Outline of the Book:
I. Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.
II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
A. The Temptation of the Son of Man, Luke 4:1-13.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
A. The Announcement of His Ministry,Luke 4:14-30.
B. The Authority of His Ministry, Luke 4:31-6:11.
1. Over demons,Luke 4:31-37.
2. Over disease,Luke 4:38-44.
3. Over the disciples, Luke 5:1-11.
4. Over defilement, (a leper healed),Luke 5:12-16.
5. Over defectiveness, (a paralytic healed), Luke 5:17-26.
6. Over the despised, (the call of Matthew and parables about new vs. old), Luke 5:27-39.
7. Over days, Luke 6:1-5.
8. Over deformity, Luke 6:6-11.
IV. The Associates of His Ministry,Luke 6:12-49.
1. The call of the disciples,Luke 6:12-16.
2. The characteristics of disciples, (The Great Sermon),Luke 6:17-49.
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III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
B. The Authority of His Ministry, Luke 4:31-6:11.
7. Over days, Luke 6:1-5,(Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath). This scene is also noted in Mat 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28.
In Jesus’ establishment of His Authority in Chapter 6, we have two confrontations with the Pharisees regarding the Sabbath; first with His own disciples, vs. 1-5, and then in healing a crippled man, vs. 6-11. The first was concerned with harvesting, the second with healing. Two themes run through these sections:
1. The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, vs. 5.
2. The Son of Man will be rejected, vs 11
Luke 6:1, “Now it happened that He was passing through some grainfields on a Sabbath; and His disciples were picking the heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating the grain.”
“Sabbath,” in the Greek is SABBATON, σάββατον. Some later manuscripts added, “The second after the first,” which some think is an allusion to the week after Passover.
We noted the Sabbath commandment by God when we studied the 10 Commandments as part of our study of Eph 6:1-3, you can visit our website www.gracedoctrine.org for more information on it and all of the 10 Commandments under “Doctrines.”
In brief, it was the last day, 7th, of the week, which we call Saturday today. Being the 4th of the 10 Commandments, the Lord commanded it to be a day of rest, (from work), and to worship of God, Ex 20:9-11; Deut 5:12-15. After God established a covenantal relationship with Israel, He instituted the Sabbath-day observance among the Jews that was to serve as a memorial of the Exodus, Deut 5:15. It was a unique institution in the ancient Near East that testified to the covenant relationship between God and His people, cf. Ex 31:12-17; Jer 17:19-27; Ezek 20:12-21.
The Sabbath was analogous to God’s rest, cf. Gen 2:3, where no work was to be performed on the seventh day of each week, cf. Lev. 23:3. There were also additional “holiday / Feast” Sabbaths that God gave to the people of Israel to observe during the Age of the Law.
Lev 23:3, “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.”
“Grainfields,” is the Greek Genitive of place, Plural, Adjective SPORIMOS. In harvest analogy, it literally means, “sown” but is used in reference to fields. It is only used in Mat 12:1; Mark 2:23; and here in reference to this narrative. This word does not refer to “corn,” as the KJV translated it as we think of corn in the U.S. This word simply denotes a field “sown” and by extension in its plural form, “seed sown” or “fields sown with grain” without mention of the species of grain, which in Israel was usually wheat or barley.
“Were plucking heads of grain,” is the Imperfect, Active, Indicative of the Verb TILLIO, “to pull or pluck off.” It too is only used in this narrative by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And, the Noun STACHUS that means, “stalks of grain or ear of grain.” Mark also used this in Mark 4:28, as an analogy for how God develops His kingdom.
Interestingly, by plucking they were in one way abiding by the law, Deut 23:25, in the fact of “loving their neighbor,” by not taking more than they needed, which would be the case if they used a sickle, cf., Deut 23:24.
Deut 23:25, “When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor’s standing grain.”
Deut 23:24, “When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, then you may eat grapes until you are fully satisfied, but you shall not put any in your basket.”
The second accusation was that they were “rubbing in their hands,” PSOCHO HO CHEIR, the grain. Only Luke mentions this action. Being the second, it was a second witness or piece of evidence according to the Law. This was the crime.
This was another “work,” like plucking. Only Luke uses PSOCHO, ψώχω and only here. This is an hapaxlegomena. It is a very rare word in the Greek language and possibly a medical term originally. Although reaping grain by hand in a neighbor’s field was permissible under the Law, this process would be equivalent to threshing and would thus be condemned by the Pharisees as “working” on the Sabbath.
The disciples were also accused of, “eating,” the grain, ESTHIO once again, that reminds us of the false accusations prior in Luke 5:30, 33, and the connotations that come with it; an accusation of being a sinner.
Luke 6:2, “But some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why do you do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’”
Notice that the Pharisees switch it up from going by the authority of their own example in the previous chapter, to the authority of Scripture, just as Satan did with his third temptation of our Lord in Luke 4.
This was the fourth of the 10 Commandments and the constantly spying Pharisees questioned the disciples’ actions here saying it is “not lawful,” OUK EXESTIN, where the Verb EXESTIN, ἔξεστιν is in the Present, Active, Indicative. With the negative it means, “it is not lawful, it is not permitted, or it is not possible.” It is the same as EXESTI with the variable Nu at the end, which was seldom used in classical Greek. In KOINE it was common. The basis of right and wrong here is the Law of God, i.e., the Torah. Every slightest act of Jesus was submitted to a microscopic scrutiny, yet He was without sin.
Ex 34:21, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.”
Remember, the Pharisees’ view about righteousness was associated with obeying rules, not compassion, Mat 9:13; Hosea 6:6. “Breaking the Sabbath by working required the death penalty in ancient Israel. Because of this stiff penalty, we can well understand why faithful Israelites would want to understand exactly what is meant by “work” on the Sabbath. So they devised rules and lists for defining “work” on the Sabbath. You could not walk very far or it was considered work. You could not cook on the Sabbath. You could not light a fire. And on it went. Pretty soon, according to the Pharisees’ rules, it became almost impossible to keep the Sabbath. So to the Pharisees, walking through a field and picking a handful of grain was profaning the Sabbath.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
From the Pharisees’ point of view, keeping the Sabbath regulations was more important than the needs of people, in this case, hunger. Because they elevate law over people, they become very hard-nosed toward people and indifferent to their needs. They want sacrificial obedience instead of loving mercy.
Our Lord will follow this up with lessons about compassion that we all need to learn, Luke 6:9, 27, 31-35, 46, 47-49; 8:21.
Luke 6:3, “And Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him.”
Notice that Jesus’ reply was with the Word of God, just as He had done with Satan.
“Hungry,” is the verb PEINAŌ, πεινάω that means, “To hunger or be hungry,” predominately in the physical way, but also used for “spiritual hunger,” that we will see in vs. 21. Here, it is the literal physical sense, but I am sure the irony of its spiritual sense was in Jesus’ view regarding these accusing Pharisees, who were spiritually famished.
Jesus’ object lesson was that of David and his fellow companions’ flight from Saul, noted in 1 Sam 21:1-7. They took “holy bread” that was in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, the “Show Bread” or “Bread of the Presence,” and ate it. Cf. Lev 24:5-9; Ex 25:30
Luke 6:4, “How he entered the house of God, and took and ate the consecrated bread which is not lawful for any to eat except the priests alone, and gave it to his companions?”
“The house of God,” was the tent structured Tabernacle that Moses had constructed in the wilderness.
“Consecrated bread,” in the Greek is ARTOS, “bread,” HO PROTHESIS, πρόθεσις that means, “Setting forth, presentation, purpose.” In the Acts and Epistles it means, “purpose,” but in the synoptic Gospels, it is used only for this narrative, and means “presence.” “Consecrated” is more of a commentary of this bread, yet “showbread” or “bread of the presence,” is the actual title, cf. Heb 9:2. With the understanding of “purpose,” we see that it is God who is working all things out for good and His glory, Rom 8:28, including this bread that Jesus mentions.
Rom 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
That is why Jesus can say He is the “Lord of the Sabbath,” in vs. 5.
Therefore, there was no bread on hand for David and his men except for the showbread. This bread was called showbread because it was “set out” or “exhibited” before YHWH. It consisted of twelve loaves, which were baked on the Sabbath, and were placed, hot, in two rows upon the showbread table every Sabbath day. The twelve old loaves which were then removed were to be eaten by the priests and no one else, Lev 24:5-9. It was these twelve old loaves which were given to David, 1 Sam 21:6.
Interestingly, this bread was baked on the Sabbath, a work itself ordered by the Law.
Luke 6:5, “And He was saying to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
The Imperfect, Active, Indicative of LEGO, “was saying,” tells us Jesus kept saying this over and over again.
In Mark 2:27-28 it reads, “Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath’.”
This tells us that the Law was meant to serve us, not the other way around as the Pharisees were doing. The Law was intended to protect the Israelites from overwork and the idolatry of work. It was to protect them from the routine that regularly forgets God by reminding them for a full day that God is their God and they are His people. God gave the Sabbath to refresh the souls and bodies of His people by having them meet with Him.
