To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 2:19-22; Lk 6:19-22
is one of the twelve Apostles in the list of Luke (and also Acts of the
Apostles). Some think that since Jude is not mentioned by Matthew and Mark but
Thaddeus is, that Jude and Thaddeus are the same person. Besides mention in the
list of the Twelve, he is not well known.
is mentioned in all four lists of the apostles. In two of them he is called
"the Zealot." The title probably indicates that he belonged to a
Jewish sect that represented an extreme of Jewish nationalism. For them, the
messianic promise of the Old Testament meant that the Jews were to be a free
and independent nation. God alone was their king, and any payment of taxes to
the Romans—the very domination of the Romans—was a blasphemy against God.
Nothing in the scriptures speaks of his activities as a Zealot.
Gospel text chosen for the feast of these Saints is The naming of the twelve
apostles. By placing the appointment of the Twelve immediately after the
controversies with the Pharisees—and the dramatic distinction between old and
new that these controversies exposed—Luke presents the appointment of the
Twelve as the constitution of a new nucleus for the people of God, perhaps in
deliberate succession to the twelve tribes of Israel. The conflicts between
Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees have already shown that they represent the
old and that, therefore, they are no more fit for leadership in the kingdom
than old wineskins are fit for new wine. The events at this juncture of the
Gospel foreshadow the opposition that will lead to Jesus’ death and the witness
of the apostles in Acts.
again signals the introduction of a new scene by means of “Now it came to pass”
and a temporal phrase: “Now during those days.” The significance of the coming
scene is indicated both by its setting on a mountain and the report that Jesus
spent the night in prayer. The only other time Jesus goes up on a mountain to
pray in Luke is the occasion of the transfiguration (9:28), just prior to the
start of his journey to Jerusalem. Prayer is a regular feature of Luke’s
account of the ministry of Jesus and the growth of the church, and references
to prayer often occur in connection with significant turning points in this
history (Luke 3:21, the coming of the Spirit upon Jesus; 9:18, Peter’s
confession that Jesus is the Messiah; 9:28, the transfiguration; 11:1, the
Lord’s prayer; and 22:40-46, Gethsemane). It is not surprising, therefore, that
Luke adds a reference to prayer at this point.
one verse, Luke refers to “the disciples,” “the Twelve,” and “apostles,” but
the terms are not synonymous and do not refer to the same groups. In Luke’s
account, in contrast to Mark and Matthew, the Twelve are distinct from the
larger group of disciples: “He called his disciples and chose twelve of them.”
In the next scene Jesus is still surrounded by “a great crowd of his disciples”
(6:17). Luke states that Jesus named the twelve “apostles,” thereby
characterizing their role as witnesses. The references to apostles in the early
church in Acts and in the rest of the New Testament make it clear that many who
were not among the Twelve were still called apostles.
points being made by this text of the naming of the Twelve in Luke may be
summarized as under:
calls those whom God wants. The individual’s merit or talent is not a necessary
condition for the call. God graces those who are called and equips them for
Mission. The initiative is always with God, but the response is from the human.
God called Israel and then Jesus called the Twelve to continue the Mission that
was given to Israel to be that Contrast Community, so God continues to call
even today. Consequently, blessing and mission are vital aspects of God’s
purpose for the community of faith, whether it be Israel or the church.
in Luke, the call to follow Jesus is a call to imitate him, and in Acts we see
the disciples continuing to do what Jesus began during his ministry. Jesus
blessed the poor and the outcast; he ate with the excluded and defended them
against the religious authorities. Jesus showed compassion on the weak, the
sick, and the small, and in these matters the disciples had a particularly hard
time in following Jesus’ example. Nevertheless, if discipleship and Lordship
are directly related, then the Gospel’s portrayal of Jesus is vital for the
church. We can follow Jesus in the Lukan sense only when we see clearly who he
is. Ultimately, of course, the Gospel challenges each reader to respond to the
call to discipleship and join the Twelve as followers of Jesus.