Lessons from The Apostles
Who were the Apostles and what is so important about them? Why study them? Each Apostle was unique with some sharing certain trades, some shared attitudes, some shared causes. But each one was transformed to live for the propagation of the Kingdom. Though not much is known about some we do have an idea how each one died according to writings and monuments. Catholicism assigned each one a symbol but Jesus gave us more. Through the Apostles, Jesus gave us knowledge on how a common person with common problems can be remade into an instrument to transform communities. Jesus took fishermen, Zionists, friends, siblings, servants, and money changers and gave them a new purpose.
There’s just something about Andrew The Apostle that really gets me excited for Christ. Andrew was a Disciple of John the Baptist who met Jesus along with John (the Beloved) who would be the first to begin following Him in the ministry. The reason Andrew is an exciting figure? Andrew is known for bringing people directly to Christ. Andrew was drawn to Jesus’ teachings and since John the Baptist was only a prophet, he sent Andrew to follow and learn from Jesus. Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus. He brought the young man with the bread and fish to Jesus. He along with Phillip, brought Greeks to meet Jesus and Jesus prophesied to them of the Word getting out to the world.
Andrew is the epitome of the Fisher of Men for the Glory of God.
When John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God, something must have stirred deep within Andrews soul. You know that butterfly feeling we get when we are around someone we love. Andrew was compelled to learn from Him and stayed near just listening to Jesus’ Words. Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus.
Lesson One: Listen Close and Get Excited for the Lord
When we first met Jesus through someone telling us of him or by learning from our parents about our Savior, there was this mystery about who He is. Once digging deeper and learning more the excitement about wanting to be a part of Him and having Jesus in our hearts in order to tell others about Him just was so crazy good. Then we hear that still small voice inside welcoming us home. I know I shouted His name in praise and worship.
After this, Andrew invited Jesus to come to Galilee where his brother Simon Peter was taking care of the family business. He was skeptical about Jesus thinking Jesus was just another prophet that Andrew would follow for a while then would disappear. Boy was he wrong. Peter was so determined to test Jesus that he challenged Him. After Jesus showed Simon Peter that He knew where to fish, he gave in and dropped his nets to follow Jesus.
Lesson Two: Sometimes people need to see to believe (remember this one we may see it again)
Andrew brought Jesus to Simon Peter so that he may follow Him. We will suffer challenges in our time when people may not believe because they do not see the full results of Jesus in our lives and need proof. That is when we give them a Bible or pamphlet and ask the them to read something. Well, what they do not see is the private prayer that we speak for them to see Jesus work in their own lives. Of course the proof seekers may need additional things so an archaeological Bible may come in handy. The point is pray that they may see with their heart for the proof they need. Jesus will provide.
The third thing to look at involves Andrew and the Bread and Fishes. Jesus had a very large crowd listening and it was getting to be time to eat. What is said here highlights the realism of Andrew’s thought, as he was still learning who Jesus really is. The question in his mind was, “but what good is that for so many?”, and recognized the insufficiency of his minimal resources. Jesus, however, knew how to make them sufficient for all those present. Jesus is basically letting Andrew and the Disciples know that He is enough and if they need physical food to survive, He will provide and bring more than what is sufficient.
Lesson Three: Trust Jesus that when you think you just don’t have enough to survive, He will provide you with what you need.
Ever have that time where you just could not provide for your family. You know, that Thanksgiving where you couldn’t afford to give your family a decent meal. You pray and next thing you know, Jesus provides through friends and neighbors. That happened to us. PRAYER WORKS. Jesus provides for the humble faithful servants even when you begin to doubt.
Andrew’s purpose was to bring people to Christ and move others to follow Him. He was not part of the “inner circle” but brought the ones who would be to Him. Andrew will always be remembered as the first called by Christ.
Pope Benedict said that Andrew will be remembered as the Apostle to the Greeks especially after the Pentecost. You could say that he was the first Apostle to truly take the Word to those who were called Gentile.