In Mat 12:5-8, it reads, “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? (i.e., They do their religious work and eat the show bread.) 6But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. 7But if you had known what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. 8For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
He is able to say this because He is the Creator of the heavens and earth who rested on the 7th day and established the 7th day Sabbath rest for Israel. In other words, He is sovereign over the Sabbath and not controlled by it.
Paul reiterated our Lord’s intent here when he stated in Col 2:16, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.”
Once again He invokes “the Son of Man,” title for Himself, Luke 5:24, as He will many more times in Luke’s Gospel, which tells us He is the Messiah.
“Lord of the Sabbath,” KURIOS HO SABBATON, comes first in the Greek. It reads, “The Lord of the Sabbath is the Son of Man.” Individually and combined, these statements tell us that Jesus is God.
Jesus rules the Sabbath. He can only rule the Sabbath if, in fact, He owns it. He can only own it if He is the one who made it and gave it, which He has done.
Remember, back in Luke 5:24, Jesus healed the paralytic on the Sabbath, now he was plucking, threshing, and eating on the Sabbath.
Notice how Jesus responded to the Pharisees accusations in this episode, John 5:16-17, “For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working’.” This was on the 7th Day! God is always at work for His people and the lost. Jesus, as the God/Man was working for the salvation of many on the Sabbath too.
Remember, observance of the Sabbath was not about the act of resting, but the relationship they had with God that they were supposed to enjoy on that day.
Compare this response to John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Then in John 9, Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath who said in vs. 25, “one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” Legalistic Pharisees were blinded by the Law.
In Luke 13, Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath that the Pharisees said broke the Law. Jesus’ justification was to allow her to rest too, like the animals as noted in the 4th Commandment. Cf. Luke 14:1-6.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ time emphasized the prohibitive aspect of the Sabbath and added further restrictions to it from their rabbinical tradition, Mat 12:2-7; Mark 3:2. In contrast, Jesus emphasized:
- That “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” Mark 2:27.
- That He was “Lord even of the Sabbath,” Mark 2:28.
- That the Sabbath offered opportunity “to do good” and “to save a life,” as well as to rest, Mark 3:4.
The Sabbath in relation to Jesus’ activities includes:
- His healing and resultant opposition, Mat 12:9-13; Luke 13:10-17; 14:1-5; John 5:1-17; 7:22-23; 9:14-16.
- His teaching, Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31.
- His synagogue attendance to proclaim His Messiahship, Luke 4:16f.
- His burial, Mark 15:42-47 (cf. 16:1); John 19:31.
- His resurrection, Mat 28:1.
Five is the number of “Grace” in the Scriptures. And He performed 7 healings, (the number of “Spiritual Perfection” in the Bible), on the Sabbath, Mark 1:21-27, 29-31; 3:1-6 (and Mat 12:8-14); Luke 13:10-17; 14:1-6; John 5:1-9; 9:1-14.
In these depictions, we see Christ foreshadowing the coming of the Church Age when the Law, including the Sabbath, would not be a requirement to be fulfilled. We see that during His time, the Sabbath was to be kept because they were still under the Age of Israel, the Age of the Law. They were still under the Mosaic Law.
Jesus, through His acts of healing and interpreting the Law, revealed Himself as Lord. These early verses established His authority as greater than the traditions and systems of men. “Doing good” always supersedes “doing the Law,” cf. Mat 19:19; 22:38; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8.
Gal 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”
Everyone who truly believes in Jesus, stops trying to work their way to God and turns from any hopes of self-righteousness, they enter into the true rest of God, which is an unending Sabbath, based on faith, Heb 4.
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III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
B. The Authority of His Ministry, Luke 4:31-6:11.
8. Over deformity, Luke 6:6-11.
This is another work Jesus performed on the Sabbath. He healed a man with a crippled or withered hand, cf. Mat 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6. This completes a series of eight events at the outset of Jesus’ ministry as recorded by Luke. Eight is the number of new beginnings, regenerations, and resurrection.
Luke 6:6, “On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.”
Notice, first that Jesus was teaching in the synagogue as was His custom, Luke 4:16; 4:44.
“Withered,” is the Adjective, XEROS, ξηρός that means, “dry or withered,” as also used in vs. 8. Here, it is used symbolically to describe a wasting disease or diseased state, e.g., a withered hand, cf. Mat 12:10; Mark 3:3, or paralysis, John 5:3. Regarding “dry” it is used for land as compared to the sea in Mat 23:15; Heb 11:29, as it is in the creation account of Gen 1:9; and the Flood episode, Gen 7:22. Having the dual usage, it was a subtle reminder of the days of creation when God then rested on the 7th day. The Flood account is somewhat of a reenactment of the creation of land coming up from the sea. This was a reminder of Jesus being the Lord of the Sabbath.
Luke 6:7, “The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him.”
“Were watching Him closely,” is the Imperfect, Middle, Indicative of the Verb PARATEREO παρατηρέω that means, “lie in wait for, observe carefully, watch closely,” cf. Mat 14:1; 20:20; Luke 11:53, 54; 14:1; 20:20.
So, we see that they watched Jesus, not to find evidence that would lead them to believe in Him as the Messiah, but to find something to accuse Him with. They were looking for what is called “confirmation bias.” “Confirmation bias happens when a person takes whatever evidence that is contrary to their position and interprets it in a way that confirms their position. When we operate with a confirmation bias, we do not really adjust our thinking with the new evidence presented. We rearrange the evidence to leave our bias undisturbed. That is not honest thinking.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
Now, according to the Pharisees’ rules, a physician was not allowed to give aid to the sick or practice medicine in any fashion on the Sabbath except in a few extenuating circumstances. If a woman gave birth, a midwife could assist in delivery. And, if someone was on death’s door, a physician could administer help. Otherwise, their man-made traditions forbade assistance in non-life-threatening treatments, as a withered hand was not life threatening.
PARATEREO also means, “to carefully observe laws or commandment.” Here the Pharisees were looking to see if Jesus would break any laws, so that they could, “accuse Him,” which is the Present, Active, Infinitive of the Verb, KATEGOREO κατηγορέω that means, “accuse or speak against.” It is from the Prepositional prefix KATA, “against,” that give the word a negative connotation, and the Verb AGORUO, (from AGORA, “marketplace”), and means, “to speak in the assembly.” Therefore, it literally means “to speak against (someone), to accuse, or to bring charges against,” e.g., Mat 12:10; Luke 11:54; 23:2, 10, 14.
Luke 14:1, “It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.”
Luke 20:20, “So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order that they might catch Him in some statement, so that they could deliver Him to the rule and the authority of the governor.”
Psa 37:12, “The wicked plots against (PARATEREO) the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth.”
Luke 23:2, “And they began to accuse Him, saying, ‘We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King’.”
As you know, Satan is the great “accuser” of God’s people, who “accuses” them before God day and night. He, however, has been cast down and has been overcome by the blood of the Lamb, Rev 12:10. In the next section we will see Jesus being in league with Satan, one and the same, yet it is the Pharisees and Scribes who have as their father Satan, the great accuser.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
And in fact, the Law “accuses,” it does not bring salvation. As such, the legalist stands “accused” because he or she is unable to keep the whole Law, John 5:45; cf. Rom 7; Gal 3:10ff. So, in fact the hypocritical accused Pharisees where trying to accuse an innocent man! Yet, they could not condemn Him.
Luke 6:8, “But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward.”
“Get up” is EGEIRO once again that gives us the imagery of the resurrection life.
“Come forward,” in the Greek is actually the Aorist, Active, Imperative of HISTEMI, ἵστημι that means, “stand, stand firm, etc.,” for a command from Jesus. It gives us the imagery of Eph 6:11-14. With this is the Adjective MESOS, μέσος that means, “middle, midst, in the middle, etc.” This is the word used in Luke 23:45, for the Veil of the Temple that was “torn in two,” or better, “in the middle.” As you know, that signified that the Mercy Seat is now available to all.
Combined, this man was asked to “stand firm in the middle” of this assembly for all to see Jesus perform this healing miracle. Though in the synagogue, a public forum, it also gives us a “court room” like atmosphere with the key witness being in the middle of the room for all to witness.
The righteous anger of Jesus desired to demonstrate His authority as Messiah and Lord of the Sabbath under the careful inspection of the Pharisees. He wanted to show them their sin and fault, (in this case their false accusations), while showing them true healing, (especially of our sins), found in Jesus Christ.
“He got up,” is the other word for literal “rising up” in the Bible that is also used for resurrection in Scripture, ANISTEMI, ἀνίστημι that means, “raise, raise up, bring to life, stand up, appear, to rise again.” Cf. Luke 18:33; 24:7
Luke 18:33, “And after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.”
John 6:40, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
Therefore, we continue to see the imagery of the new life, (the new resurrection life we receive when we believe in Jesus Christ), portrayed in all of His healings.
“Came forward” is HISTEMI once again; this time in the Aorist, Active, Indicative. It demonstrates this man’s faithful obedience to stand firm in the midst of the evil ones!!!
Luke 6:9, “And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?’”
Here we have Jesus’ question to the accusers. It is also Jesus’ justification for healing on the Sabbath. He is making the point we noted above of “doing good” and “loving your neighbor,” which is more important than “doing the Law.” The rules of the Pharisees made the Sabbath question a matter of doing or of not doing. But Jesus made it a question of doing good or not doing good, and His question implies that a failure to do good when one is able is harmful and sinful. Therefore, if you have an opportunity to help someone in a situation, the Christ like thing would be to do it; the harmful or sinful thing would be to hold back.
