned to death by the Jews for preaching Christ and was buried in Jerusalem

a.       James NEVER saw His name on a marquee

b.      James NEVER saw His name in print

c.       BUT James was FAITHFUL to the Lord puts his name in a much more IMPORTANT place

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

d.      His name will be just as GREAT as Peter or John

e.       James represents people like you and me

f.       Quiet believers serving the Lord behind the scenes

g.      And yes, often go unrecognized and unappreciated

h.      BUT

Matthew 6:4 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

i.        The Lesson from James the Son of Alphaeus is that all faithful believers will be REWARDED

JUDAS, THE BROTHER OF JAMES

 

Luke 6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

Acts 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

1.      JUDAS not a name one would want today

a.       YET it is a GOOD name

b.      It is the Greek form of the Hebrew name ‘Judah’

c.       One of Jesus’ four half=brothers was named JUDAS,

Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

d.      Then there was Judas the son of James

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?

                                                              i.      Iscariot separated him for that Judas 

2.      Once, Judas, brother of James, was called Lebbaeus

Matthew 10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

a.       Some of the older Greek manuscripts simply call him THADDAEUS

3.      There is only ONE recording of the words of Thaddaeus

a.       Was the night before the crucifixion

b.      Jesus tells His disciples that those who OBEY His commands are the ONES who LOVE Him and that He will REVEAL Himself to each of them

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

c.       Then Thaddaeus asks:

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?

4.      In the Upper Room, Jesus tells His disciples He is leaving them for a while and is going to Heaven

a.       He gets so many DIFFERENT responses

b.      Pessimistic Thomas

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

c.       Skeptical Philip

John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

d.      Then there is Thaddaeus

                                                              i.      He wants to know ONLY one thing

                                                            ii.      WHY was Jesus going to reveal Himself ONLY to them, and NOT to the world?

                                                          iii.      To which Jesus replies

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.

                                                          iv.      Jesus would REVEAL Himself to ANYONE ready to receive Him

                                                            v.      AND would come and live IN them in the person of the Holy Spirit

e.       Thaddaeus wants the world to come to Jesus as Savior

                                                              i.      Many of the OTHER disciples showed nothing but SELFISHNESS up to this point

5.      That is ALL we know about Thaddaeus

a.       He was QUIET, UNSELFISH, EVANGELISTIC

b.      Tradition says he preached in what is today Turkey

c.       There he died a martyr’s death

d.      Thaddaeus was a soul winner

e.       He was concerned with winning OTHERS

f.       Good priority for us

SIMON ZELOTES, also called SIMON THE CANAANITE

 

Matthew 10:4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Mark 3:18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,

1.      There are TWO Simons

a.       Simon Peter

b.      This one is Simon Zelotes

                                                              i.      Zelotes means devoted, zealous support

2.      Names Zelotes or Canaanite tells us a lot about this Simon

a.       Zelotes were a political party fanatically opposed to Roman rule of Palestine

b.      They were passionate patriots of Judaism

c.       The believed Israel was the Holy Land and should not be dominated by any foreign Gentile power

d.      He was a partisan for Jewish independence

3.      The Zealots tried to overthrow Roman rule through assassinations and terrorism

a.       They were famous for carrying curved daggers

                                                              i.      Used to assassinate anyone

                                                            ii.      Even their OWN people who conspired with or supported the Romans

b.      It was the Zealots who took control of Jerusalem in AD 66

                                                              i.      This action brought Titus and his Roman army to destroy and burn the city

c.       Their last stronghold was Masada, a mountain fortress that fell to Rome in AD 73

d.      Just image how HARD it was for Simon when he heard these words of Jesus:

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

4.      How amazing that Jesus chose BOTH Matthew and Simon Zelotes as disciples

a.       Matthew COLLECTED taxes to support Rome

b.      Simon would not given a second thought to murdering a Jew who collaborated with Rome

c.       Had they met under DIFFERENT circumstances, Simon would have gladly stuck a dagger in Matthew

d.      Image Simons thoughts when he heard Jesus say:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

5.      Jesus took the political commitment and zeal of Simon and transformed it into a commitment and zeal for the Gospel

a.       There is no consistent record of HOW Simon died

b.      But certainly he died preaching the Gospel

c.       With Simon we learn that Jesus can take away our PREJUDICE, our HATE

CONCLUSION

 

1.      Three forgotten disciples

a.       James, the son of Alphaeus

b.      Thaddaeus

c.       Simon Zelotes

2.      All three show us that God can and will use anyone

a.       IF there is a WILLING hear

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