The goal of this series is to study the group of 12 young men who spent approximately 3 years with Jesus, from the time of his baptism until his resurrection. We’ll look at their character, their transformation, and their relationship with Jesus and learn from their lives.
You can read the full preface to this series to see how I have defined discipleship and see a timeline of how the disciples met Jesus and followed him.
Who Is Thaddeus?
We don’t really know a whole lot about Judas or Thaddeus, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Many Bible scholars generally agree, however, that the four names used for him all refer to the same person.
In the lists of the twelve disciples, he is called Thaddeus or Thaddaeus, a surname for the name Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3), which means “heart” or “courageous.” He is also called Judas but he is distinguished from Judas Iscariot.
Tradition says that Thaddeus founded a church at Edessa and was crucified there as a martyr.
A Look at Thaddeus
Thaddeus, along with the other disciples, preached the gospel as a missionary following Jesus’ resurrection. Some Bible scholars believe that he penned the book of Jude, although many take the view that Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, is the author.
We know that Thaddeus learned the gospel from Jesus as he loyally served Jesus despite hardship and persecution. However, like most of the other disciples, Thaddeus abandoned Jesus during his trial and crucifixion.
Referenced in the Bible:
[Jesus speaking] “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” (NIV)
Watching and Following
Imagine this: Jesus is invited to a wedding in Cana. His mother and family are there. Even some of his extended family are there. His mother, Mary, is chatting with her older sister, also named Mary. Her sister’s husband, Cleopas, is walking through the pre-wedding crowd with his two sons, James and Thaddeus. Jesus is sitting at the table with Peter, Andrew, James, and John as they discuss His favorite topic: the Kingdom of God. Suddenly His mother taps him on the shoulder and whispers something about the wine being out. He seems to disregard the situation but, at the insistence of His mother, performs a miracle, turning the water in the barrels into wine.
Now, first let me warn you that the following is speculation. Thaddeus may not have been there. But it can certainly be argued that Jesus was related to James and Thaddeus. And a wedding was a time of celebration, where extended family was invited for the festivities.
So, let’s assume Thaddeus was there. Imagine what he may have thought seeing his relative (Jesus) begin to draw a crowd of disciples. How would you react in his situation as you begin to hear the whispers circulate the banquet that Jesus had just performed a miracle?
We may not know a lot about Thaddeus from the New Testament but there’s always something that we can learn from studying Scripture and those in it. So, what do we learn from Thaddeus? Thought there are many thoughts to choose from, I find the most interesting to be the interesting way that people get glimpses of Jesus. You never know how many times it may take for someone to encounter Jesus before they begin to follow Him. Jude may have seen Jesus at the wedding. He may have seen Him when John baptized Him in the Jordan. However Jude saw Him, we do know that Jude made the greatest decision ever: he put his trust in Jesus and followed Him for the rest of His life.
Preview of the Next Disciple:
I hope this has opened your eyes to the fact that Thaddeus was a real man. He wasn’t just a character on a few pages of the Bible. He was real and there’s so much we can learn from him.
Next, we will look at James. What do we know about James and what lessons can we learn from his life? You can find out this and much more in the next post.
Wait! Don’t Leave Without Saying Hi!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Below is a place for you to say hi, what you thought about the post, and ask any questions you may have. And yes, I’ll respond! In fact, I’m looking forward to interacting with you! So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment below!
*For related reading about the disciples/apostles of Jesus, please visit my friend’s page here.
Check Out the Rest of the Series
Also published on Medium.