JAMES SON OF ZEBEDEE
James, Son of Zebedee, was the elder brother of John and called Son of Thunder. He was zealous for Christ and did not mince words and actions when it came to the life of Jesus and the Faith that developed within. There is not much known about him except that he was part of the inner circle with John and Peter and that he died by the sword 17 years after Christ being the second martyr (first being Stephen whose death was called for by Saul).
Being the elder brother of the one whom Jesus loved one has to wonder if He shared the same love for the elder brother. According to scholars of the past century, it is possible that because of James’ temper and zeal, Jesus may have showered extra compassion for him so that he would learn compassion and love for all men and not just Jews.
We would find out later in the Acts of the Apostles that this is true. But there remains an issue. Since there were three men named James who were close to Christ, one being step brother to Him, some of the historical accuracy was lost in literature. What we do know can be broken down into many lessons but these three life lessons stick out.
- We, as Christians, must be willing to sacrifice everything for Christ, even our own life.
As is said many times in Scripture, Jesus desires our full devotion. “Because He once loved us” remains true today as it did when He made that one time sacrifice. That by the way is the once talked about in that saying. It is not, as some say, that He loved us one time in our lives then forgot, not by any means. God’s love is eternal and our sacrifice for Him is our full devotion to everything in His name even to our death.
- Change due to faith in Christ Jesus is inevitable and necessary.
To know and love Christ is to attempt to emulate Him in all things we do. For some people this means a major change in our lives. This means asking (not begging) for forgiveness for past mistakes. Making amends with those who persecute us even if they were the ones who wronged us. Showing care and compassion rather than hate, bigotry, and disgust because of simple differences is the way we should be living. We must learn to love unconditionally as Jesus loves us
3. Riches and fame are not important, strength in faith and willingness to give silently of the self is.
There are some who want to written in the annals of history as great men and women but they believe that riches and fame is the way to accomplish this. They flaunt their riches and attain control through the greedy desires of others. Some gain fame through being a preacher of the word some want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Some do not give without making it known (flaunting their “helping others”) and do not even mention God. The silent anonymous giver, the person who serves without desire for compensation, the searcher for souls who gives all glory to the Father and takes not for the self. That is who we should be.
James learned this through being directly associated with Christ. He learned this through watching Christ and learning from His mistakes of attitude towards others, even his own kin. James the Great (Older one of the two) would die by the sword speaking the Truth in Christ. Never regretting the day he left his father’s nets in the Sea of Galilee, sacrificing everything for the Glory of God.
Bartholomew or Nathanael
Scripture does not tell us much about Bartholomew/Nathanael. Most of the information comes from traditions or extra biblical texts. What we do know is that was from Cana in Galilee and that he was sent to Armenia and maybe India. His first name was Nathanael and Jesus spoke of him as a man with “no guile” (John 1:47). Some scholars even say that he was the only Disciple who is of royal lineage as a son of Absalom, a son of David.
Bartholomew was introduced to Christ by his close friend Philip and Jesus told Bartholomew that He knew him before their meeting when Jesus said “When thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee” (John 1:48-50). When Jesus sent people out He sent them together.
Being of no guile means that Bartholomew was a man of integrity even though he had some prejudices especially with Jesus coming from Nazareth and the fact they both come from David’s line. But Jesus found him trustworthy, transparent, and very studious when it came to scriptural knowledge.
So the young Bartholomew had some lessons to learn in the transformation from Jew to Christian but for him it was easy because of his knowledge.
What can we learn from this young man?
1. Stay in Scripture and learn with a renewal of spirit daily. Don’t just read two chapters OT and a chapter NT and say that you are good. That doesn’t work. Take the time to read, Pray, reread in Prayer, and Listen.
2. Our personal prejudices can skew our judgment. By being open to God’s word, we come to know the truth. Do not change His Word to match your beliefs, change your beliefs to match His Word.