He uses the Verb AGATHOPOIEO that means, “To do good to or to act correctly.” It is a compound of AGATHOS, “good,” with intrinsic value, and POIEO, “to make or do.” Mark and Luke use it in this narrative, then Luke uses it Luke 6:33, 35; and Acts 14:17. It is also used in 1 Peter 2:15, 20; 3:6, 17; 3 John 1:11.
Luke 6:33, “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”
Luke 6:35, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
3 John 1:11, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.”
Mark’s parallel is similar to Luke’s, but notice Matthew’s expansion of the explanation with an object lesson.
Mat 12:11-12, “And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath’.”
As you know, throughout the Bible, the believer is considered the sheep, Mark 6:34, and Jesus the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Heb 13:20; cf. Micah 5:4. He is also the Good Shepherd, John 10:11, 14. As such, Jesus would show them true Divine Good Production by healing this man’s hand while demonstrating God’s love, grace, and mercy. Therefore, when you help others in any situation, you are showing God’s grace, mercy, and love while producing the Fruit of the Spirit, i.e., Divine Good Production.
In Jesus’ questioning, “doing good” is equivalent to “saving lives,” SOZO PSUCHE that also means, “saving a soul.” Therefore, when you produce Divine Good, you may be saving a soul at the same time, whether you realize it or not.
The contrast is “doing harm,” that uses the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of the Verb KAKOPOIEO, κακοποιέω that means to, “do evil, harm, or do wrong” It is only used in this narrative by Mark and Luke, and then in 1 Peter 3:7; 3 John 1:11. It too uses POIEO for “to do or doing,” but this time it has the prefix of the Adjective KAKOS, κακός that means, “bad, evil, wicked, worthless, or depraved.”
1 Peter 3:17, “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”
3 John 1:11, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.”
Doing someone harm or purporting evil towards them is equated with “destroying (their life/soul).” “Destroying,” is the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of APOLLUMI that means, “destroy, ruin, kill, lose, be lost, perish, or to put to death,” which we noted in Luke 4:34, where the legion of possessing demons were afraid that Jesus would destroy them, and in Luke 5:37, where the wineskin is destroyed if the new spiritual life in Christ is joined to the old Sin Nature or the old Age of the Law, i.e., the two are not compatible and both will be destroyed if mixed together. It has the sense of eternal destruction; being thrown into the eternal Lake of Fire.
Interestingly, some later Greek translations used APOKTEINO here that means, “kill or deprive of spiritual life,” which is the word Mark used in this narrative, Mark 3:4. Therefore, we do harm to others by not showing them God’s grace, mercy, and love that may result in others not coming to know Jesus with the result of destroying their spiritual life and eternal condemnation.
Luke 6:10, “After looking around at them all, He said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ And he did so; and his hand was restored.”
Notice what is unsaid. The Pharisees had no answer or response to Jesus’ question. Mark says, “they were silent.”
“Looking around,” is another compound word from the Preposition PERI, “around,” and BLEPO, “to see, to look toward, notice, perceive, etc.,” which is PERIBLEPOMAI, περιβλέπομαι. This is Luke’s only use of the Verb, otherwise only Mark uses it in Mark 3:5, 34; 5:35; 9:8; 10:23; 11:11.
Mark shows us Jesus’ righteous anger in Mark 3:5, where he puts a little more emphasis on Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees by stating, “After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…” Therefore, we understand that before healing the man with the withered hand, Jesus’ angry eyes scanned the crowd of unbelieving Pharisees gathered in the synagogue who were “closely watching” Him to see if He would break the Law. In other words, Jesus was staring down the watchers.
This “anger,” ORGE, “anger or wrath,” used predominately for God’s wrath, expressed here by Jesus is what is called “righteous anger” or “righteous indignation,” cf. Eph 4:26.
Eph 4:26, “BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your provocation to anger.” Cf. Psa 4:4.
Here we see that the emotion of anger is not sin in itself, yet the believer is commanded to deal with the provocation and anger, and perhaps resolve the source of the provocation, if possible without delay so that bitterness does not set in, bringing sin and a foothold for Satan to work.
Psa 4:4, teaches David’s righteous indignation at the revolt of his son Absalom. In this case, David’s temptation to be angry with Absalom was checked. If David had continued in his reaction, it would have become sin. But David was able to stop his temptation to sin by being occupied with Christ. As a result, he asked the army to spare Absalom, 2 Sam 18:5.
Therefore, it is ok to be upset with people or situations that are sinful or unrighteous, or in response to unfair treatment and show your displeasure with them or the situation, but at the same time, as Jesus did, you need to take the appropriate action to demonstrate what true righteousness, grace, love, and mercy are. You can be angry because of maltreatment or gossip from others, and yet still put the matter in the Lord’s hands and not sin.
For example, Jesus was indignant with His disciples when they prevented the children from coming to him in Mark 10:14.
Mark 10:14, “But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant, (AGANAKTEO, “be indignant or angry”), and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’.”
In Mat 16:23, Jesus had righteous indignation when he said to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan, you are a stumbling block to Me. You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.” Likewise, in Mat 23:13-36, Jesus railed against the Scribes and Pharisees. He was not sinfully angry when He chewed them out, but expressed righteous indignation.
Mark 3:5, also says, Jesus was “grieved at their hardness of heart.” Here, anger and grief are combined. Many times the two go together. What makes you angry or upset also causes you sorrow and pain.
“Grieved,” is the Verb SULLUPEO συλλυπέω that is only used here in the NT; an hapaxlegomena. It is a compound word from the prefix SUN, “with,” and the root LUPEO, “to be grieved, distressed, sorrow, in pain, mourn, or sad.” LUPEO is used in Eph 4:30, for “grieving” the Holy Spirit.
The compound word in Mark’s gospel is only in reference to Jesus, so He was not grieving with others here. Instead, it is an emphasis of the deep sorrow or grief Jesus had because they were obligated to a system of law rather than to God, with the result of their souls being “hardened” to the truth and God’s grace, mercy, and love. Therefore, with just indignation and deep sorrow in His soul, Jesus healed the man with the withered hand to demonstrate God’s love, mercy, and grace.
Notice in Luke 6:10, Jesus tells the man to “stretch out your hand,” EKTEINO CHEIR. Jesus did this same “stretching out,” when healing the Leper in Luke 5:13. This could have been considered a work on the part of the man. Yet, this was the analogy of Christ freeing the Israelites from captivity in Deut 5, “by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm.”
In this second event of Jesus seemingly breaking the Sabbath, He was reminding the hypocritical Pharisees of the justification for the Sabbath when the Decalogue was reiterated a second time in Deut 5:12-15. There, the justification was His redemptive act of freeing the Israelite slaves from captivity “by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm.” Remember that in ancient times, they believed deformities and illness were due to sin in the life of the individual or even the parents. Therefore, when Jesus healed the man, He was in a sense redeeming him from his sins; freeing him from the slave market of sin. This is what Jesus accomplished at the Cross, for all who believe in Him.
“Restored,” is the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of the Verb APOKATHISTEMI, ἀποκαθίστημι that means, “restore, reestablish, or cure.” In the LXX, it was used for the healing of Lepers in Ex 4:7; Lev 13:16; Job 5:18. It also became a technical term in Judaism for the anticipated restoration of Israel to its homeland, Jer 15:19; 16:15. Therefore, this man’s deformity may have been from leprosy, and the act of healing it pointed to the coming of the Messiah who would restore Israel to be a prominent nation once again, cf. Mark 9:12; Acts 1:6-8; 3:21.
Also notice that when the man stretched out His hand, it was immediately healed. Jesus did not say or do anything, nor did He touch it. Obviously, God was the One who healed him. Therefore, Jesus was once again showing His Lordship over the Sabbath as God and as the Son of Man and the Son of God.
Luke 6:11, “But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.”
This marks the turning point, or better, the breaking point, in Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees. From this point forward, we see them as antagonist toward Him every step of the way.
“Filled with rage,” is the Aorist, Passive, Indicative of the Verb PLETHO with the Genitive of Content Noun ANOIA, ἄνοια that means, “foolishness or fury.” It is only used here and in 2 Tim 3:9, where vs. 1-8 describes this type of foolishness and rage. Therefore, these Scribes and Pharisees were more than “annoyed,” they had “foolish rage” or “senseless anger” towards Jesus. In other words, they had “lost their minds,” with resultant anger in contrast to Jesus’ righteous indignation that is based on God’s truth, righteousness, and holiness. Their anger was baseless and therefore foolish and futile.
This type of anger is a mental attitude sin. As a mental attitude sin, anger expresses antagonism, hatred, exasperation, resentment, irrationality. It can be mental or emotional or both. If you allow this type of anger to continue, you will then have bitterness or vindictiveness, and your vindictiveness will come out either verbally or as some form of retaliation or revenge.
As Eccl 7:9, tells us “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.”
