Don’t really know why . . . or where I’m going with this thought . . . but, for some reason, this morning I find myself hovering over the names of Jesus’ twelve disciples as recorded in Matthew 10. And I’m asking myself the question, “Self, what’s in a name?”
And He called to Him His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. (Matthew 10:1-4 ESV)
It was Thaddaeus who initially caught my eye. Thaddaeus? Who’s he? While I may not know a lot about all the apostles, at least I thought I’d recognize their names when I come across them. But Thaddaeus. Not much “brand recognition” there. If I were to be asked the question, “True or False, Thaddaeus was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples?” . . . I’d have a 50/50 chance of getting it right. And it just hit me, Thaddaeus . . . why don’t I recognize that name at all?
A little bit of digging and I come to find that, in Luke’s gospel and his Book of Acts, this disciple is referred to as “Judas the son of James.” And in John’s gospel, after Judas the betrayer leaves the upper room where Jesus and the twelve have gathered for Passover, Jesus is asked a question by one of the disciples referred to as “Judas not Isacriot)” (John 14:22). Okay . . . so Thaddaeus is Jude. The same Jude who wrote the one-page letter in my Bible. Mystery solved. Lesser known character identified. All is good.
But so what, if I didn’t know him when I read his name? So what, if Thaddaeus isn’t the household (as in “house of faith” – hold) name that Peter or James or John is? So what if, comparatively, in terms of sheer words within the Book, he’s more of a “bit player?” The fact that I had trouble with his name and that, in some ways, he’s kind of hidden in the tapestry of the New Testament story, really doesn’t matter. The realization I’m coming to as I noodle on Thaddaeus, is that Jesus knows the name.
Jesus called the name to Himself. Jesus determined to bring the name into His inner circle. Jesus sent the name out, along with the others, and gave him authority over unclean spirits, disease and every affliction, and asked him to proclaim the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 10:7). And Jesus has given the name a new name “that no one knows except the one who receives it” (Rev. 2:17).
Jesus knows the name. The name doesn’t need to be worried about making his name known . . . doesn’t need to be concerned with notoriety . . . or with his own “brand recognition.” In fact, the name prefers to be invisible that he might reflect only THE NAME — The Name that is above every name. The Name by which all, who believe, are delivered from sin and death.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 ESV)
Jesus knows Thaddaeus’ name. And He knows mine. And that’s enough . . . that’s more than enough!
To Him be all glory . . .