As we remember St. Simon and St. Jude today, we read about them in an excerpt from Celebrating the Saints.
1 Peter 1:3–9
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Simon and Jude were apostles who later journeyed together to proclaim the Gospel in new lands. They were also martyred for their faith. We thank God for keeping them firm in their faith until the very end, and for using them in their earthly lives to tell so many people of His love.
Whenever the twelve apostles are listed, Judas Iscariot is listed last. Immediately before him are Simon the Zealot and Jude (or Judas, son of James), apparently also called Thaddeus.
The New Testament itself records little about these men other than their names as being among the Twelve and therefore witnesses to much of our Lord’s ministry and, above all, the events of Holy Week and Easter. They would have eaten the Supper with their Master and heard the farewell discourse on Holy Thursday, during which John records Jude asking a question of the Lord (John 14:22). They would have accompanied Christ to the garden and then run away following His arrest. They would have been in the Upper Room on Easter evening when the Lord first appeared to the gathered apostles, and likewise the following week when He revealed Himself again to beckon Thomas from his unbelief. They would have witnessed the Ascension of their Lord. They participated in the election of Matthias to complete their number. They were present at the miracle of Pentecost when the risen Lord poured out His Spirit upon them and they proclaimed the praises of God in languages they had never learned. They were arrested when the high priest sought to silence all the apostles, but they were released from prison by an angel who instructed them, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life” (Acts 5:17–21).
According to the tradition of the Church, after the dispersion of the apostles, Saints Simon and Jude traveled together as far as Persia, bringing the message of salvation to any who would hear. While there, both suffered martyrdom for the holy name of Jesus.
The symbol the Church employs for St. Simon is a fish on top of a book. This reminds us that he went forth as a fisher of men, proclaiming the Good News of Christ from the divine Word.
The symbol of St. Jude, or Thaddeus, in the Church is a ship with the wind filling its sail and upon the sail the sign of the holy cross. This is a reminder of the great distances that Jude traveled with his friend St. Simon, filled with the Holy Spirit, to bring the Good News of salvation and gather heathen into the saving ark of the Christian Church.
Surely it was a comfort to these two, as they faced death, to recall the gracious promise they had heard from the Lord’s lips on the night of His betrayal: “I go to prepare a place for you.”
Almighty God, You chose Your servants Simon and Jude to be numbered among the glorious company of the apostles. As they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from Celebrating the Saints, pages 196–97 © 2016 William C. Weedon. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.