Remember, as Robert Thieme Jr. put it, “Satan had anger and it turned a genius into an ass. Anger turns any person into a stupid ass. A person is never smart when angry, which is why many stupid and embarrassing things are said in anger. If you have to deal with some problem and must have your senses about you, don’t lose your temper!” Cf. Gal 5:19-21; Eph 4:31; Col 3:8-10.
Gal 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Eph 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath, (THUMOS, “great anger, wrath, rage, passion, or indignation”), and anger, (ORGE), and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
Col 3:8-10, “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, (ORGE), wrath, (THUMOS), malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”
We also see in these passages that baseless anger grieves the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30, and stops Divine Good Production, Gal 5:18, 22-25.
Anger also hinders effective prayer, 1 Tim 2:8, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.”
As we see in these Scribes and Pharisees, anger leads to other sins both verbal and overt. Their foolish anger led them to “discussed together,” which is the same as “talked about” in Luke 1:65, regarding John the Baptist after his circumcision. Therefore, it was “continuous talk back and forth between the Pharisees.” Notice that Mark also states that they “conspired with the Herodians,” those faithful to Herod Antipas, which they would also do later on, Mat 22:16; Mark 12:13. The Pharisees did not like the Herodians, but I guess the principle, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” was appropriate for them.
As we see, anger is never an isolated sin, Prov 29:22, “An angry person stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered person abounds in transgression.”
They were discussing what they should “do,” POIEO, in the Optative Mood, to or about Jesus. It is a play on words regarding “doing good,” and “doing evil” of vs. 9. Here, their plotting was definitely “doing evil.” In the Optative Mood, we could say they were discussing what they “possibly could do” to Him. We assume to defame Him or get rid of Him, albeit according to the Law! Mark tells us that they plotted how they could destroy, APOLLUMI, Him, Mark 3:6. In this, we see that the Son of Man was to be rejected. Therefore, self-righteous baseless anger leads to harm and sin against others. This type of anger destroys virtue in the subject, and destroys the function of impersonal love.
“One might think that after such a demonstration of the goodness of God, the Pharisees and their companions would have fallen before Jesus in worship. But Luke’s Gospel highlights the evil “coldness” latent in the religious system of that time. By not doing good when afforded the opportunity, religiosity demonstrated its evil root. Their rage indicated their rejection of the Messiah of God because He did good which threatened their system.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Anger also destroys a nation, Amos 1:11, “So decrees the Lord, ‘For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not revoke its punishment. Because he pursued his brother with a sword, while he stifled his compassion, because his anger raged continually and he maintained his fury forever’.”
We must be careful with our righteous indignation, because the Scribes and Pharisees in their self-righteousness arrogance and self-justification, most likely thought that they had right indignation. But too often, as in their case, righteous indignation is an excuse for the function of legalism, cf. Luke 13:10-16; Mat 21:15. Arrogance motivates emotional sins like jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, implacability, revenge, or self-pity. Anger is the other side of the coin with jealousy. As such, their arrogance and legalism led to their baseless anger and hatred towards Jesus, which led to gossiping and maligning Him that also led to persecuting Him all the way to the Cross.
In fact, criminal activity is the function of the arrogant and sinfully angry person. Most people who spend their time in baseless anger have a temporary loss of self-esteem or it is a manifestation that no self-esteem exists in the first place. As such, their baseless anger always adds wrong to wrong, or sin to sin.
Therefore, we see that our anger should not be baseless and petty that leads to further sin and sinfulness. Instead, it should solely be based on infractions against God’s holiness and righteousness that leads us to take the appropriate actions to demonstrate God’s grace, mercy, and love.
Jesus’ righteous anger was coupled with sorrow and sympathy for those who were antagonistic towards Him and God, which led Him to demonstrate God’s true love, mercy, and grace towards them, just as ours should too.
James 1:19, “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”
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We now start a new section in our outline of Luke, which will take us to the end of the Chapter.
C. The Associates of His Ministry, Luke 6:12-49.
1. The call of the disciples, Luke 6:12-16.
2. The characteristics of disciples, (The Great Sermon), Luke 6:17-49.
1. The call of the disciples, Luke 6:12-16.
In the other gospels, we have more details about Jesus’ calling / selection of the 12 Disciples / Apostles. We have already seen in Luke’s gospel, interactions with Simon-Peter, James and John, and Levi-Matthew. But now, Luke tells of the selection of all 12 as a one group / event.
Luke 6:12, “It was at this time (in those days) that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.”
Once again, we see Jesus secluding Himself so that He could enter into intimate prayer with God the Father, Luke 5:16; 9:18, 28; 11:1-2; 22:41, 44; just as we should from time to time, especially if a big event is on the horizon, as we look to our Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. Jesus’ big event here is the selection of the twelve.
“Spent the whole night,” is the Verb DIANUKTEREUO, διανυκτερεύω. It is from DIA, “through,” NUX, “night,” and TEREO, “watching, protecting, or guarding.” This is its only use in the NT. Therefore, we could translate this, “He guarded throughout the night.”
The thing He guarded throughout the night was His “prayers,” PROSEUCHE, “to God,” THEOS, meaning prayers to God the Father, just as we are to direct our prayers to the Father as stated in Luke 11:2-4; Mat 6:6, 9-13; John 15:16; 16:23.
Most of us cannot even pray consistently for 1 minute, never mind 1 whole night, lol. Yet, because of Jesus’ most personal relationship with the Father, His occupation with Him, He was able to focus His concentration on His prayers to the Father throughout the entire night, which was more important to Him and more refreshing to Him, I would add, than a good night’s sleep.
Luke 6:13, “And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles.”
“He called,” is the verb PROSPHONEO, προσφωνέω that means, “speak to, address, or call to oneself.” In classical Greek it also was used for “to call by name.” It is used by Luke 6 times and once by Matthew mostly for addressing a crowd or an individual. With the later use mentioned above, it alludes to calling out the disciples individually, yet the former usages refer to addressing the crowd of disciples or drawing their attention to what He was to say to them. With the prefix PROS it means to speak to or address them face to face.
“Disciples,” is the Plural of the Noun MATHETES, μαθητής that means, “learner, pupil, or disciple.” It has a broad sense in application to those learning from another, like John the Baptist or Jesus, and it sometimes is only used for the 12 Apostles, cf. vs. 17; Luke 5:33. Here, it is probably a larger group of believers learning from and following Jesus of which He selected 12 to be His apostles, given the use of the Preposition APO for “of them,” that can mean “from, away from, out of, etc.” So, these 12 where chosen from the larger group as Luke tells us. The other Gospels provide more detail on the one by one calling out of these men by Jesus, but Luke lumps them all together.
From that group of disciples, “of them or from them,” as noted above, Luke says he “chose twelve,” the Aorist Middle, Participle, Nominative, of the Verb EKLEGO, ἐκλέγο “choose, select, or elect,” with DODEKA “twelve.”
Luke uses EKLEGO again when God the Father is heard in Luke 9:35, at the Transfiguration saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”, instead of “My beloved,” as in Mat 3:17 and Mark 9:7; cf. Luke 1:11.
John also uses this word regarding Jesus’ selection of the 12 in John 6:70, “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’”
John again uses it regarding the 12 in our Lord’s Upper Room Discourse, John 15:16-17, 19, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17This I command you, that you love one another…. 19if you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
Luke also used it in Acts for the selection of the 12, that was now 11 in Acts 1:2, “Until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.”
And in Acts 13:17; 15:7; 1 Cor 1:27-28; James 2:5, it is used for God’s Sovereign choice in raising up certain people or a group to salvation.
In our passage, we have a parallel to God’s “calling and election” of the believer, yet with different Greek Words. For the “calling of the believer” the words KALEO, KLESIS, KLETOS, etc., are typically used and for the “election” of the believer the Adjective EKLEKTOS, “chosen, select, elect,” is typically used. So, combined we see the “calling of God, the invitation of God, with the election, choosing, and appointing of God, to salvation or service; in the Apostle’s case, to service. Therefore, in our passage, because Judas Iscariot, an unbeliever, was included, we have a slight variation in the terms used for the Disciple’s / Apostle’s “Calling” and “Election.”
In its simplest definition, election refers to the intention, process, and result of making a choice. In regard to God and the Church, it is an act of the Divine will of God. Therefore, in relation to our salvation, election is the sovereign act of God in grace whereby He chose in Christ Jesus for salvation all those whom He foreknew would accept Him.
As such, our election is the prehistoric, pre-creative recognition by God of those who would believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior in time. Because of God’s omniscient foreknowledge of your faith in Christ Jesus, God in eternity past was able to elect you into His family and gave you salvation in time. Therefore, election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past before the universe existed and before mankind lived on the earth. It is the sovereign right of God over His creation.
God is under no obligation to elect anyone since we all were lost in Adam, (sin). Election is wholly of God’s grace apart from human merit.
Our works have no relation to our historical impact. 2 Tim 1:9, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”
In grace, God chose to provide salvation for man through Christ, and election is only applicable to those who are “in Christ.” In other words, God chose man on the merits of Christ, not on the merits of man. As such, God looked down the corridor of time and in His foreknowledge saw who would non-meritoriously accept Christ as their Savior and then elected them to salvation.
