The next in a series of messages looking at the original 12 disciples of Jesus under the general heading of – “How God uses the average to achieve the amazing.”
The phrase “getting blood out of a stone” comes to mind when you think of these three disciples, because details are scant, and they are almost invisible in the Gospel story. Yet the fact that they were chosen by Jesus as part of the original twelve gives them significance and importance, enabling them to leave those who have followed them a spiritual legacy, because nobody’s a nobody!
According to the Gospel accounts James never asked any questions; never did anything worth recording; and never wrote anything. We know that his father was called Alphaeus (Luke 6 v 15); his mother called Mary (Mark 15 v 40); and that possibly he was the brother of Matthew (Mark 2 v 14), another disciple whose father had the same name. He also had a nick name – “James the younger or the less” (Mark 15 v 40), perhaps as a way of distinguishing him from the other disciple called James who was older and much more prominent.
He is an encouragement to all those believers who work tirelessly in the background and who keep a low profile, but one day will receive their heavenly reward (Mark 10 v 29 – 31.)
As a way of distinguishing him from Simon Peter, he is referred to as “Simon the zealot” (Mark 3 v 18.) He was a one time member of a political sect dedicated to removing the Roman occupiers from Israel by acts of violence and terrorism. Believing that God smiled upon their aim, as well as their methods, they were continually looking for the coming of the Messiah, which is probably why Simon the zealot began to follow Jesus.
He is an encouragement to all those believers who are fiercely passionate and enthusiastic about a particular cause and are then able to transfer that zeal into service and devotion of Christ.
His Father was called James (Luke 6 v 16) and sometimes Judas is referred to as Thaddeus (Matthew 10 v 3 & Mark 3 v 18) while on occasions his name is accompanied by the differentiating comment – “not Judas Iscariot” (John 14 v 22) for which I’m sure he was grateful!
On the night of the Last Supper, when Jesus had spoken about revealing himself only to those who loved him following his resurrection, Judas asked Jesus a question – “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” (John 14 v 22.) Judas clearly wanted Jesus to make himself known to everyone; after all he was the Saviour of the world.
Yet following his resurrection Jesus only revealed himself to his followers, in order that having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, they in turn might reveal Jesus to the world. They were to offer sinners opportunity to repent (2 Peter 3v 9) before the day comes when the whole world will see Jesus as judge upon his triumphant return (Revelation 1 v 7.)
He is an encouragement to all those gentle, tender hearted believers who have a real concern that people might come to know Jesus Christ before it is too late and the door of human history is slammed shut.
Challenge – What spiritual legacy will you leave behind?
Theme: “Nobody’s a nobody!”
Reading: John 14 v 15 – 24
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes