TEEN TREE     OF LIFE

THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Part 11

December 3, 2017

 

BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord a nd Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).

 

We continue looking at the apostle Thaddeus. In Matthew and Mark, he is listed 10th before Simon, and in Luke’s accounts, he is listed 11th after Simon. His only recorded words are found in JOH 14:22: Judas (not Iscariot) [Thaddeus] 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 what Our Lord, actually said. He did not understand the Lord’s statement with regard to His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, as well as the sending of The Holy Spirit. He misinterpretation of Our Lord removing Himself from the public eye, gave Our Lord the opportunity to expand on His relationship with the believer during the Church Age, by means of the Word and the Holy Spirit in: Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, [d]I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here. (JOH 14:23-31)

Most scholars say that we know nothing about Thaddaeus. Many of the accounts associated with him seem to be of another Thaddaeus – Thaddeus of Edessa, a disciple. Thaddaeus is one of the apostles who is traditionally believed to have been the first to bring Christianity to Armenia and because of this, is recognized as the patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Thaddeus Monastery is linked to this tradition.

 

The general consensus seems to indicate, however, that both Thomas and Thaddaeus the Apostle had some connection with Edessa. So, he may have preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya, or in Assyria and Persia.

 

“Foxes Book of Martyrs” states that Thaddaeus was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72.

According to the Armenian tradition, Thaddaeus suffered martyrdom about AD 65 in Beirut, Lebanon together with the Apostle Simon the Zealot, with whom he is usually connected. The Thaddaeus’ burial place is placed at Beirut and in Egypt.

 

Our last apostle is Simon. There is another apostle named Simon, as we learned earlier in our study, who is always at the head of all the lists. Simon means, “a rock or stone” just as we saw with Peter. It is perhaps a contraction of the Hebrew SHIMEON that means, “heard, hearkening, or listening.” Even though the New American Standard Bible calls him Simon the Zealot in all four lists of the Apostles, the original Greek uses two different words. The King James Version differentiates between the names. So, we have Simon the Canaanite or Zealot, not only giving us a definition of him but also perhaps to distinguish him from Simon Peter.

 

He was called “Simon the Canaanite” by Matthew and Mark in MAT 10:4; MARK 3:18utilizing the Greek word KANANAIOS or Cananaean which means, “the jealous or zealous one,” and comes from the Hebrew QANNA that means the same.

He was called “Simon the Zealot” by Luke (LUKE 6:15; ACTS 1:13), utilizing the Greek word ZELOTES that means, “one burning with zeal, a zealot.” The root word for jealous or zealous is ZEO meaning, “to boil or be hot.” So, Matthew and Mark use the Hebrew origin, while Luke used the Greek origin.

 

This Simon is as obscure as the first is celebrated, for he is nowhere mentioned in the Gospel history, except in the lists. Even though we know little about him, the epithet attached to his name conveys both curious and interesting information. All we can glean from his background is from the title given to him by the Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Luke in his Gospel puts it best, “Simon who was called the Zealot.”

 

The title “Canaanite” does not mean a native of Canaan. It has political rather than geographical significance. As mentioned above regarding Hebrew origins, it is also derived from the Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, which was the name of a Jewish sect. This group was also referred to in the Greek by ZELOTES. So, we understand that this Simon, previous to his call of apostleship, had been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots.

 

From the time of the Maccabees, there existed among the Jews one or more parties who professed great zeal for the observance of the Mosaic Law. They resorted to violence and assassination in their hatred of foreigners. They strongly desired the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy (the Birth of Jesus Christ, The Messiah) and were zealous to usher it in by means of the sword if necessary. So, these Cananaean were members of a Jewish nationalistic sect who formed some twenty years before Christ’s ministry when Judea and Samaria were brought under the direct government of Rome. They were headed by Judas of Galilee, who bitterly opposed the threatened increase of taxation at the census of Quirinius. At that time, the census of the population was taken with a view to subsequent taxation. The Zealots refused to pay tribute to the Romans, on the ground that this was a violation of the principle that God was the only King of Israel. Therefore, they rebelled against the Romans, but were soon dispersed, and became a lawless, roving band.

 

You couldn’t find anyone like Simon the Zealot among the other apostles. He was also the complete opposite of Jesus Christ in spirit, ends and means. The Zealot aimed at restoring the Kingdom to Israel, adopting for his watchword, “We have no Lord or Master but God;” Our Lord aimed at founding a kingdom not national, but universal, not “of this world,” but purely spiritual. The means of the two philosophies were as diverse as their ends. One desired recourse with the weapons of warfare, the sword and the dagger; the other relied solely on the gentle but omnipotent force of truth.

 

So, we can understand Simon as one who was fervent in his beliefs, committed to its means and ends. He was like many of the previous Galileans, a bold man willing to sacrifice all on behalf of his conviction. This trait would come in handy during Our Lord’s ministry, which was constantly harassed by the establishment of the Israelites.

 

Simon the Zealot is listed as one of the twelve apostles in MAT 10:4; MARK 3:18; LUKE 6:15; ACTS 1:13. According to some, 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. As noted above, the choice of Simon to be an apostle gives us another fascinating illustration of Christ’s disregard of being cautious in his choice of men to apostleship. An ex-zealot was not a safe man to make an apostle. He might have been the means of rendering Jesus and His follower’s objects of political suspicion, not only by the Pharisees but by the Romans too. Yet, Our Lord was willing to take the risk knowing the resultant benefits. Our Lord expected to gain many disciples from the dangerous classes, as well as from the despised, as he had gained many tax collectors, as a result of Matthew. So, He would have the Zealots, too, being represented among the twelve.

 

We do not know anything about this apostle after the Resurrection of Our Lord. “Foxes Book of Martyrs” may have some insight when it states, “Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.” The most widespread tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia and Armenia, where both were martyred. This version is the one found in the “Golden Legend.”

{to be continued}

 

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