3. Be a Christian of Integrity. The Value and Character of a Christian should emulate Christian ways as well as some Jewish ways as that is where we have received our systems. We are made in the Image of God meaning His Values, Character, which is turned to our Mindset, Ethics and Morals.
4. Recognize that God is Omniscient. God knows all and sees all things. It is God who really has ultimate control over us and not ourselves. Once we can give all to God, surrendering our whole selves 100% to Him and continue in His ways we will be a part of His great inheritance which is us living with Him in His Kingdom. Remember: We are not our own.
Like most of the Disciples, Bartholomew abandoned Jesus when He was captured and crucified. He was very outspoken still and yet maintained only a portion of his prejudices as Jesus worked on him with that. He was the youngest of the Disciples and sometimes the most outspoken. Bartholomew was known to be very intellectual for his age in the reading and understanding of Scripture. He was a good man who died being flayed alive in India while a missionary there.
Side note: While doing my research I have noticed one major factor of similarity here. All the Disciples who fled from Jesus died a martyr’s death. John is the only one who was there of the Twelve and the only one to die of natural causes. Things that make you go Hmmm. Stay faithful, live longer?????
John is the Apostle that did not become a martyr. He died from old age after exile in Patmos. I know this is a strange way to start this but it is a very important point because Jesus chose him to care for His mother Mary. Thinking on this more, since Jesus is God Incarnate then He would have known John’s devotion and finally his fate making him the perfect one to entrust His mother’s well-being.
John was younger brother to James (whom some confuse as brother to Jesus) the sons of Zebedee, and was the third to follow Jesus. Tradition places John as a cousin to Jesus through his mother Salome being a possible sister of Mary but we do not have concrete evidence. This may be why he and James were part of the “Inner Circle” along with Peter.
His name means, “The Lord is Gracious”, which actually is far from the truth of him until John’s later years. John was an aggressive young man, passionate, zealous, and personally ambitious which explains why Jesus called him and James, “Sons of Thunder”. These attitudes would make for great lessons in faith and changing outlooks on life in Christ. He is the prime example of what can happen if we allow Christ to remake us in His image, while His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
John was the spiritual one of the group. He was did not question the fact of the truth in the Resurrection and was the first to notice Jesus along the sea side. John would later have a vision in the Spirit that would take him deep into the realm of present/future events so that he could forewarn all of us through his Revelation. He understood the fact that Jesus is eternal, was there in the beginning as the Word through which the world was created, and will be there at the end of all things.
John lived for a full century and it is said he died in Ephesus. He continually talked about tolerance and love. Considering his youth, John learned that intolerance was not a characteristic that Jesus would have us continue and that the greatest thing is love.
JAMES THE LESS
As much as I would love to write volumes on one they called less, I cannot. This is mainly because there is honestly not a lot written of this young man except that he was brother to either Jude (Thaddeus) or Matthew.
James the Less (I will just say James from here on) must have done something in Jesus’ eyes for him to be chosen as one of the twelve but not all great and revered men such as James had to be remembered as doing great deeds, he was chosen and that should be enough. It is said that a man does not need to do great things for him to be remembered. Sometimes the greatest thing in one’s life is just being there.
How many of us just sit by a lonely person holding a hand or laying a hand on a shoulder and that be enough for that person to know that someone cares. So if there is one lesson we can learn:
1. Just being there as a Christian when another just needs someone who cares IS ENOUGH.
A Chaplain’s job is just that. The stranger’s shoulder, the short but kind words, the presence of a faithful believer. But one does not have to have the title to do that. Giving that last dollar so someone can get a morsel to eat. Taking food or clothing to one who is need. Sharing the Gospel with someone who cannot read it or understand it for themselves. Building that home and just knowing that it will be supporting those less fortunate. That is being there for another.