Under God’s Divine Decree, His Sovereign Plan for mankind, He elected those who would believe in Christ into His Family. The Biblical order of God’s Decree is as follows:
- Decree to create all Men.
- Decree to permit man to fall.
- Decree to provide salvation for men, unlimited atonement.
- Decree to elect those who believe and leave in just condemnation all who do not believe.
- Decree to apply salvation to those who believe.
Therefore, election emphasizes God’s free choice of individuals to salvation. As Paul uses the verb EKLEGO in the middle voice, he is indicating that God’s choice was made freely and for His own purposes, cf. 1 Cor 1:27-28.
In Eph 1:4, Paul uses EKLEGO regarding God’s sovereign election of every believer. This choosing occurred before the foundation of the world for you to live a godly life, Eph 1:4.
Also remember that election regarding salvation is a term used for the believer only and never for the unbeliever. Therefore, God does not “elect” the unbeliever to go to Hell. Their eternal condemnation is a result of their personal choice to reject God’s plan of salvation; Jesus Christ.
Election assures that those chosen will be saved, but it alone does not save them. People are saved through faith in the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross. They must learn about the death of Christ somehow in order to have content to their faith. Thus election, the death of Christ, testimony of His death, and personal faith are all necessary in the salvation of an individual. Election alone does not save.
Then we have the “calling of God.” Eph 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling (KLESIS), what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
The Call of God includes two concepts.
- The invitation of God the Father to the spiritually dead person to believe in Jesus Christ after the gospel has been communicated to and understood by the unbeliever.
- The election of the believer.
The invitation of God the Father to believe in Jesus Christ is the result of God’s common grace, executed by God the Holy Spirit. That is, once the unbeliever listens to the gospel and hears an accurate presentation, God the Holy Spirit makes that information lucid, perspicuous, comprehensible, and understandable. Under total depravity, we are unable to understand spiritual phenomena or do anything to have a relationship with God, yet God the Holy Spirit allows the unbeliever to comprehend and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As such, the invitation of God the Father comes to us through understanding the issue of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you have eternal life; reject Him and you have eternal condemnation, John 3:16-18. This constitutes the invitation of God the Father, which the scripture calls “the call” or “the calling of God,” Rom 1:6-7; 8:25-30.
The Calling of God is an invitation to believe Jesus Christ for salvation. In efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit makes the faith one has in Jesus Christ effective for salvation. No works are added to faith. Efficacious grace follows the invitation for those who believe. We respond to the invitation by believing in Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us of various purposes for God’s calling or inviting men to believe in Christ.
- Fellowship with The Lord Jesus Christ (TLJC), 1 Cor 1:9.
- Entrance into God’s Kingdom, 1 Thes 2:12.
- Eternal life, 1 Tim 6:12.
- Suffering, 1 Peter 2:21.
- Blessing, 1 Peter 3:9.
- Eternal glory, 1 Peter 5:10.
- Liberty, Gal 5:13.
- Peace, 1 Cor 7:15.
- Brought out of darkness, 1 Peter 2:9.
- Eternal inheritance, Heb 9:15.
Gal 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Given God’s calling to salvation through Jesus Christ, our non-meritorious faith in Him, and subsequent election into the eternal family of God, (the Royal Family of God, 1 Peter 2:9), we should live our lives loving God by developing our relationship with Him, honoring Him, and serving Him, daily; by which, He has given us His Holy Spirit to accomplish, Eph 4:1-7; Col 3:12; 2 Peter 1:10.
The calling and election in our passage is related to the “12 Disciples named Apostles.” “Named them,” is the Verb ONOMAZO, “name, entitle, call, or mention,” and “as apostles,” is the Noun APOSTOLOS, ἀπόστολος, “apostle or messenger,” and literally means, “one who is sent.” “Its background and origin are found in the maritime language. It occurs in connection with sea voyages and military expeditions; later it designated the fleet itself. From this the term came to signify a group of men who were sent on a special task, for example, a group of settlers. Furthermore, HO APOSTOLOS signified the leader and commander of the expedition.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary).
Even though APOSTOLOS is a general term, it became a unique office that was also a unique spiritual gift, given by God, Eph 4:11, to the early Church. Since the completion of the Canon of Scriptures, it is no longer a legitimate spiritual gift. This is the first time Luke uses the term and it stands for the ministry and office of Apostle as instituted by Jesus that the following 12 men held during Jesus’ ministry on earth.
Twelve is the number of Perfect Government in the Bible, like the 12 Tribes of Israel, as this would be the perfect administration of God’s announcement of the Kingdom of Heaven and the building of the Church, Eph 2:20, which foundation will be stamped for all of eternity in the New Jerusalem, Rev 21:14.
Eph 2:20, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.”
Rev 21:14, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
The qualifications for being an Apostle included:
a, Seeing the Lord and being an eyewitness to His resurrection, Acts 1:2, 22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-9.
b. Being invested with miraculous sign-gifts, Acts 5:15-16; Heb 2:3-4.
c. Being chosen by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, Mat 10:1-2; Acts 1:2; Eph 4:11.
The term “Apostle” was used for the original twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, including Judas Iscariot. The list of the original 12 disciples is found in Mat 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16; and the 11 excluding Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:13-14.
Matthew’s Order, Mat 10:2-4
Simon Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite (Zealot), Judas Iscariot.
Mark’s Order, Mark 3:16-19
Simon Peter, James the son of Zebedee, John the brother of James, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite (Zealot), Judas Iscariot.
The Order in Acts 1:13, Acts also lists the Apostles with the exclusion of Judas Iscariot as follows: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Canaanite (Zealot), Judas son of James (Thaddaeus). Judas Iscariot was dead / missing and not included in this list. This is a picture of our Lord in the tomb / in Hades.
During the ministry of Jesus here on earth, these were the apostles to Israel, to preach, along with Jesus, that the Kingdom of Heaven had come. We also note that the Bible distinguishes between the apostles to Israel, the original 12, and the apostles to the Church, that includes the original 11 plus Paul who replaced Judas Iscariot according to 1 Cor 15:7‑10.
Apostles received direct revelation from God and communicated it to the Church prior to the completed Canon of Scripture. All revelation today is through the Word. All writers of the NT were either apostles or someone closely associated with an apostle, (e.g., Mark – Peter, Luke – Paul, James and Jude – all and Jesus’ ½ brothers). Once the Canon of Scripture was complete, (writing of Revelation), the gift of apostleship was withdrawn. The Canon of the NT became the basis and absolute criterion for the Christian way of life. In addition, the last appearance our Lord made to man was to Paul on the Damascus road, 1 Cor 9:1; Acts 9:1-31. As such, Paul saw Him “last of all” 1 Cor 15:8; the final eyewitness, and therefore he became the last great apostle of the Apostolic Age.
Here, we have Luke’s order of the apostles. Matthew and Mark give a slightly different order, as does Luke in the book of Acts. They are as follows:
Luke 6:14-16, “Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”
An interesting thought is that most of these men might have been pairs of brothers. We know that Peter and Andrew were as stated in Luke’s text, as well as James and John as previously stated in Luke 5:10, and in Mat 17:1; Mark 5:37; 10:35, yet we do not know for sure about the others. In Luke’s writing, and the English translations, we see an interesting use of the Conjunction KAI, “and,” along with the English use of semicolons, which may indicate that others were brothers as well. For example, Philip and Bartholomew, or Matthew and Thomas. After Thomas the definition of each man is specific, i.e., James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. Further, as we look at Matthews’s list, he notes James, the brother of John as
we know, to be the son of Zebedee, yet John is just listed without the same definition. Therefore, with that same logic, James the son of Alphaeus may be the brother of Simon the Zealot. Or in Matthew and Mark’s list James the son of Alphaeus may be the brother of Thaddaeus, (a.k.a., Judas the son of James). In addition, Thomas, whose name means “twin,” is usually mentioned along with Matthew, who was the son of Alphaeus, Mark 2:14, and that these two are followed by James (the Lesser), who was also the son of Alphaeus, Mark 3:18. From that it has been supposed that these three, Matthew, Thomas, and James, were brothers, but no proof of this can be found. So, we just do not know for sure, but it is interesting that the Lord selected several pairs of brothers.
The Apostles in the order of Luke 6:14-16:
Simon means, “hearing,” and Peter means, “Rock / Stone.” He was also known by his Aramaic form of the Greek word for “rock,” PETROS, which is Cephas, John 1:42; cf. 1 Cor 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal 1:18; 2:9, 11, 14.
Peter was the son of Jonas, Jonah, or John, Mat 16:17; John 1:42; 21:15-16, and was the older brother of Andrew. His mother is not named in Scripture, but traditionally known as Joanna. He was a native of Bethsaida, believed to be on the northwestern coast of the Sea of Galilee, where Philip was also from, John 1:44. Peter and his brother Andrew had a fishing business centered in Capernaum, Mat 4:18; Mark 1:16, 21, 29, on the Sea of Galilee, and were partners of James and John, Luke 5:10. Peter was married, Mark 1:29-31; 1 Cor 9:5, and maintained a residence in Capernaum, Mark 1:21, 29. Jesus healed his mother-in-law, who perhaps was living with Peter, Luke 4:38-39. It is possible that his home became Jesus’ headquarters in Galilee, Mat 8:14; Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1. 1 Cor 9:5, says that Peter, along with the other married apostles, often took his wife with him on his missionary journeys. Later tradition speaks of his children (Clement of Alexandria’s Stromateis 2.6.52) and says that Peter was present at the martyrdom of his wife, crying out to her by name, “Oh you, Remember the Lord,” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 3.30.2).
