The 12 Disciples – Part V


  • James was sometimes  called  1)James the Less ; 2)James the Younger
  • He was the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18 & Mark & 2:14)
  • He was one of the most unknown apostles in the Bible.
  • The only things we know for certain are his name and that he was present in the upper room of Jerusalem after Christ ascended to heaven.
  • Possible brother of Matthew (Levi) the tax collector.
  • He is sometimes confused with James the brother of Jesus (who wrote the book of James) or James the brother of Joseph.

Who was Alphaeus

Mark 3:18 – Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot

1. Mark’s Gospel describes Alphaeus as the father of two of the twelve apostles, Levi and James. This would seem to meant that Levi and James were brothers, although not described as such.

2.In fact, the only references to Levi are in Mark 2:14 and the corresponding verse (5:27) in   Luke’s Gospel, which Luke elaborates slightly by adding a passage in which Jesus is criticized for consorting with publicans (tax collectors).

3.  However, Matthew’s Gospel, although dependent    on Mark for this information, refers to another disciple, Matthew, as the former tax collector, so that it has become accepted by Christians that Matthew and Levi were one and the same person, although none of the gospel’s links Matthew with either Alphaeus or James.

4. An interesting theological discussion has consequently arisen as to whether there were two fathers known as Alphaeus, improbable as that would be. Something to think about.

  • Was present at the Last Supper & at the appearance of Jesus after the Resurrection (John 20:19-25).
  • Some suggest that James belonged to Zealots.
  • His mission was to preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand, heal the sick cleansed the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons. – Matthews 10:5-8

Lesson Learned:

  • All followers of Jesus can still accomplish the work of God without being in the limelight.

Thaddeus or Jude

  • Listed together with Simon the Zealot and James the Less.
  • Apostle Thaddeus completes a grouping of the least known of the 12 disciples.
  • In Twelve Ordinary Men, John MacArthur’s book about the apostles, Thaddeus is characterized as a tender – hearted, gentle man who displayed childlike humility.
  • He was also considered inquisitive (John 14:22); Confused (John 14:22)
  • Son of James (Luke 6:16) “James son of Alpheus”
  • The Aramaic meaning of his name is “beloved” or “dear to the heart”.
  • Jude is derived from the Hebrew name Judah, meaning “praise”.
  • Was present at the Last Supper.
  • Some scholars believe that he authored the book of Jude, although most believe that author was Judas, the brother of Jesus.
  • It was suggested that Thaddaeus belonged to the revolutionary group, the Zealots.
  • He asked Jesus how he would reveal himself to his followers and not to the world.
  • John 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

1-  Not everyone would understand and be receptive to his message.

Lesson Learned:  Jesus will reveal his truths to believers who follow Him.

Simon the Zealot

  • Who doesn’t like a good mystery? One puzzling question in the Bible is the exact identity of Simon the Zealot, the Bible’s own mystery apostle.
  • Scripture tells us almost nothing about Simon.
  • In the Gospels, he is mentioned in three places, but only to list his name.
  • In Acts 1:13you will find that he was present with the apostles in the upper room of Jerusalem after Christ had ascended to heaven. Beyond those few details, we can only speculate about Simon and his designation as a Zealot.

Matthew 10:4   Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Zealots defined:

  • Because of their often-violent tactics, the Zealots have been called some of the world’s first terrorists.
  • The Zealots were members of a first-century political movement among Judean Jews who sought to overthrow the occupying Roman government.
  • The word zealot has a Greek meaning of “zealous follower.” *passionate, devout, committed, dedicated, sincere or enthusiastic.
  • 12 disciple, mission to preach, Last Supper.
  • Present for the Great Commission and Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.
  • Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  • The Great Commission was not just for the immediate disciples that He was speaking too but it is given to all believers.

Personality & Character

1-Patriotic (Matthew 10:4)
2-Loyal (mark 3:18)
3-Passionate (Luke 6:15)
4- Sacrificial (Acts 1:13)

Lesson Learned:

One should be willing to sacrifice his or her politics to follow Jesus.


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