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Summer Bible Study on the Apostles: St. Jude

posted Aug 5, 2017, 6:06 AM by Jason Stegman

               

The Apostles

St. Jude



Name: The last name on the list of faithful disciples is “Judas the son of

James.” The name Judas in itself is a fine Hebrew name that means “Yahweh

leads.” But because of the treachery of Judas Iscariot the name Judas will forever have a negative connotation. And so the English form of the name Judas, “Jude’ is used in order to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. is in In Matthew 10:3 he is listed as Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.” Because of these three St. Jerome called him “Trinominus’ or the man with three names.” Judas was probably the name given him at birth. Lebbaeus and Thaddeus were probably nicknames.


Who was he?

There is some dispute as to whether Jude the Apostle is the same Jude who wrote the epistle of Jude. It is generally agreed that the Jude referred to in Jude 1 was the brother of James the half-brother of Jesus (see Mark 3:31 ).

Mark 3:13-19 The name Thaddeus means ‘breast child’ evoking the idea of a nursing baby. It almost has a derisive tone to it, like ‘mamma’s boy.’ Perhaps he was the youngest in his family and therefore the baby among the other siblings.

Matthew 10:3 (please use KJV) His other name Lebbaeus is similar to Thaddeus, it is from a Hebrew root that refers to the heart, and so other nickname means ‘heart child,’ or ‘man of heart.’

Both names suggest he had a tender childlike heart. It is interesting to think of a tender soul hanging around with Simon the Zealot or the ‘sons of thunder.’ But the Lord uses all kinds. Zealots make good preachers, and so do tender-hearted, compassionate gentle sweet spirited people as well. Together they make up a complex and intriguing group of disciples. Like the other three members of the third apostolic group, Jude is more or less shrouded in obscurity. But that obscurity should not could our respect for him.


His discipleship under Jesus.

John 14:21-22. The New Testament records one incident involving Jude. In St. John’s description of Jesus’ upper room discourse you see the heart of this apostle. He doesn’t say anything brash or overconfident. He doesn’t rebuke the Lord the way Simon Peter did. His question is full of gentleness and meekness and certainly devoid of pride. He couldn’t believe that Jesus would manifest Himself to this rag-tag group of eleven, and not to the whole world.

Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jude’s question reveals a pious believing disciple. This was a man who loved his Lord and who felt the power of salvation in his own life. He was full of hope for the world, and in his own tender hearted way wanted to know why Jesus wasn’t going to make himself known to everyone. He was obviously still hoping to see the kingdom come to earth. We certainly can’t fault him for that; that is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray (Luke 11:2)

John 14:23 Jesus gave Jude a marvelous answer, and the answer was as gentle as the question. Christ would manifest himself to anyone who loves Him. Jude however was still thinking of the material and political realm; Jesus’ answer meant that he wasn’t going to take over the world externally but one heart at a time.


What we know after Pentecost.

There is no Biblical account of St. Jude after Pentecost.


Lore/Church tradition.

Legend has Jude working in Syria, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia. Most of the early tradition regarding St. Jude suggests that a few years after Pentecost he took the gospel north to Edessa, a Royal City in Mesopotamia, in the region of modern day Turkey. There are numerous accounts of how he miraculously healed the Prince of Osorene (a tiny kingdom between the Tigris and Euphrates River) a man named Abgar the Black. In the 4th century Eusebius the historian said that the archives at Edessa (now destroyed) contained the full account of Jude’s healing and visit of Abgar. If there is a grain of truth to the Abgar legend Jude became one of the first apostles to witness directly to a Gentile King.

St. Jude is also associated with the Armenian Church as one of five apostles who visited Armenia and evangelized there. Armenia became one of the first Christian nations in the world. Christianity was officially proclaimed there in 301 AD as the national religion.

We have a mixture of traditions about the death and burial places associate with Jude. Assyrian church leaders state that the tomb of Jude is was in a small village called Kara Kelisa near the Caspian Sea about 40 miles from Tabriz. This is in Iran, and could likely be the site of the original tomb of St. Jude even though it is likely that to keep the relics safe from the invasion of Genghis Khan, there were moved westward and scattered from Rome to Spain. The tremendous tomb which is built for those relics in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome attests to the firm belief among Catholic authorities that some of the genuine relics of Jude are indeed to be found there today.

According to the “Apostolic History of Abdas,” Simon and Jude were opposed in their ministry by Zaroes and Arfaxat, the same to warlocks who had been forced to leave Mesopotamia by the preaching of Matthew. Despite the fierce opposition these men encountered some sixty thousand people converted to Christianity in and around the city of Babylon before Simon and Jude moved on to the city of Suanir. It was in Suanir that the sorcerers who dogged the apostles’ footsteps persuaded local rulers to force Simon and Jude to sacrifice to the local deities. Just as the demonic presence allegedly fled the temple when exorcised by Bartholomew, two black figures were seen fleeing the Persian temple howling furiously on account of the exorcism of Simon and Jude. This enraged the sorcerers further. They stirred up a mob which converged on the two elderly men. Jude turned to Simon and said ‘I see that the Lord is calling us.” The crowd pelted them with stones; Jude was run through with a spear. Simon was seized and sawn into pieces.

The feast of St. Jude is October 28th. The theme is ‘The Apostles as foundation stones of our faith.’ He is the Patron of Hopeless causes and hospitals. The shield of St. Jude depicts a small sailing ship symbolizing his missionary journeys. This tender hearted soul followed his Lord faithfully to the end. His testimony was as powerful and as far-reaching as that of the better-known and more outspoken disciples. He, like them is proof of how God uses perfectly ordinary people in remarkable ways.


Question 1: Gentleness is a fine attribute for a person to have. It’s needed in many aspects of life, caring for children-or anyone for that matter. It’s also an attribute that invites mistreatment, as gentleness is also mistaken for weakness, or passivity. How do we as Christians keep a tender heart in a sin darkened world?


Question 2: Jude’s question of Jesus in John 14 is prescient. Will the Lord manifest himself today in our community, and how will he do it?

Prayer: Almighty God, You chose Your servants Simon and Jude to be numbered among the glorious company of the apostles. As they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, one God now and forever. Amen.



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Jason Stegman,
Aug 5, 2017, 6:06 AM
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