15 and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Simon-according to MacArthur
In Matthew and Mark [Simon] is called Cananaen, C-a-n-a-n-a-e-n, Cananaen. Luke, zealot, Matthew and Mark, Cananaen...why do Matthew and Mark use Cananaen? Well the best ancient manuscripts read Cananios(?), and that is a word that actually comes from the Hebrew word, a Hebrew root that's carried over into the Greek word. The Hebrew word is qanahand it means "to be jealous," or "to be passionate, zealous." And it was used in the Hebrew language for those who were passionate and jealous and zealous for the law of God. That's cananios, the sort of derivative from the Hebrew word. Zelotesis the word for zeal in the Greek, and that's the word that appears here, zelotesfrom which we get Zealot. It's exactly the same word in Greek. So you have one Greek word coming from a Hebrew word, and you...a Hebrew root, and you have another word that is the one...it means the one who is jealous, or the one who is zealous.
Both words then refer to this man. He was a man who had zeal and passion, in particular for the Law of God. The terminology bears that out. Both words then indicate to us that he was a man clearly defined by one characteristic in his life, and that was this passion for the Law of God. In fact, here it is long after he was converted, long after he was an Apostle, and he is still called the Zealot, or the Cananaen. I mean, he bore the label all his life. I guess in a sense it was sort of like a head-shaker all the way to the very end...how in the world this guy ever got into the 12. It has nothing to do with geography, but it distinguishes Simon as a member of a jealous, radical, zealous, evolutionary party among the Jews.
With his affiliation and label of "Zealot" it would have been so surprising that Jesus would have called him to have such a intimate connection. And yet, Jesus does.
It's amazing, isn't it, that Jesus would pick a man like this, a terrorist, a man of fierce loyalties, a man of amazing passion, courage and zeal, narrow for sure, enthusiastic to a fault, a man of action, loyal, savage. The Lord chose him. J.G. Greenhow(?) writes, "Were men divided from each other by a wide, deep gulf of thought and feeling and even of impassion and hatred, yet the Publican and the Zealot clasped hands," referring to Matthew and Simon, "and they joined hearts at Jesus' feet. In the furnace of His love these opposites were welded together. It was a picture and prediction on a small scale of what would come to pass in the greater church, where walls of partition were to be broken down, where national antipathies were to be crucified and buried with Christ and rise again transfigured into the glory of the uniting faith and charity and where there were to be neither Jew nor Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond or free but Christ all and in all." Beautifully said.
Judas, the son of James
Is it just me or does the repetition of names kind of make it confusing? It kind of reminds me of when you have an episode of Survivor and there are 18 people and 2 or more have the same name...I mean really, you couldn't have chosen SOME ONE else to be on that particular season so that it isn't so confusing....maybe it's just me. :)
Anyway, MacArthur has this to say about THIS Judas:
"Judas, the son of James." Too bad he had that name. In those days it wasn't because it means "Jehovah leads...Jehovah leads." What a nice name for your child. But, you know what?, there's one Judas that's messed it up for everybody. This is a good one. Now again I don't know a lot about this guy but everything I can find about him I really...I'm really drawn to him. He had three names. Jerome called him "Trinominus(??)", the man with three names. If you look at Matthew 10:3 he's called Thaddaeus and also in Matthew 10:3 "Lebbaeus," L-e-b-b-a-e-u=s. Thaddaeus Lebbaeus Judas son of James...a lot of names.
Now the name "Judas" was his name from birth that his parents gave him, Jehovah leads...wonderful, wonderful name. And I'm sure the parents were anticipating that in his life God would lead him and he would follow. It was a great, great thing for Hebrew parents to give to this little Jewish baby.
But his other names are really kind of interesting and probably got added on and maybe became, I don't know, sort of nicknames that he accumulated. Thaddaeus, you know what Thaddaeus means? Breast child...that's what it means. The Hebrew root has to do with a female breast nursing. Now, I mean, I basically would interpret that as "Mamma's boy," wouldn't you? I mean, that's not a stretch, is it? You'd think a long time before you named your kid "Mamma's Boy." Maybe he was the littlest guy, maybe he was the last in a long line of kids, and especially devoted and cherished by his mom. And his other name Lebbaeus is a Hebrew word that means "heart child." This is a little tender, heart, mamma's boy, hanging around Simon the Zealot. This has got to be interesting stuff. A tender-hearted, sympathetic, compassionate, gentle but courageous...can the Lord use? Sure, Zealots make great preachers and so do tender-hearted, compassionate, gentle, sweet-spirited, mammas' boys.
It's really an interesting group, isn't it? There's sort of one of each. Now I wish we knew more about this guy with all the names. But he's wrapped in some obscurity. But as I've been saying with all of them, don't let that obscurity cloud your respect for them. They became mighty preachers. These men will never make it into the earthly Hall of Fame, but believe me, they lead the parade in heaven. And their humble service is unrecorded by men but it is recorded by God. They are well-known in heaven and in the heavenly record.
... think of [Simon] in relationship to Judas Iscariot. Judas wanted money. Judas wanted power. Judas wanted the Jewish kingdom, he wanted the Romans out. Simon must have been comfortable hanging around Judas because Judas was a materialist, Judas was looking at the political implications of Jesus' messiahship. He betrayed Jesus in the end because it became clear to him that the thing wasn't going the way he thought it was supposed to go and his thoughts would have been that it would go in the same place that Simon would have thought originally that it should go, the dispossession of the Romans, the freedom of Israel. I suppose in some ways Simon could have been the betrayer. He was even more passionate about those things than Judas.But Simon believed the truth. And the fiery enthusiasm that he had for Israel was turned to Christ. I wonder if when he preached he ever gave testimonies about his background. It would be interesting. Oh he did preach. Eusebius, the church historian, says he preached in the British Isles, in Egypt and in Africa. And finally because of his preaching, they sawed him in half. And I'm sure if he was willing to die for political aspirations and the love of Judaism, he was even more willing to die for spiritual aspirations and the love of Christ, huh?
Check out MacArthur's other thoughts on Judas:
Did Judas Repent?
Jesus and Judas
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 6:17-19
Loved this study on the disciples and I definitely feel like I know them better now.
We either finish like Jesus or finish like Judas. Other than the Judas, the remaining 11 apostles finished well. The resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit transformed them. The Bible doesn't tell us what happened to most of them, but history tells us some things.
The Bible does tell us that James was the first martyr and was beheaded.
Thomas was killed in India.
Simon was crucified in Egypt.
Nathanael/Bartholomew is said to have preached in India where he was beaten, crucified and beheaded.
Andrew was crucified.
Matthew was killed with a spear on orders from King Hircanius.
Philip was stoned, crucified, and buried with his daughter.
Peter was crucified upside at his own request because he was not worthy to be crucified the same way his Lord was.
John alone grew old, and he was exiled to the island of Patmos.
They finished well!!!
Driscoll had an interesting point. He showed how often the apostles are mentioned in the gospels and Acts. Peter 189, John 50, Philip 70, Andrew 13, Thomas 11, Matthew/Levi 9, James 7, Thaddeus/Judas, Simon the Zealot 4, Nathanael/Bartholomew 1, Judas Iscariot 22. Some get mentioned a lot, some hardly at all. This is just like with us. Some of us God's called to be up front - we need to do that and not be cowards. Some of us are called to be behind the scenes and help it happen - we need to get it done. It's all important. What matters is that you do what God's called you to do.
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