First influenced by John the Baptist, the NT tells us more about Peter than any other Apostle with the exception of Paul. He had a fiery personality and was a pioneer among the twelve and the early church, breaking ground that the church would later follow. Peter is credited with being a leader of the twelve disciples whom Jesus called. His name always occurs first in the lists of disciples, Mat 10:2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:14. Peter had a commitment to serve as a bridge in the early church between the Jews and Gentile, doing more than any other to hold together the diverse strands of primitive Christianity. Peter is said to have been martyred in Rome, being crucified upside down.
Andrew – A Strong Man, manly.
He is the younger brother of Simon Peter, Mat 4:18; 10:2; John 1:40. He is a native of the city of Bethsaida in Galilee, John 1:44, the son of Jonah-John, John 21:15. Little is known about Andrew, though he was the first to identify the Christ, and He then brought his brother Simon to the Lord, telling him that he had “found the Messiah,” John 1:41-51. He with Peter, James, and John were part of the “confidential group” of Jesus, Mark 13:3-4. He brings others to Christ three times, 1) Peter; 2) the boy with the loaves and fish, John 6:8-9; and 3) certain Greeks, John 12:20-22. He is mentioned for the last time as one of those who continued at Jerusalem in the “Upper Room” after the ascension, Acts 1:13. Scripture relates nothing of him beyond these scattered notices. He is said to have been crucified on a saltire cross at Edhessa or the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea.
James, the son of Zebedee, brother of John.
James is the English translation of the Greek name IAKOBOS from IAKOB or Jacob, which means supplanter or supplants, undermines, or the heel = Satan, sin. Zebedee = My Gift or God has bestowed, endowment of Jehovah. He is the older brother of John, Mark 5:37, one of the two sons of Zebedee, Mat 4:21; Mark 1:19; Luke 5:10. He is also known as “John the greater.” Their mother is Salome, who is most likely the sister of our Lord’s mother Mary, compare Mat 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1; John 19:25. That would make James and John first cousins of our Lord Jesus, and also related to the family of John the Baptist. He is a native of Bethsaida.
He is always mentioned with his brother John and mentioned first, probably for being the elder, except in Luke 9:28. As noted previously, James and his brother were fishermen and partners with Simon and Andrew by trade, Mark 1:20; Luke 5:10. His father was apparently a man of some wealth since he owned a fishing ship and hired servants, compare Mark 1:20; Luke 5:3; John 19:27, as well as the accounts of his mother contributing consistently financially to the ministry of our Lord, Mark 15:41; 16:1; Luke 8:3.
It seems he was impetuous, hotheaded, and sometimes fanatic in nature that may have led to James’ and John’s surname “Sons of Thunder,” Mark 3:17, which also means, “strength, unexpectedness, and zeal, approaching to methods of violence.” The call to James to follow Christ, Mat 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11, was given by Jesus as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee. James often took care of our Lord’s daily needs, Mat 27:56; Mark 15:40-41. He with his brother and Peter, where part of the “inner circle,” and seemed to be especially fitted to live in close intimacy with the Lord and were with Him on several interesting occasions. As mentioned previously, they alone were present at:
1) The transfiguration, Mat 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28.
2) The raising of Jairus’s daughter, Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51.
3) The Garden of Gethsemane during our Lord’s agony, Mat 26:37; Mark 14:33.
4) With Andrew they listened to the Lord’s private discourse on the fall of Jerusalem, Mark 13:3.
He was also present when the risen Jesus appeared for the 3rd time to the disciples and the miraculous catch of fish made at the Sea of Tiberias (a.k.a. Galilee), John 21:1-14.
He and John joined in the request made to Jesus by their mother to be seated on Jesus’ right and left, Mat 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45.
In Luke 9:52-54, the brothers desired to punish the inhabitants of a village in Samaria. They asked, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” This may be why they were called by our Lord in Mark 3:17, “Boanerges” (bo-an-erg-es’), “Sons of Thunder.” Our Lord, “turned, and rebuked them”, Luke 9:55. The text of vs. 55b and vs. 56a, our Lord’s rebuke, is not in the earliest manuscripts.
After the crucifixion, we do not have any mention of James for 14 years until his martyrdom. He was the first of the Apostles to be martyred and the only one mentioned in the NT, being slain with a sword at the command of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea in A.D. 42-44 (most thinking 44), Acts 12:1-2.
John – The grace or mercy of the Lord; Jehovah or Yahweh is or has been gracious.
John is the younger brother of James “the Greater,” Mat 10:2; Mark 3:17; 10:35. John was a zealous and loyal follower of Jesus. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved, yet he had zeal and intensity of character. He is the other “son of thunder.” John was highly esteemed among the apostles and he stood especially close to Jesus. He is also among the “inner three,” Peter, James, and John, who were with Jesus on special occasions in the Synoptic Gospels: 1) The raising of Jairus’ daughter, Mark 5:37; 2) The Transfiguration, Mark 9:2; 3) The Garden of Gethsemane, Mark 14:32-33.
Luke 22:8, identifies Peter and John as the two disciples who were sent to prepare the Passover meal for Jesus and the disciples. He reclined with Jesus during the Last Supper, John 13:23-26, and at the urging of Peter asked who the betrayer was. He and Peter followed Jesus at the betrayal, while the others ran away, John 18:15-28. It is thought that only John of the all the apostles stood at the Cross, and with Jesus’ mother whom he was charged with her care by our Lord, John 19:25-27. Mary Magdalene first conveys the resurrection of our Lord to him and Peter, John 20:2. He and Peter, were the first to go see of Mary’s account, where he ran to the empty tomb, John 20:2-10. He won the race, but stood outside the tomb until Peter came. After the resurrection, he and Peter return to the Sea of Galilee and recognized the risen Lord after the great catch of fish, John 21:1, 7.
After Jesus’ ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the Church. After the list of Apostles, John appears three times in the Book of Acts, and each time he is with Peter, Acts 1:13; 3:1-11; 4:13, 20; 8:14. He is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple, Acts 3:1-11; he is also thrown into prison with Peter, Acts 4:3. After Peter healed a man, they were arrested, imprisoned, and then released, Acts 4:13-20. He also went with Peter to visit the newly converted in Samaria, Acts 8:14. He remained in Jerusalem some 12 years, Acts 15:6; Gal 2:9. He is the author of the Gospel and three epistles with His name, and the book of Revelation that He wrote while in exile on the Island of Patmos. He most likely taught in Ephesus and the other cities of the seven letters to seven churches in Revelation 2-3. He is said to be the only apostle who escaped a violent death.
His name in the Greek is Philippos, which means, “fond or lover of horses,” meaning a warrior. Like the first four mentioned, he was also from Bethsaida in Galilee, John 1:44; 12:21, but we have no information of his family. According to John’s Gospel, he was the fourth of the disciples to attach himself to Jesus (after Andrew, John, and Peter) and first who our Lord directly called, John 1:43. He then told Bartholomew, (a.k.a., Nathanael), about the Messiah in John 1:45-47. He is noted in four events in John’s Gospel, John 1:45-51; 6:1-14; 12:21-22; 14:8-9. In three of these events we see Philip personifying, “seeing is believing,” as tested by our Lord at the feeding of 5,000.
- a) His response to Nathanael in leading him to the Messiah, “come and see.”
- b) The Greeks who wanted to “see” Jesus came to Philip.
- c) Philip’s Upper Room questioning “show us the Father.”
All three demonstrate his Jewish propensity of desiring visible proof, Mat 12:38; John 2:18; 1 Cor 1:22.
Philip is on the right.
Philip the Apostle was a great teacher in Asia in the area of Phrygia with Hierapolis as the main place of his work along with Bartholomew, whom he is typically mentioned with. He is said to have also taught in Greece, Western Europe, (the Gauls—doubtful), and Parthia (Iran/Afghanistan—probable).
Bartholomew – Son of a plowman (the curse on Adam to till the ground).
Bartholomew is from Hebrew origins “Bar Talmay,” meaning “son of Tolmai.” Tolmai means, “a plowman,” so literally it would be “son of a plowman.” In the first three gospels, Mat 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14, Bartholomew is used in the list of twelve, as it is in Acts 1:13, whereas Nathanael is used for him in John’s Gospel. Bartholomew (Bar-Tolmai) is his surname and Nathanael was his proper name, just as Simon was called Bar-Jona. Nathanael is Greek from the Hebrew (Nathan – el) that means, “given/gift of God” or “God has given.”
In the Synoptic gospels, Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, as noted above, while Nathanael is never used or mentioned. In John’s gospel, Philip and Nathanael are similarly mentioned together, but nothing is said of Bartholomew because they are one and the same person.
He was born in Cana of Galilee, John 21:2, the place of our Lord’s first miracle, John 2:1-11. There is an interesting initial encounter between Jesus and Bartholomew that John records in John 1:43-50. In that, Jesus called him, “an Israelite indeed, without any deceit,” John 1:47. Yet, he too, as an Israelite, excelled when he received a sign from our Lord, i.e., “I saw you under the fig tree.” Our Lord also made a fascinating promise of the blessings to him that he would enjoy here on earth, vs. 51.
Bartholomew is on the left.
Bartholomew was one of seven of the disciples to whom the Lord appeared after the resurrection at the Sea of Galilee / Tiberius, John 21:2. He was also a witness of the ascension, and returned with the other apostles to Jerusalem, Acts 1:4, 12-13. Yet, He is one of the Apostles of whom no word is reported nor any individual action recorded in the NT.
Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (5.10.3) states that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he preached and left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia. Along with the Apostle Jude, Bartholomew is reputed to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the 1st century. Thus, both saints are considered the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
It is said that he was at length cruelly beaten (maybe flayed) and then crucified by the impatient idolaters. Michelangelo’s, “The Last Judgement,” (Sistine Chapel), Bartholomew is holding the knife of his martyrdom and his flayed skin. The face of the skin is Michelangelo’s.
Matthew, the Tax collector.
His name means, “The gift of Yahweh / Jehovah or Gift of God.” He is also know by Levi, “joined, adhere,” in the Gospels, as we have previously noted in Luke’s Gospel. Mark calls him “the son of Alphaeus,” Mark 2:14. Alphaeus = “changing.” It is not known whether his father was the same as the Alphaeus named as the father of James the Lesser, Mat 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Act 1:13. It is possible that Matthew was the brother of James the Lesser, but not improbable, since this fact would most likely have been mentioned in Scripture, as it is in the cases of Peter and Andrew and the sons of Zebedee, and James and John.
Matthew’s residence was at Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee, and he is infamously known as a publican/tax collector in the territory of Herod Antipas, which we noted previously in Luke’s Gospel. This caused Jews to hate him, as they considered the profession to be as that of sinners; the lowest of people. Yet, he was most likely wealthy, cf. Luke 5:29.
Aside from being listed with the other Apostles, Matthew is only mentioned in the record of his calling by Christ, Mat 9:9; Mark 2:13-14; Luke 5:27. John never mentions him.
As a result of his acceptance of Christ, many other tax collectors and “sinners” came to hear Jesus, Luke 15:1, 7:34; Mat 11:19. He is the author of the Gospel of his name, written around 60 AD in Hebrew, his native tongue. It emphasizes Jesus’ Kingship, written for the Jews.
Thomas – “Double or twin,” (i.e., like Adam), from the Hebrew TAOM or Aramaic TOMA.
He was also called Didymus, his Greek surname, with the same meaning, John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2. Some believe that Thomas was born in Antioch, but Galilee is also considered his native home, like most of the other apostles, John 21:2. Because of his name meaning, “twin,” there is much confusion regarding his potential siblings and actual identity. Because he is mentioned with Matthew, the son of Alphaeus, it is thought that they are brothers or twins, and that James the son of Alphaeus is another brother. None of this is known from the Bible.
From the three main accounts of Thomas in John’s Gospel, we see something of his personality. The others do not mention him other than the listings.
- His willingness to die with the Lord, John 11:16.
- His longing to remain with the Lord, John 14:5.
- His hesitation to believe that the Lord had risen, John 20:24-29.
After that we only hear of Thomas twice more, once on the Sea of Galilee, with six other disciples post resurrection in witness of the risen Lord, John 21:2, and finally in the assembly of the apostles after the ascension, Acts 1:13-14.
Thomas is infamously known for his act of doubt, John 20:24-29, rather than for his courage as seen in John 11:16. From this incident came the title of “Doubting Thomas.” Yet, from that incident we have the wonderful doctrine proclaimed by our Lord in John 20:29, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
According to tradition, the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares was proselytized by Thomas, who continued on to southern India. Marco Polo in 1292 traveled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Quilon (Kollam) on the western Malabar Coast of India, where he met Syrian Christians and recorded their legends of Thomas. In addition, various Eastern Churches claim that Thomas personally brought Christianity to China and Japan in AD 64 and 70 respectively.
The Gospel of Thomas (a.k.a. the “sayings”), next to the Protevangelium, is the oldest and the most widely spread of the apocryphal gospels. It was used by a Gnostic sect of the Nachashenes in the middle of the 2nd century. It was Docetic, (the belief that Jesus was not really true humanity and that the cross was just an optical illusion), in regards to the miracles recorded in it.
His martyrdom is said to have been occasioned by a lance. Thomas called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.
James son of Alphaeus
His name means supplants, undermines, heal = sin. Alphaeus means, “changing.” He is also known as “James the Lesser,” compared to the James we noted above who was John’s older, that James is also known as “James the Greater.” A better translation is James the Little, as the Greek HO MIKROS means, “small or little,” cf. Mark 15:40. MIKROS can be used to describe the diminutive height, Luke 19:3, age, Mat 18:6, 10, 14, or influence, Mat 10:42; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2 of people. Any of these might be why Mark added the Adjective. Unger notes: “James the Lesser, (“the little”), was given that title either because he was younger than James the son of Zebedee or on account of his short stature.”
Like James the greater, the English translation of James in the Greek is IAKOBOS from IAKOB or Jacob, which means “supplanter.” The Hebrew equivalent is YAAQOB.
This James is the son of Alphaeus, Mat 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13, meaning “son of changing.” We also note that it is thought that his father was also known as Clopas or Cleophas (KJV) meaning, “my exchanges,” from the Hebrew CHELEPH meaning “exchange,” John 19:25. In addition, Alphaeus is of Hebrew origin from CHELEPH, which was also a city in the Naphtali region of Israel. All of this is interesting when we put the “Apostle Code” together at the end.
This James is also mentioned to identify one of the Mary’s at the Cross of our Lord, Mark 15:40; Mat 27:56, and the resurrection, Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10, so that we would understand that that Mary was not our Lord’s mother.
Many times he is confused with our Lord’s half-brother James, as our Lord had four brothers noted in Scripture, Mark 6:3; 15:40, 47, and His brother James was the head of the Jerusalem church and wrote the book of James.
Mark 6:3, “‘Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at Him.”
Even though James the lesser also had a brother named Joses or Joseph, Mat 27:56, that is most likely a coincidence and not an indication that James the lesser is the Lord’s half-brother.
Another perplexing aspect of this James is that Matthew (Levi) is also a son of Alphaeus, Mat 9:9; Mark 2:14, as we noted above. Therefore it is possible, but not probable, that he and James were brothers.
In addition, there is evidence in apocryphal literature of a Simon who was a son of Clopas who was also one of the disciples. If this be the same as Simon Zelotes, it would explain why he and James, (assuming them to be brothers), were coupled together in the apostolic lists of Luke and Acts. Again we have no conclusive evidence of this.
Other than his name, we know nothing about him from Scriptures. Some say he was a tax collector, but this is not verified. Fox’s book of Martyrs states about him, “He is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by a former wife of Joseph. This is very doubtful, and accords too much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any other children except our Savior.”
Fox’s Book of Martyrs, also states regarding his martyrdom that at the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews and finally had his brains bashed out with a fuller’s club. Others also say he was martyred by crucifixion at Ostrakine in lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel.
Simon the Zealot (Canaanite).
Like Simon-Peter, “Simon” means, “rock or stone.” This Simon also has two descriptive titles in the Greek, even though the NASB calls him Simon the Zealot in all four lists of the apostles with footnotes in Matthew and Mark.
- He was called “Simon the Canaanite,” by Matthew and Mark, Mat 10:4; Mark 3:18, utilizing the Greek word KANANAIOS or Cananaean which means, “the jealous or zealous one” and comes from the Hebrew QANNA that means the same.It is not in any way related to the geographical terms Cana or Canaan.
- He was called “Simon the Zealot,” by Luke, Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13, utilizing the Greek word ZELOTES that means, “hears, harkens, obeys, one burning with zeal, a zealot.” The root word for jealous or zealous is ZEO meaning, “to boil or be hot.”
Therefore, Matthew and Mark use the Hebrew origin while Luke used the Greek origin.
As we noted under “James the lesser,” there is evidence in apocryphal literature of a Simon, a son of Clopas, who was also one of the disciples. If this be the same as Simon Zelotes, it would explain why he and James, (assuming them to be brothers), were coupled together in the apostolic lists of Luke and Acts. Again, we have no conclusive evidence of this.
According to the “Gospel of the Ebionites” or “Gospel of the Twelve Apostles,” of the 2nd century and mentioned by Origen, Simon received his call to the apostleship along with Andrew and Peter, the sons of Zebedee, Thaddaeus and Judas Iscariot at the Sea of Tiberias, cf. Mat 4:18-22; see also Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 24-27).
Other than his titles, this second Simon is as obscure as the first is celebrated. He is not mentioned in the Gospel history, except in the catalogues. In Luke’s gospel, we have the most understanding of his background, “Simon who was called the Zealot,” meaning it was like a nickname because of how he operated.
