Referencing Recent Events in Luke 13

Luke 13:1-5 is an interesting passage, it refers to an event and disaster that are not recorded in the other gospels.

1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

In verses 1-3 there is reference to sacrifices mixed with the blood of some Galileans. Barnes and Gill both indicate in their commentaries that it is likely that Pilate killed them while they were offering sacrifices, resulting in the mingling of blood.

In verses 4 and 5, Jesus refers to a tower in Siloam, which I assume at the time had recently fallen and killed 18 people.

There doesn’t seem to be much known about what happened, I just find these two references interesting because Jesus most often uses parables to make a teaching point, but here he has used two recent events, the first brought up by people asking a question and the second to emphasis the point.

Bartholomew and Thaddaeus

I’ve just been looking at these two disciples, because you never hear about them!

The only references to them are:

Matthew 10:3

2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mark 3:18

16These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Luke 6:14

13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Acts 1:13

13When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

So who are Bartholomew and Thaddaeus?

I’ve been trying to find out more about them. There isn’t much, but there are a few interesting things.

There is another disciple of note in Luke 6:14 and Acts 1:13, and that is Judas son of James. This is a different Judas to Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

According to Barnes commentary, Judas is Thaddaeus. Gill sheds a bit more light on this indicating that Thaddaeus is thought to be a deflexion of Jude, or Judas.

If this is the case, then it is interesting to note Jude 1:1.

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:

If you look at it in the Greek, the first word, Jude, is the Hebrew word used for “Judas”, “Juda” and “Jude”. So it seems entirely plausible that Thaddaeus is indeed a deflexion of this word.

Gill suggests that Thaddaeus is the Jude that wrote the book of Jude. It seems a little odd to me that where Luke has referred to Jude as the son of James in both the books of Luke and Acts, Jude himself indicates that he is the brother of James, not the son of James.

It does to some degree make sense as the congregations were referring to members as brothers and sisters in God. So while James may have been his father, he would also be his brother in Christ.

As for Bartholomew. I haven’t actually been able to find anything else on him thus far!