Bible Question:

In the book of Luke, when it is talking about the apostles, it mentions that Judas is the son of James. Was this Judas also a disciple? Also why did Judas iscariot have two names and all the other disciples are called by one name?

Bible Answer:

Jesus had two disciples by the name of Judas. We know very little about one of them – Judas, the son of James who was a son of Zebedee. The other Judas was Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. The following table lists the disciples in the order given in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:12-16. The study “Call of the Twelve” also provides important details about all of the disciples.

Comparison of the Disciples in Mark 3 to Luke 6

Judas Iscariot

Mark 3:18 names only one of Jesus’ disciples as Judas. He is called Judas Iscariot. He is called the “son of perdition” in John 17:12. The future antichrist will also be called the son of perdition. That is, Judas was like the future antichrist.

He was chosen by Christ to be a disciple (John 13:18). John 6:64, 71 say that Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray Him. John 13:18-22 explains that Jesus chose Judas so that the prophecies about him in Psalm 41:9 and Zechariah 11:12-13 would be fulfilled. Psalm 41:9 suggests that Judas pretended to be a friend to Jesus before betraying Him.

Judas Iscariot was the treasurer for the disciples and the betrayer of our Christ. John 12:4-6 reveals that he also pretended to be an honest treasurer, but verse 6 says he was a thief for he would steal from the money box.

His greed eventually motivated him to betray Jesus. He betrayed Jesus for thirty shekels of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). The plan to betray Jesus is described  in three gospels (Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6). Three gospels indicate that a kiss was the agreed upon sign that would identify Jesus (Matthew 26:48; Mark 14:44; Luke 22:47). The betrayal and arrest of Jesus is described in all four gospels (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12).

Mark 14: 21-22 records this statement from Jesus about Judas.

For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. Mark 14: 21 (NASB)

He eventually hung himself due to remorse because he betrayed Jesus (Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:17-19).

Judas, son of James

Luke 6:12-16 lists two disciples named Judas. One was called Judas, son of James and the other was Judas Iscariot. Judas, son of James was also called Thaddeus in the book of Mark. It was common in the time of Christ for individuals to have multiple names. For example, Simon was also called Peter (Mark 3:16; Luke 6:12). The apostles John and James were also called “sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). Thomas was also known as Didymus (John 20:24).

Conclusion:

As a young boy I had two names: my real name and a nick name. Multiple names are common. Jesus had multiple names. He was called the Son of God, the Lord, Jesus, Jesus Christ, and God eternal. The expression “son of God” means that He was God. I am glad that He was and is. He returned to life after being dead. No one has ever done that, except for Him. He is God and He loves us.

Suggested Links:

Does the place where Judas hung himself (Hakeldama) still exist?
Son of perdition — Is the son of perdition Judas or the Antichrist?
Why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot as a disciple?
If Judas was not a believer how could he cast out demons?
Does the Bible indicate that Judas was not saved?
Call of the Twelve