2. Being a Silent Witness is not the best thing but sometimes the only thing we can do.
When a person sees your actions and just wants to talk, we become the ear for Christ. Hearing and listening to the pain and suffering and knowing when it is the right time to say something is a great characteristic that not all Christians are born with but God enables us to be the listener and guide to the right person. Knowing that you brought the person to one who can help in whatever capacity is needed.
James the Less, the silent Apostle who did nothing spectacular but is still seated at the table with Jesus because he followed, listened, shared, and loved.
We can learn a lot from Apostle Peter and I am not talking about Peter whom the Catholics venerated as the First Pope when he did not desire that. I am talking about Peter the Rock (Cephas), Peter the Fisherman, Peter the Disciple who Questioned His Master, Peter who Thought He Could Walk on Water Himself, Peter the Declarer, Peter the Denier, Peter the Forgiven, Peter the Valiant, and Peter the Man of God.
Peter was a simple fisherman whose life was turned upside down when Jesus came into his life. He was a gruff man who paid little heed to others and was more concerned with caring for his family than worship having no time for “frivolous activities”. This sounds like some people we know today doesn’t it? Maybe even it was our own lives.
Think of that moment that we read about of when Peter met Jesus for the first time. His brother told him about Jesus and still wanted nothing to do with him until that day when very few if no fish were being netted up. Jesus directed Peter to a place on the lake and told him to drop the nets there. Lo and behold, there were so many in the net it nearly toppled the boat.
Lesson One: Listen to the Father because He truly does know best.
Peter was a bit hesitant and did not believe what Jesus was telling him to do at first. When He finally gave in and did what Jesus asked. The result, he fed the community for a week from the haul. God guides us to do the right thing when we listen. There is no entitlement here. He desires us to listen and learn from the actions we do that follow His direction to us. If we do not listen, there is a good chance we will fail only to be picked up once we learn from our mistakes.
Then there was the moment that Peter walked on water when Jesus commanded him. Well, Peter got distracted by the world (the wind and rolling water) causing him to fall into the water. Jesus was there to lift him up and save him from drowning. Jesus exclaims, “Ye of little faith”.
Lesson Two: Keep your focus on the spiritual and not so much in the world, if you fall Jesus is still there, you just have to look.
Peter was distracted by the world around him and lost focus on what mattered most. As difficult as it is in this day and age, our focus should on Jesus. He is the one who saves us, His is the world beyond this one and we cannot take the current world with us. When we begin to rely on worldly things we change our faith and trust. Keeping our eyes on Jesus places Him deep within us so we won’t lose ourselves to sin.
When Jesus told the Disciples that He must go into Jerusalem and Peter basically told Jesus it was a bad idea and Jesus berated him. What was Peter thinking?
Lesson Three: You cannot stand in the way of God’s Plan
God’s Plan is just that, His. Even with our free will we do not have a say in God’s Ultimate Plan for us. When God directs, go His way. If He calls, answer. I learned the hard way in my youth not to go against God’s Plan but after much soul searching and opening my ears and heart (and many bumps in the road) I broke down and listened closer than ever before. I have been faithful and He has blessed.
A wealthy tax collector of Capharnaum (Capernaum) also known as Levi was a public servant and possible brother of James the Less as both were sons of Alphaeus. He was hated by the Jews because he collected taxes for Rome while also pocketing some for his family.
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. Matthew 9:9 (ESV)
14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. Mark 2:14 (ESV)
27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. Luke 5:27-28 (ESV)
He left the tax booth without hesitation. Remember the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon”. Think of the impact on the sinner’s life where Matthew was trying to be a good Jew but at the same time held captive by the need to support his family no matter what. He compromised his principles of godly living to live richly in the world.
Matthew’s names mean “a gift of God.” Why Jesus would have taken this particular tax collector is not known but as the stories continue we see the transformation of a greedy tax collector turn into one of the first Apologists for Christ.
