TEACHER: Ken Hicks
BOTTOM LINE: 3 of these 4 guys in Team 3 had a very quiet, relatively un-heralded impact on the Kingdom of God!
QUESTION: How Do We Keep From Being Judas Iscariot?
We’ve been discovering is that these 12 Men were really just Ordinary People like you and me. Every single one of them had their own struggles and Flesh that they battled just like US. And yet, God hand-picked each one of them and His Plan A for the Early Churchand the Movement of God started w/ these guys. Thru the Mission of God from 1 generation to another, it’s now God’s Call for US as God’s Plan for the movement of the Gospel … His Church … His People. Yes that means …
- … w/ all our junk
- … w/ all our quirks and struggles and uphill climbs at times
- … w/ all our Flesh that has this tendency to get in the way at times …
God wants to use US! In fact, I’d go 1 step further and say He’s counting on using US!
So … let’s look at these 1st3 … and then we’ll close w/ Judas … and wrap up this Series.
JAMES: The Son of Alphaeus
JAMES is the 9thperson listed in Luke’s listing of the 12 … and the ONLY thing we have recorded of JAMES in Scripture is in Luke 6:15 … where we see he’s the … son of Alphaeus.
JAMESwas the Son of Alphaeus… and often referred to as we see in Mark 15:40as James the Less.
The Greek word for Lessis mikros… which literally means Little!
He may have been small in stature … or younger than the others … but his nickname was probably based upon his influence to be honest … Maybe even all 3 were true?
- He may have been Young … especially younger than the Other James.
- He may have been Small.
- And … He may have been Quiet.
JAMES may be one of the MANY Followers of Jesus whose life, ministry, and contribution to the Kingdom of God goes relatively unheralded on this earth … in fact, I loved this statement I read this week:
Eternity will reveal the names and testimonies of these, like James the Less, whom this world barely remembers and knows nothing about.
TRUTH IS, this JAMES is only mentioned 4 times in the entire Bible. We know less about JAMES than we know about ANY of 12.
SIMON: The Zealot (not Simon Peter)
Now … there’s 2 Simon’s right … Simon Peter & Simon the Canaanite … this wasn’t in reference to the land or region of Canaan or the Village of Cana… but from the Hebrew root word Qanna … which means To Be Zealous.
SIMON was apparently a member of the Political Party called The Zealots … and the fact that he had that Nickname & Title his entire life suggests he was pretty fiery and feisty his entire life too!
It’s pretty crazy when you think Jesus called both MATTHEW & SIMON to be on his team. One collecting taxes to support Rome, and SIMON, who wouldn’t have given a 2ndthought to murdering a Jew who even collaborated w/ Rome.
Had they met under different circumstances … SIMON would have gladly stuck a dagger in MATTHEW.
Sort of like the Sons of Thunder, Jesus takes the Political Commitment & Zealof SIMON and Jesus channels it into a commitment and zeal for the Gospel!
- There is no consistent record of HOW SIMONdied!
- But we know he died preaching the Gospel
… and thru the life of SIMON, we discover that no matter how deep rooted it might be … the presence of Jesus in our lives can transform our PREJUDICE & HATE … and all sorts of other things too.
THADDAEUS: Judas, The Apostle [The son of James]
Seems like every time we see them listed, the writer is clear to delineate between this JUDAS… and Judas Iscariot. JUDAS was a name that no one really wanted, and yet it was a GOOD name!
So some of the older Greek manuscripts refer to him as Thaddaeus … we only seeThaddaeus’s words recorded once … right before the crucifixion … in John 14…
John 14:22 …“22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
THADDAEUS… who really just wanted to know 1 thing .. Jesus, why are you going to REVEAL Yourself to just US and not the Entire World?
Thaddaeus truly had a heart for the World to know and experience JESUS. At a time when many of the other Apostles were sort of in that mode of being consumed w/ how this would impact THEM, this quiet man of God was still searching for ways for people to know Jesus!
We believe he ended up teaching and preaching in what is now modern day Turkey … before suffering a martyr’s death.
JUDAS ISCARIOT: The Traitor
2 things that really just stand out to me that we can’t miss:
- It’s entirely possible to be near to Christ and still be totally hardened in our hearts by Sin.
- A sinful person, no matter how evil the attempt may be … cannot get in the way or re-direct God’s Will.
Makes me sort of ask all kinds of questions:
- What do we know about Judas?
- Did Jesus know what would happen?
- What caused Judas to betray Jesus?
- Did he make it to Heaven?
- How could someone so close to Jesus commit what appears to potentially be the worst Sin ever?
Ultimately, God didn’t MAKE this happen … because God is not Evil!
BUT God does use Evil for Good! He uses even the Greatest Evilfor the Greatest Goodat times!
We see God literally use the Betrayal of Judas Iscariot to bring Glory to God and Salvation for the broken, sinful world!
What a picture of how God can use even the Evil of Judas for our Good!
At 1stglance … his betrayal of Jesus seemed like Satan’s greatest triumph EVER!
But in reality … it signaled complete Defeat for Satan and all his works
So … how do we make sure we don’t fall into this trap too?
Honestly … I think it’s a constant Wrestling Match… and I’m a constant Work-n-Progress!
My heart says … walk like the other 11 Ken …
- … allow God to shape what he gave me thru life experiences to build upon the Presence and Character of God in my life. Lead from THAT!
- Find contentment in the Individual Life and Individual Gift vs. constantly thinking everything bigger is always better.
- Allow God to Harness and Channel my passion and boldness for His Truth … w/ His Love!
- Walk faithfully … and resist the urge to be obedient because of Paralysis by Analysis! God just might call us to do some RadicalThings!
- Be in Love w/ God and His Word! Nathaniel recognized Jesus from his knowledge of God’s Promises … and Thomas literally couldn’t imagine living w/o Jesus!
- REST in God’s Amazing Grace when I struggle … it was sufficient for Matthew … a lowly tax collector … and it’s sufficient for you and I too!
To me … that’s how!
It’s not a Magic Formula … it’s not a Science we prove and it becomes fact … it’s more of an Art in my life! It’s a portrait constantly being painted and touched up and just like these guys …
These are the stories of 12 Ordinary Guys … who w/ the exception of 1 … established the early church.