Summary: Disciple Jude
An amazing thing about studying the disciples, most of them we have very little information. Due to language variations and backgrounds of the gospel writers, some of the names are different in various gospels. Thaddaeus is one of those individuals. Matthew 10:3 says this disciple is “Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus.” The name Lebbaeus is omitted in many Greek manuscripts and in most translations. However, according to Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 Judas (not Iscariot) but Judas the son of James is listed. It could be quite possible this Judas or Jude could have been the author of the book of Jude. For the sake of this discussion it really does not matter.
We will find a question presented by this Jude (Thaddaeus) in John 14:22. His question follows questions presented by Peter, Thomas and Phillip. Like the other disciples in John 14, Jude focused on the physical rather than the spiritual. The question he asks is a relevant question we ask today, “Lord, how is it you show yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Before we address that question we need to examine what prompted the question in the preceeding verses. Philip asked Jesus in John 14:8 “Lord, show us the father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus replied, “If you have seen me you have seen the father.” As Jesus answered Philip’s question, in verse 19 Jesus said
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
I believe this is the point where Jude’s mind became scrambled and his mental focus became totally wrapped up in his question in John 14:22, regarding Jesus showing Himself to the disciples and not to the world.
In regards to seeing Christ, a person will first see Christ when God opens their eyes to their sin nature. A person will see how they are dirty rags compared to God and they develop the desire to wash those dirty rags. There is only one detergent that can get those dirty rags cleaned and that is Christ’s blood. You will pray to God to forgive you of your sins and an overwhelming sense of peace and forgiveness will come upon you, you have now seen Christ with the eyes of your heart. You are now a babe in Christ.
A newborn baby’s eyes can not focus completely until they are about eight months old As Christians we are very similar. When we first come to Christ, our spiritual vision has only developed enough that we can only see dirty rags. What about the storms of life that wage war against our soul? To see Jesus through the storms we must develop our spiritual vision. When you first come to Christ, you know nothing more about Jesus except that He was God’s son and died for your sins and He was raised on the third day by God. How are you going to learn about Jesus, about His commands and about His miracles? Simple, you read God’s love letter to man called the Bible. The gospels will tell you the things Jesus taught and the other books of the New Testament will teach you how to live out this Christian life coupled with how to relate to fellow believer in God’s church.
When Jude asked Jesus his question, the disciple’s spiritual eyes were still developing, they would receive 20/20 vision at the resurrection and at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit arrived. The development of a child is very similar to the development of a disciple, as we saw in the previous chapter. John 14:19 the key word is live, in verse 20 the key word is know and in verse 21 the key word is love. Put the words together; we live because we know God loves us.
Jesus said in verse nineteen “Because I live, you will live also.” There are two Greek words for life in the New Testament. One is Zao and the other is Bios. Zao has to do with the fullness of living, Bios has to do with days on earth, like a biography. We all have Bios but few have Zao. Jesus said He came to give us abundant life. Abundant means excess, our life becomes in excess of what we expected. We have purpose, passion and total peace in all circumstances. Because Jesus lives we can live life to the fullest for Him which is true happiness.
British theologian C. S. Lewis described happiness 50 years ago in terms that make even more sense today in our commuter-driven society:
A car is made to run on petrol [gasoline], and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.