Since Matthew could write, as he was a publican (civil servant) for Rome, it seems planned that he would be the writer of the first gospel. His writing of the life and teachings of Jesus was brought to the Sanhedrin in his (and Christianity’s) defense. It is his message that would reverberate through the ages. How this man was reformed and blessed through living and learning with Christ is definitely a God thing. But it proves that God has an ultimate plan and can change the lives of whom He chooses to make the Word known.
So what can we learn from Matthew’s life?
1. Even the greediest person can be reformed and become a believer. Here we can use the analogy of a Scrooge-like person. All Jesus had to do was come into Matthew’s life. Today it is a little bit harder and may take drastic measures to humble the greedy, but if God ordains it, He will make a way for it to come to pass.
2. Defending the Gospel is a life-long effort. Through heartache, pain, and suffering, Matthew served God and shred the Gospel even and the point of death. We must not fear those who we are serving and sharing the Gospel with because that is our commission in life.
After the Pentecost and dealing with the Sanhedrin, Matthew preached in Ethiopia where he died a martyr’s death by beheading.
Jude or Thaddeus
Jude, Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, a “man with three names” as he was called by Jerome. Here we have another Nationalist who would be transformed into a warrior for Christ. New Testament states that he asked Jesus at the Last Supper, “But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world? (John 14:22 NIV) “Judas Thaddeus was interested in making Christ known to all nations as an earthly king, not as Servant Savior.
1. To share Jesus with the world you must know Him personally yourself.
Jesus came to redeem those who truly believe in God from the sins of the world. He desires a personal relationship with us in order to share His Word with the rest of the world. With this relationship there will be trials and temptations because the Adversary is constantly trying to get us away from salvation.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The Psalms gives us this tidbit about God’s knowledge of us:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139: 1-6)
We are incapable of knowing God as well as He knows us so He sent Jesus to relate with us in human form. The Disciples saw Him, knew Him as a brother, followed Him, and became as close as humanly possible like Him. To have a personal relationship with our redeemer is to believe in Him, Trust Him, Love Him as He loves us.
2. Release your heart from the knowledge of the world and Live for Christ.
One of the hardest things for a person who is deep in the ways of the world, is to give it up. That means not being transformed or molded into believing that certain ways of worldly living are the best and only way to get along in the world. It means not to be so concentrated on worldly idealisms while trying to keep friends and family who cannot escape the world that you get caught up in their sins and transgressions. Releasing yourself from the world does not mean you cannot live in the world without knowing what is going on. We have to know the Adversary and be able to recognize when he is tempting the world with false idols and idealisms which lead us to the path of death.
Give up control of the things you cannot and you will do well. Let God have control of the situations in your life while going about your daily business. Keep God’s Word on your heart and in your mind so that your very soul sings praises to His name and you know the right way of living. These are just some of the ways to release your heart from the world.
Simon was not from Canaan but Galilee, he is also called Zealot. The word used to describe this Simon was actually a derivative of the Hebrew word, Kana which means, “To be ardent or zealous”. This Simon was a champion for the Judean cause, a fanatical Nationalist who hoped that the Messiah would bring war to Rome. Zealots were reckless and had disregard for the suffering involved in the struggle for independence from Rome and the desire for purity of faith.
Simon Zelotes was devoted to the Law and the prophets and would not hesitate to kill or be killed for the faith. He was literally a man filled with hatred for anything non-Jewish especially those who compromised and were loyal to Rome. His was a story of the social conditions of the time, a rebel with a religious cause. The Zealots can trace their origins to the Maccabean Revolt who wanted the land restored to the old theocracy with a strict understanding of the Mosaic Law. So why did Jesus have Simon on board as one of the twelve? One can assume it was to help change the outlook of people who wanted change through violence. Sounds familiar with today’s circumstance, doesn’t it.
Simon’s zeal would change when he followed Christ but it was not instantaneous. One can guess that Simon heard Jesus and when He would speak of the Kingdom, Simon jumped right in thinking that this would be the warrior king they were waiting for. Boy was he a little early on that one. Simon exchanged his worldly weapons for those of a more spiritual nature but the willingness to face danger or death for the cause would make him one of the boldest and strongest Disciples of Christ.
