The Other Four Disciples

Many people have asked why the other four Disciples - Judas Iscariot, Jude Thaddaeus, James son of Zebedee and Simon the Zealot - are not included in the quiz, and there are two reasons for this:

1. There isn't much material in the New Testament about these Disciples to give a complete picture of their personalities.

2. The information that is given about these Disciples is very one-dimensional, implying that their personalities were not yet fully formed when the Gospel events took place. In other words, these Disciples represent personalities that are still developing.

Taking a closer look at these Disciples, we see that the New Testament portrayals of these four men were each dominated by a different Aspect to the exclusion of the other three. Rather than having a Primary Aspect supported by a Secondary Aspect, these men were driven overwhelmingly by just one overriding Dominant Aspect. This Aspect caused them to have somewhat one-dimensional personalities at the time of Jesus's ministry (although some of them may have grown later throughout their lives if given the chance). Below is a brief outline of each Disciple and how their Dominant Aspect influenced their ministry:

 

Disciple: Judas Iscariot

Dominant Aspect: Tradition 

Associated Sect: Sadducees

Virtue: Temperance

Vice: Greed

It is impossible to talk about Judas Iscariot without acknowledging his betrayal of Jesus. Both Luke and John tell us that Judas was possessed by the devil when he committed his infamous treachery, but it's worth asking: Who was Judas before the betrayal? What qualities did he exhibit that made Jesus call him as a Disciple? And what about his personality made him vulnerable to Satan's temptation?

Judas was the keeper of the ministry's purse, which tells us something about his ability to organize and manage money, since he was selected for the job over Matthew the Tax Collector, who was also a keen financial manager. But we also know that Judas was stealing from the purse while chastising others for spending extravagantly instead of giving to the poor. Greed was confirmed as a prime motive for Judas when he demanded 30 pieces of silver to hand Jesus over to the Chief Priests. But why was Judas so greedy?

Greed is not a desire for material comforts so much as a fear of never having enough. When Tradition is the Dominant Aspect in a personality, it can manifest as an obsession with stability and safety. We justify our greed by telling ourselves that we are preparing for an uncertain future. We can even rationalize dishonesty by claiming our superior work ethic or responsibility entitles us to compensation. If Judas had subjected his obsession with security to the light of Reason, he might have realized his hypocrisy. Or, if he had imbued his Tradition with the moral sense of Revelation, he may have been convicted of his wrongdoing. But the tragedy of Judas is that he allowed his weakness to make him an instrument of the devil.

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Disciple: Jude Thaddaeus

Dominant Aspect: Reason 

Associated Sect: Pharisees

Virtue: Justice

Vice: Sloth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jude was a close relative of Jesus (possibly a brother) who was - like most of his family - skeptical of Jesus's ministry at first. Although Jude later became one of Jesus's 12 Disciples, he never rose to prominence like his other brothers, James the Just and Simeon. Whereas James and Simeon both became respected leaders of the Jerusalem Church, Jude remained in relative obscurity, remembered now mostly as the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. Jude's two contributions to the New Testament are an Epistle and a question he asked at the Last Supper: “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

By his question and his Epistle, Jude showed himself to be concerned primarily with finding universal, objective truth. He wanted to understand why Jesus would give special knowledge only to a select group of followers instead of sharing it with everyone. In his letter, Jude later showed unflinching commitment to rationality as he harshly condemned heretics: "Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them."

One risk of focusing too much on Reason is that we can become too harsh or condescending to people who do not have the intellectual ability or willingness to think as deeply as we demand. But another downside is that we can become stuck in analysis paralysis, lost in our own thoughts at the expense of impacting real people in the real world. If Jude had grounded his Reason in Tradition, he may have had greater success in helping to lead the Church like his brothers. Or, if he had opened himself up to new Experiences, he may have found more grace and humility when confronting disagreement. Ultimately, we don't know if Jude ever embraced these parts of his personality, but we do know that God called him for a purpose. Maybe Jude's status as the underachieving brother is exactly what made him such an advocate for underdogs as the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. 

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Disciple: James, son of Zebedee

Dominant Aspect: Revelation 

Associated Sect: Essenes

Virtue: Prudence

Vice: Pride

James is mentioned alongside his brother John 18 times in the Gospels - far more than any other pair of brothers - and he seems to have shared his brother's passion for Revelation. As a core member of Jesus's inner circle, James witnessed teachings and miracles that no one else got to see. But, also like his brother, James let his elite status go to his head.

Jesus called the brothers the "Sons of Thunder" due to their fierce temper and pride. They earned Jesus's rebuke on several occasions, including when they tried to rain fire from heaven on their enemies and when they asked to be seated next to Jesus in heaven. The difference between James and John, however, was that John seemed to learn humility from Jesus's teaching, while James seemed to have retained his fire.

While John is later mentioned apart from James several times in the Gospels, James is only mentioned alone one time: when he is the first Disciple to be martyred. We don't know for sure why James was singled out for execution while John and Peter escaped imprisonment, but if James did not ground his Revelation in Tradition or give it humility through new Experiences, his fiery temper could have been what provoked Herod's wrath. Ultimately, James earned a great honor by being the first martyred Disciple, but his impact may have reached even greater heights had he grown alongside his brother.

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Disciple: Simon the Zealot

Dominant Aspect: Experience 

Associated Sect: Zealots

Virtue: Courage

Vice: Wrath

 

We don't know much about Simon the Zealot, except that he was...well, a Zealot. Even the meaning of his nickname is a bit unclear. It may mean that he was zealous for Jesus's teaching or for Jewish law. But many scholars conclude that Simon was associated at some point with a political sect know as "The Zealots."

The Zealots were motivated by an intense hatred toward the Roman occupation of Jerusalem. They were viewed by their supporters as freedom fighters, but their violent tendencies stood in sharp contrast to Jesus's teaching to "turn the other cheek." Their uprisings and provocations are what ultimately led to the conflicts which destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.

We don't know how involved Simon was with the Zealots as a group, but it's likely that a drive for firsthand Experience convinced him that the best solution to the Roman occupation was armed resistance. We can see this tendency in another Simon - Peter - when he defended Jesus by cutting off a servant's ear. But Peter learned to temper his wrath with the light of Revelation. Even Thomas learned to balance courage with Reason. But Simon the Zealot is never mentioned again after the beginning of Acts, and we don't know anything about his ministry in later years. Was his absence from the New Testament a sign that he allowed the revolutionary conflict to distract him from the business of building the Church?

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