6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is the 9th sermon in the "Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles" series.

Series: Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles [#9]


Luke 6:15


There are 3 men named James in the New Testament- James, the son of Alphaeus; James, the brother of John; and James, the brother of Jesus and a leader in the early Church. We know almost nothing about James, the son of Alphaeus. However, there are several things we can assume about him from the Scriptures.

Luke 6:15 (NIV)

15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot.

James son of Alphaeus…

1. Was 1 of the last 4 Apostles named.

In Matthew and Mark, he was 1 of the last 4 Apostles named. In our text, these same 4 men were named together. Most scholars agree that they must have had a common factor that caused them to be named as a group. Simon, we know, was a Zealot, a fanatical Jewish patriot. Judas Iscariot was probably such a patriot. 1 Latin manuscript calls the other Judas (Thaddeus) a Zealot. There is considerable evidence, then, that Simon, Thaddaeus, and Judas Iscariot were all Zealots. Therefore, it is a reasonable deduction that James, the son of Alphaeus, was also a Zealot.

Mark 2:14 (NIV)

14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

James son of Alphaeus…

2. Was most likely the brother of Matthew.

We know that Matthew and Levi are the same person. Matthew's father was also Alphaeus. This could tie them together as brothers. If they were brothers, they did not have a good relationship. James was a Zealot and Zealots hated tax collectors; and Matthew was a tax collector. Again, if this is correct; then we see how Jesus brought these 2 brothers together for the same purpose.

Mark 15:40 (NIV)

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome.

James son of Alphaeus…

3. Mother was 1 of the Mary’s who were at the cross.

Most likely, the mother of James was one of the Mary’s who stood by the cross when Jesus was crucified. Her presence there suggests the possibility that she was 1 of the group of unnamed women who went to anoint the body of Jesus on Easter morning. This information shows us that James’ mother was follower of Jesus.


Although we do not know much about James, he was a faithful follower of Jesus.

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