Yehuda ben Yaakov

St. Jude, or Thaddeus

One of Rabbi Yeshua’s original twelve shlikhim (Apostles)

He is called Thaddeus at Mt 10:3 and Mk 3:18, and Jude at Jude 1. However, we place his name Jude first because the Epistle of St. Jude is attributed to that name. Rabbi Yokhanan tells us, “Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world” Jn 14:22. It is a fair question. We would expect God’s Mashiakh to appear in radiant splendor, when in fact he had “nowhere to lay his head” Mt 8:20.

For understanding we can go back to the theophany at Mt. Sinai.

On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God; and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder Ex 19:1619.

On the way to Sinai, Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me” Ex 17:4. Obviously, many Israelites somehow managed to get through the Passover Ex 12:29 without believing that the God of Israel was Almighty God, and managed to get through even this great theophany without believing Ex 32:4. God used the great theophany to persuade at least those who were open to him.

But Rabbi Yeshua replied to Rabbi Jude, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” Jn 14:2324. Rabbi Yeshua is God, and we are his image Gen 1:27. He has absolute free will, “with God all things are possible” Mt 19:26. He loves us with fiery awesome agape love, and he gives us free will to love him in return or not.

God can certainly get our attention when he wants to, as he demonstrated on Mt. Sinai. A few years ago I was driving during a thunderstorm when a major lightning bolt hit the ground no more than 20 feet in front of my car! The lightning flash almost blinded me and the thunder jolted the car. Rabbi Yeshua carefully attenuates his power to preserve our free will, our ability to say yes or no. True love, after all, can only be given freely.

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