Saint Jude Characteristics
Thaddeus (also referred to as Saint Jude in the Catholic church) is believed to have been the nickname or surname of Judas.
There is some confusion about whether Thaddeus was the brother or son of James, but it is known that they were related.
Thaddeus is known as a disciple of three names, being that he is referred to as Thaddeus, Judas, and Lebbaeus. Thaddeus was not a leader of the twelve disciples, and he is not mentioned often throughout The Bible.
According to the characteristics of the 12 apostles, little is know about the character, life and ministry of Thaddaeus.
The New Testament records only one event involving Thaddeus: his question to Jesus during a message to the disciples after the Last Supper:
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him,
“Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him”
The Characteristics of Apostle St. Jude
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus brothers encouraged him to go perform miracles in Judea, and it suggests a reason why they wanted him to go:
Jesus brothers said to him, Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world. For even his brothers did not believe in him. John 7:35
One of those brothers who didn’t believe in Jesus may have been Jude. At this point in the gospel narrative, Jesus had already performed many miracles and called his disciples. So it would be a little odd for Jesus to be this far along in his ministry and still have a disciple who didn’t believe in him.
It is worth noting, though, Jesus had at least four brothers, and John doesn’t specifically say that all of them didn’t believe in him. So it’s possible that his brother Judas believed, but the others didn’t. It is also possible that Jesus’s brother Judas wasn’t the same person as the Judas.
As an apostle, Jude would have been sent somewhere to spread the gospel, just as the other apostles were. The word we translate as an apostle (apóstolos) means one who is sent.
The Golden Legenda thirteenth-century text containing biographies of saints records that Judas started preaching in Mesopotamia, then partnered with Simon, the Zealot:
We also know that Thaddeus, like other disciples, preached the gospel in the years following the death of Jesus. Tradition holds that he preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya, possibly alongside Simon the Zealot. Church tradition holds that Thaddeus founded a church at Edessa and was crucified there as a martyr.
Thaddeus learned the gospel directly from Jesus and loyally served Christ despite hardship and persecution. He preached as a missionary following Jesus’ resurrection. He may have penned the book of Jude. The final two verses of Jude contain a doxology, or “expression of praise to God,” considered the finest in the New Testament.
Intense and Curious
In John 14:22, Thaddeus asked Jesus, Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large? (NLT). This question uncovered a few things about Thaddeus. Number one, Thaddeus was comfortable in his relationship with Jesus, enough to stop the Lord in the middle of his teaching to ask a question.
Thaddeus was curious to know why Jesus would reveal himself to the disciples but not to the whole world. This demonstrated that Thaddeus had a compassionate heart for the world. He wanted everyone to know Jesus.
Around the year 60 A.D., St. Jude wrote a Gospel letter to recent Christian converts in Eastern churches which were under persecution. In it, he warned them against the pseudo-teachers of the day who were spreading false ideas about the early Christian faith.
He encouraged them to persevere in the face of the harsh, difficult circumstances they were in, just as their forefathers had done before them. He urged them to keep their faith and to stay in the love of God as they had been taught. His inspirational support of these early believers led to him becoming the patron saint of desperate cases.
Thaddeus was also called Judas the Zealot and was a very enthusiastic and intense individual, MAT 10:3. The only incident recorded of Judas is in JOH 14:22, where during Christ’s address to the disciples after the last supper he put the question, JOH 14:22-25
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, Lord, what then has happened that You will disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?
Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the word you hear is not Mine, but the Fathers who sent Me.
He seems to have been a follower who needed to fall in love with his Lord.
Summary Characteristics of Saint Jude
St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less and a relative of Our Saviour. He was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, and his attribute is a club. Images of St. Jude often include a flame around his head, which represents his presence at Pentecost when he accepted the Holy Spirit alongside the other apostles. Another attribute is St. Jude holding an image of Christ in the Image of Edessa.
Sometimes he can also be seen holding a carpenter’s ruler or is depicted with a scroll or book, the Epistle of Jude.
Biblical scholars agree St. Jude was a son of Clopas, and his mother Mary was the Virgin Mary’s cousin. Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62 and assisted his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.
Resources Characteristics of Saint Jude