Year 2 Day 178
Read - John 14v15-31
Message - Scott Woodburn
As we work our way through the list of Apostles we finally arrive at Thaddaeus and if we don’t know much about James the son of Alphaeus then we really don’t know much about Thaddaeus. We can be confident that his father was called James (Luke 6v16) and we know that Thaddaeus was often referred to by different names. He is called Thaddaeus, Judas and also Lebbaeus (Matthew 10v3). Additionally some have argued that Thaddaeus could be the author of the book of Jude.
In the midst of uncertainty we do know that Thaddaeus once asked an important question. Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure and had promised them the Holy Spirit saying “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (v18-19)
To Thaddaeus (called Judas in this passage) this seemed somewhat strange. Jesus was promising that the Apostles would see Him but the rest of the world wouldn’t. How would this be so? So the man with three names asked one question “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (v22)
Thaddaeus could only imagine a physical Jesus standing in the midst of a sinful world. Instead Christ was teaching about a spiritual manifestation. Jesus was preparing to send forth the Holy Spirit who would dwell within the hearts of God’s people (v17). Those who have rejected Christ cannot receive the Holy Spirit, nor see Him nor know Him, but He is promised to all who believe (v17).
So how is Christ made manifest in this sinful world? In the lives of His Spirit filled followers. A Christian is someone who has been saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Our works are not the basis for our salvation nor do they somehow keep us in God’s good books. Instead the evidence of a transformed life is clearly seen in the works and lives of a follower of Christ.
Christ is clear - if we love Him then we will love and keep His commandments (v21). If we love Jesus then we will love His Word (v23). Our works give us no reason to boast, they do not save us nor do they entice Jesus to love us. Indeed even when we do our works really well, they are still tainted by sin. Instead even when we were dead in sin, Christ died for us. The Gospel is preached and the Spirit breathes new life into us. He causes us to be born again and we repent and believe the Gospel. The works that we do are the fruit of our salvation and God has prepared them beforehand for us to do them (Ephesians 2v10).
So where is Jesus in this harlot world? Surely He can’t be in midst of this wicked generation? It is true to say that Jesus does not walk physically among us. He is physically in heaven and from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. So where is Jesus in this harlot world? Whenever you encounter a fellowship or a Christian that loves Christ and seeks to keep His Word and produces fruit in keeping with repentance, there you will see Christ made manifest in this world. Your local church might not look like much but it is in that place that the light of Christ shines in the darkness.
Q62 What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment? The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the Sabbath day.