6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is a study of James, Simon, Judas not Iscariot based on 12 Ordinary Men. It has a lot of added notes and scripture.

Note: This is a study from the book 12 Ordinary Men by John McArthur an excellent book. There is also a fill in the blank outline from Adult Bible Fellowships of First Baptist Church Orion that I have posted in the series. This is not original but worth posting for study.

Description: This is a study of James based on 12 Ordinary Men. It has a lot of added notes and scripture.

Twelve Ordinary Men

James, Simon, and Judas

Luke 6:15-16 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; (16) Judas the son of James . . .


We have four apostles left that we will look at. Tonight we will deal with the first three in the last group James, Simon and Judas. Next week we will deal with probably one of the most famous of the apostles Judas.

There is little said about these. What we will derive from them is more about their position in the listing and from their names themselves. Again we must not make light of the names of the individual because this often times defined their personalty or at least what family they were from.

I think it is interesting that each one of these have some kind of designation after their name. Why? Well mainly to distinguish themselves from the other apostles. They were so "lesser known" that they had to have this designation so people could know who they were. Almost as if "so and so the little brother of . . . "

I don’t mean this to take away from who they were. I believe it shows us even more of their commitment to Christ. It was not about fame or recognition; it was not about a title it was about being committed to the Messiah. Even unto death. Another common characteristics of them all is that they died a martyrs death.

John describes and event in John 6:54 - 69 that shows who these apostles were.

John 6:54-69 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. (56) He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (58) This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." (59) These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. (60) Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?" (61) When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you? (62) What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? (63) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (64) But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. (65) And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." (66) From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (67) Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" (68) But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (69) Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Mat 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

It is interesting that in the gospels themselves these men are not portrayed as heroes. It may have been because two (Matthew & John) were written by fellow apostles and the other two (Luke & Mark) were close friends. What we see more is their weaknesses more than their strengths.

We also notice that they really never did record the great things they did. Well there is the sending out by twos and they saw miracles and demons cast out at their hands, yet Jesus used this as a lesson to teach them about their own personal inflection.

Luke 10:17-20 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." (18) And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (19) Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (20) Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

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