While doing my research I need to point out that when we view the twelve Disciples as one unit, we can understand that there is formed a practical exposition of the function of the church, the only qualification to enter in the fellowship is the ability to consent to the appeal of Christ and to be obedient to the requirement of self-surrender. So Simon’s passion was not eradicated, it was enhanced, and redirected towards the greater Spiritual cause of Christ.
1. Simon’s transformation teaches that the most zealous of hearts can be transformed to the will of God.
The enthusiasm that Simon shows for Christ’s coming kingdom is proof of that. Simon’s whole outlook was changed and he became a warrior in the love and compassion of Jesus. Those who came to Simon learned of God’s love and the reasons for following. Since he was inherently a man of the Law, Simon also understood the need for full devotion to the cause of Christ.
2. A man of war can be transformed into a man of peace.
When we seek out others for the kingdom, we do not need to seek someone who is like us but different. Remember, God is a God of all people so He favors the challenge of seeking diversity in order to transform all to have one similar goal. To be part of God’s inheritance. Besides, if we were all the same it would get pretty boring wouldn’t it.
Simon did not change overnight but his desire to follow a cause for the good of the nation, of the world never changed.
Are you Zealous for Christ?? Would you give your life for the cause? Are you willing to stand up for Jesus and be counted?
Did you answer those truthfully to yourself or just playing lip-service as a twice a year Christian? The choice is yours. Can you truly say, “As for Me and My Household, We Serve the Lord”
The Apostle Thomas was an analytical man with a very critical mind. He was also a loyal follower of Christ. Seems like the two would contradict each other but Thomas, while in Christ’s presence, knew Jesus was the Messiah. Thomas saw and believed. The inquisitive mind of Thomas was a driving factor in his doubtful nature. On the flip side, the same mind would encourage the pursuit of answers which would lead him to a greater faith. Thomas was even ready to die with him until the last minute in the garden when they all fled except John who stood by Mary. There are many different stories and ideas of who he was prior to leaving everything and following Jesus. Franco Zeffirelli characterized him as a servant. Extra biblical texts note that he was a leader in his community, a fisherman, even a carpenter. No matter his past, Thomas became a driving force in spreading the Gospel. What lessons can we learn from this man?
1. We do not have to see to believe.
We all know that individual who needs to use his or her senses to fully understand and believe something. Most people like that need physical proof. They need to witness miracles to have faith. How many in ancient times did not see Him but heard God’s voice then in fearful respect and trust, believed in God who is greater than themselves. The creation of idols assisted those who needed to see their god in order to believe it would help them. Thomas needed to see Jesus, to feel the wounds.
We do not have the same opportunity as the Disciples and other followers who saw Jesus first hand but we have the Holy Spirit with us. Jesus gave us the constant companion who helps guide us in the Word and is that little voice to remind us right from wrong. Something we know for certain, Jesus is Alive and Well within our hearts.
Jesus lovingly chided Thomas while giving him a lesson in faith right after the incident by saying,
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (NIV) John 20:29
This is a blessing for us who can believe and have faith in what we know we cannot see with our mortal eyes but have the sight of God in the eyes of our hearts.
2. Being inquisitive of God is not a bad thing, just be careful and don’t make it a habit.
Thomas, like Peter, questioned Jesus as He spoke of going to Heaven and making a place for the Apostles. Thomas was confused and asked for clarity and direction. He gave a straight forward answer and that was exactly what Thomas needed to hear.
Asking questions is never a bad thing but we should not ask the question, “Why?” for anything because we already know the answer. Because He is God. Not always an acceptable answer but it is truth. Asking for proof is a no/no because the proof (9 times out of 10) is right in front of you.
Thomas was a good man who spread the Gospel to India and a few other places. His martyrdom came in the form of a spear. He was killed in India after being a driving force in the conversion of the queen.
