Sunday, May 31, 2009

Substitute for Judas Iscariot

I'm a bit behind, so this is about last week's lesson - the replacement for Judas. The disciples got together and decided that 12 were needed to fulfill all of the ministry the Christ had left for them, and two names were put forward to replace Judas: Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. We know from the accounts that after drawing lots, Matthias was selected and became the 12 apostle.

Now, from here, we learn: "bar-sab-'as (Ioudas Barsabbas): Judas was, with Silas, a delegate from the church in Jerusalem to the GentileChristians of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. They were appointed to convey the letter containing the decision of "the apostles and the elders, with the whole church" regarding the attitude to be taken by GentileChristians toward the Mosaic law, and also to explain "the same things by word of mouth." They accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, and, "being themselves also prophets," i.e. preachers, they not only handed over the epistle but stayed some time in the city preaching and teaching. They seem to have gone no farther than Antioch, for "they were dismissed in peace from the brethren unto those that had sent them forth," and it was Paul and Silas who some time afterward strengthened the churches in Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:40,41).
According to Acts 15:34 the King James Version, Judas returned to Jerusalem without Silas, who remained at Antioch and afterward became Paul's companion (Acts 15:40). The oldest manuscripts, however, omit Acts 15:34, and it is therefore omitted from the Revised Version (British and American). It was probably a marginal note to explain Acts 15:40, and in time it crept into the text. Judas and Silas are called "chief men among the brethren" (15:22), probably elders, and "prophets" (15:32).
Barsabbas being a patronymic, Judas was probably the brother of Joseph Barsabbas. He cannot be identified with any other Judas, e.g. "Judas not Iscariot" (Jn 14:22). We hear no more of Judas after his return to Jerusalem (Acts 15:22 ff).
S. F. Hunter"

So, even while not chosen to be among the 12 apostles, Judas continued on to serve the church, assisting Paul. We can look on this as an example for ourselves, in that, while we may not be chosen to lead, we are still followers of Christ, able to contribute, each in our own way, to spread the word. I thought Barsabbas to be the most interesting person of the lesson.

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