The title “Canaanite” has political rather than geographical significance. It was the name of a Jewish sect. This group was also referred to in the Greek by ZELOTES. So, we understand that previous to his call of apostleship, this Simon had been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots that was a blend of nationalists and Pharisees.
From the time of the Maccabees there existed among the Jews one or more parties who professed great zeal for the observance of the “law.” According to Josephus (BJ, IV, iii, 9; v, 1; VII, viii, 1) they resorted to violence and assassination in their hatred of the foreigner. It is not improbable that the “Assassins” of Acts 21:38, were identical, or at least closely associated, with this body of “Zealots.” Some say the Zealots were conspicuous for their fierce advocacy of the Mosaic ritual. They strongly desired the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy and were zealous to usher it in by means of the sword if necessary. This group under the approval of the Pharisees, took to punish without trial on those who were guilty of violating Jewish practices, especially Jews who married foreigners, under which pretext they themselves committed the greatest excesses of crime. It was a blessing to Simon to accept the Lord, because their leader Judas of Galilee and those who followed him all perished or were scattered, Act 5:37.
We do not know anything of this apostle after the resurrection of our Lord. Yet, we see through this Simon, another individual who could reach out to a specific group of people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ that otherwise could not be reached.
Fox’s Book of Martyrs may have some insight where it states, “Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.” It says he visited Britain, possibly Glastonbury, and was martyred by crucifixion in modern-day Lincolnshire. But this is not supported. Other writings claim various scenarios for his martyrdom such as Christian Ethiopians who claim that he was crucified in Samaria, or Justus Lipsius who writes that he was sawn in half at Suanir, Persia. However, Moses of Chorene writes that he was martyred at Weriosphora in Caucasian Iberia. Tradition also claims he died peacefully at Edessa.
Judas son of James, a.k.a., Thaddaeus.
Judas means, “praise the Lord,” and son of James means, “son of supplanter.” Judas is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew personal name Judah meaning, “Praise Yahweh.” In Matthew and Mark’s list, he is called Thaddaeus that means, “gift of God,” derived from Hebrew or Aramaic meaning, “breast.”
In Mat 10:3, the KJV adds, “Lebbaeus whose surname was” Thaddaeus, but that is not found in the most reliable ancient texts. Lebbaeus means, “large heart, a man of heart, or courageous,” similar to the Hebrew for Thadddaeus.
Interestingly, in John 14:22, he is called, “Judas not Iscariot.” Iscariot means, “men of the city” from the Hebrew ISH = man and QIRYAH = city. So, “Judas not Iscariot” would mean, “Praise Yahweh but not from the men of the city.”
The name by which Luke calls the Apostle, “Judas of James,” in Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13, is somewhat ambiguous as to the relationship of Jude to this James. Such a construction usually connotes a relationship of father and son, but the KJV has interpreted it as “brother,” trying to connect James the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus, (who he follows in the Matthew and Mark lists), together as brothers.
Like James the Lesser and Simon the Zealot, the use of Judas has led many to confuse him with the half-brother of our Lord.
Again, not much is known about this apostle. What is said seems to be confusing him with either a Thaddaeus of Edessa or Jude the Lord’s half-brother. All we have of him other than the list is in John 14:22, as the last of the four questioners, (Peter, Thomas, Philip, and Judas not Iscariot), of our Lord in John 13:36-14:23.
John 14:22, “Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?’” He was perplexed at our Lord’s statements in vs. 1-21, but specifically vs. 19. Having been in a very public ministry for three and a half years, he now understood the Lord to be saying, “I am going to disclose myself to you all only, and not to the world.” He too did not understand the Lord’s statements in regards to His death, resurrection, and ascension, as well as the sending of the Holy Spirit. His understanding of our Lord to be removing himself from the public eye and going into recluse, gave our Lord the opportunity to expand on the relationship of the believer with the Lord during the Church Age by means of the Word and the Holy Spirit in vs. 23-31.
Extra biblically, it is said that Saint Gregory the Illuminator is credited as the “Apostle to the Armenians,” when he baptized King Tiridates III of Armenia in 301, converting the Armenians, yet it is the Apostles Thaddaeus, Jude, and Bartholomew who are traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia, and are therefore venerated as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Linked to this tradition is the Thaddeus Monastery.
He may have preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya, or in Assyria and Persia. He is also said to have visited Beirut and Edessa, though the latter mission is also identified with Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Seventy. Finally, a “Gospel of Thaddaeus” is mentioned in the Decree of Gelasius.
Fox’s Book of Martyrs says he was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72. According to the Armenian tradition, Thaddaues/Jude suffered martyrdom about AD 65 in Beirut, Lebanon together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected. Occasionally, he is represented holding an axe or halberd, as he was brought to death by one of these weapons. Their acts and martyrdom were recorded in an Acts of Simon and Jude.
Judas means, “the praise of the Lord, confession.” Iscariot means, “men of Kerioth” that means, “men of cities, the world.” In John 6:71; 13:2, 26, he is called the “son of Simon Iscariot,” therefore his surname was Iscariot.
All of the Gospels place him at the end of the list of disciples because of his role as betrayer. He was an unbeliever from the beginning and remained that way until his self-inflicted death, Mat 27:5, Acts 1:16-20. Jesus knew that when He called and elected him to be one of the original 12, John 6:64, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.” Wow, notice that there were more unbelievers than just Judas Iscariot of the many disciples that initially followed Him, cf. John 6:60, 64. Nevertheless, Judas Iscariot was the one who betrayed Him at the Last Supper.
He was also called by Jesus in His high priestly prayer, the “son of perdition,” John 17:12, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, (i.e., son of destruction – the Lake of Fire), so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.” The anti-Christ is called the same in 2 Thes 2:3; both are possessed by Satan, cf. John 13:27.
Because of his unbelief, not his actions, the Bible says in Acts 1:25, “he went to his own place.” It is our firm belief that Judas went to Hades because that is where all unbelievers go and will be thrown into the Eternal Lake of Fire with all other unbelievers at the Great White Throne Judgment seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, Rev 20:11-15. His own place either means in contrast to the other 11 Apostles he went to Hades or he went to a unique place in Hades with greater suffering, Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47. The Lord said in Mat 26:24-25, “It would have been better if Judas had not even been born.”
Just because someone performs miracles in Jesus’ name does not make them saved, cf. Mark 9:38, “John said to Him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us’.” Cf. Mat 7:20-23.
As you know, Judas was also given the trusted position of treasurer, John 12:6, 13:29, and was present at the Last Supper, John 13:26. In grace, Jesus and the Father gave Judas every opportunity for salvation, but Judas, by his own volition, chose not to accept Jesus as His Savior, which lead him to betray Jesus, Luke 22:6.
He allowed himself to fall under demonic influence, John 13:2, so much so that he allowed Satan’s possession during the betrayal, Luke 22:3; John 13:27. He protested the honoring of the Lord with perfume, John 12:3-9, was covetous, and a thief, John 12:4-6. He was a bad influence on the rest of the disciples, Mat 26:7-13, leading them to malign Mary of Bethany, John 12:3, for anointing Jesus. He also came up with the idea to “kiss” the Lord, thereby identifying Him, all by himself, Mat 26:47-48, John 18:3; Luke 22:48. His fruits showed who he was.
Psa 41:9, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
Therefore Jesus called him a “devil,” John 6:70-71, “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’ 71Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.”
That ends our review of the Apostles of Jesus Christ during His ministry here on earth. Now, given that each name has a further meaning, I have put together what I call the “Apostle Code,” that tells us the story of Jesus and our redemption in Him. Luke’s code is as follows, the other Gospel lists and their code can be found on our website under the Doctrine of Apostles.
Simon Peter, Rock / Stone.
Andrew – A Strong Man, manly.
James the son of Zebedee, brother of John – James means supplants, undermines, or the heel = Satan, sin.
Zebedee = My Gift or God has bestowed, endowment of Jehovah.
John – The grace or mercy of the Lord; Jehovah or Yahweh is or has been gracious.
Philip – Lover of horses, Warrior.
Bartholomew – Son of a plowman (Adam tills the ground).
Matthew, the Tax collector – The gift of Yahweh or Jehovah or Gift of God.
Thomas – Twin (like Adam).
James son of Alphaeus – supplants, undermines. Alphaeus = changing.
Simon the Zealot (Canaanite) – Simon means a rock or stone. Zealot means that hears, harkens, obeys [zealous]
Judas son of James – Praise the Lord, son of supplanter. Judas is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew personal name Judah meaning, “Praise Yahweh.”
Thaddaeus – gift of God.
Labbaeus – large heart, a man of heart, courageous.
Judas Iscariot – the praise of the Lord, confession. Iscariot = men of Kerioth = men of cities, the world.
The Apostle Code – Luke
Jesus Christ – The rock, the corner stone (of our faith), being all-powerful (in hypostatic union), the one who has supplanted sin. He is the gift of the grace and mercy of the Lord, the warrior on horseback [Rev 19:11] (who won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict) by becoming the curse (sin) for man [Gen 3:17ff], the gift of God who came in the likeness of Adam [Rom 5:12-17], supplanting our sinful flesh by changing (becoming a man). The corner stone for all who hear and obey, (confess the name of the Lord). Praise God for His Son the substitution. Praise the Lord you men of the world.