Love or War
“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” (Matthew 10: 1 – 4 NIV)
There is the same list repeated in Luke with an introduction that indicates how serious this selection was for Jesus:
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” (Luke 6: 12 – 16 NIV)
A comparison of the two lists:
James son of Alphaeus James son of Alphaeus
Thaddaeus Simon who was called the Zealot
Simon the Zealot Judas son of James
Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
In the difference in these two lists we see that Thaddaeus is the same person as Judas son of James. Let’s look at little closer by observing events recorded in John regarding Philip and Nathanael:
“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, `Follow me.”
“Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, `We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’
“`Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked.
“`Come and see,’ said Philip.
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said to him, `Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’
“`How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.
“Jesus answered, `I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’
“Then Nathanael declared, `Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’
“Jesus said, `You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ He then added, `Very truly I tell you, you will see `heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.’” (John 1: 43 – 51 NIV)
We find from the record in John that Philip and Bartholomew were friends and the Nathanael mentioned in John is the same person as Bartholomew.
The reason I go to these lengths to bring the calling and the names of the apostles to mind is to show the importance the calling of the apostles was to Jesus and the special care that the selection process involved. The calling of Bartholomew (Nathanael) as recorded in John reveals the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in Jesus. Jesus was aware of Nathanael as he was meditating under the fig tree and was even aware of what he was meditating about (the ascending and descending of the angels on the ladder to heaven in the dream of Jacob).
Of the twelve we know some specifically from the scriptures. Four were fishermen. Of these James and John were nicknamed Sons of Thunder by Jesus. Matthew was called from being a tax-collector. Thomas became known as the doubter. Simon was a Zealot looking for violent action against the Romans. In the natural, Matthew and Simon the Zealot should have hated each other. Judas Iscariot was to betray Jesus.
It is no small thing that Jesus prayed all night. And we must know that Jesus was faithful to those Father placed in His hands right to the end. If we read the events of the Last Supper as recorded in John 13 we see that Judas Iscariot was included in the foot washing by Jesus; and, yet, at the conclusion of the foot washing he began to announce the betrayal of Judas.
There is working in you and I the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you do not think that is true ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I write this article about the apostles and the gifts working in Jesus to encourage you because the calling to become like Jesus is extended to you. You are to be empowered to do the things that Jesus did and to become a daughter or son of God. The gifts that worked in Jesus will work in you so that we well be able to walk in the ways of love rather than war.