Born in Bethsaida like Peter and Andrew, he is often referred to as Phillip the Apostle in order to distinguish him from the Phillip that occurs in Acts. Phillip was slow to recognize Jesus; however, once he found Jesus he was quick to share His greatness with his friend Nathanael Bartholomew. Both Phillip and Bartholomew are frequently named together as they frequently appear together and speak together in The Bible. Phillip is not mentioned a great deal throughout Scripture and not too much is known about him in depth. While Phillips death is not detailed in the Bible it is believed that he died the death of a Christian martyr.
1. Take Time to know Jesus
Many churches rush people to get to know Jesus so they can have the numbers in accordance to who they baptized that month. This leads to a lack of true trust in Jesus as the person did not truly get to experience Christ working to the depths of the soul. A rushed baptism is a bath not an expression of faith. Do not let the music sway you either. Worship music is awesome but is not the sole factor in someone realizing Christ was right there the whole time.
2. Once You Know Jesus Don’t Hold It In
Be excited to tell others about your transforming experience. Holding it in is the worst thing you could to. God consistently told the prophets to speak without fear and they did. Jesus commands us to do the same with the Great Commission and the numerous times before His Ascension when He gave instruction on how and what to do to get the Word out.
Phillip lived for Christ and we should do the same because that is His desire for us. It is God’s desire that we accomplish the mission which we were created for. Being Caretakers of God’s Creation.
Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. He was the only Judean of the 12 and was considered to being the closest to Jesus outside of those who saw the transfiguration. He was the group’s treasurer and one of the more outspoken. Judas’ downfall was that of greed. This led to his being a covetous man and at times pilfered from the common purse. The cause of his betrayal is considered to be greed and the false hope of an audience to the Roman Prefect which would lead to a more civilized end to the occupation or at least would lessen the Roman grip on the religious aspects of Judean life.
Jesus was given to the Pharisees for 30 pieces of silver. This was the recompense price for a gored slave. That was about 5 weeks of wages in Jesus time which today the silver would be about $600.00. So our Lord and Savior was given for recompense of $600.
The betrayer could have been any of the twelve; but since Judas still cared more for the world and was greedy for money, he was the most logical choice. His lust for money and desire for a material change in the current society drove him into the darkness which made the Plan possible. One thing we must remember here. It wasn’t Judas who truly put Jesus on the cross, it was and is our sins.
What can we learn for him?
1. Do not devalue our relationship with Christ.
Judas took what he could from the treasury of the Sanhedrin to hand Jesus over. He put a price on a life that has more value than he would ever know. When we care more for the world and less for the Father, we are placing an unwarranted discount on our love and trust in Christ. There is no price that we could pay that equals what God has done for us. He gives us His grace freely, and His Mercy through blood. All we have to do is accept, believe, have faith, and trust in God that we are going to share in the inheritance thanks to Jesus. Of course we still are bound to obeying the 10 Commandments and living a Christ-like life. When we are disobedient and lose faith, we devalue our relationship with Jesus.
2. It is better to listen closely than to just hear things because ears are deceiving.
Judas did not hear the right things because he truly did not listen. There are six recorded times between Matthew, Mark, and Luke, where Jesus is recorded saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him”, in one fashion or another. Hearing is an audible function that is used to translate sound vibrations into words. When God speaks to us, the vibrations react with our very souls and cause us to listen and act in an obedient manner. Listening is the response to hearing and acting in obedience is the response to listening properly. When we do not hear things correctly, the message gets misinterpreted in our minds. That is the Adversary tugging at us so we lose sight of God’s intentions.
Reading Scripture involves hearing then listening in order to be obedient to God’s Word. Paying attention to that still small voice that resonates through our heart when we are in the right frame of mind is God speaking to us through the Holy Spirit. What we do with it is determined by how well we listen and how strong is our faith that it is God.
We can learn a lot from a betrayal, these are just the tip of the iceberg. This ends the discussion on the 12 Apostles.