Luke 6:15

ESV and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot,
NIV Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot,
NASB and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot;
CSB Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot;
NLT Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot),
KJV Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

What does Luke 6:15 mean?

Having introduced the first six men Jesus called, Luke continues the list. Here, Luke uses "Matthew" where before he called the tax collector "Levi" (Luke 5:27). We know it's the same person because Matthew 9:9–13 gives the same details for Matthew that Luke 5:27–32 does for Levi. It's possible Matthew is from the tribe of the Levites. There's no indication as to why Luke changes what he calls Matthew.

Thomas, of course, is best known for disbelieving the disciples when they told him Jesus had risen from the dead (John 20:24–29). Considering the disciples didn't believe Mary Magdalene and the other women, Thomas is criticized too harshly. He also showed loyalty and courage when Jesus decided to return to the Jerusalem area despite the danger; Thomas responded, "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). "Thomas" is from the Aramaic for "twin;" John uses "Didymus," the Greek for "twin." The church in India claims Thomas brought the gospel to the sub-continent. Despite the name, Thomas is not the author of the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas.

We know even less about James the son of Alphaeus. Levi/Matthew is also identified as the "son of Alphaeus" (Mark 2:14), although the two aren't otherwise connected in the Gospels. Others identify him with "James the younger" although that James' father's name seems to be Clopas (Mark 15:40; John 19:25).

Nor do we know much about Simon. Zealots were a nationalistic political party that believed resisting Roman influence was an essential expression of devotion to God. The term is related to the Hebrew word used to describe God as a jealous God who does not accept divided allegiances (Exodus 20:5). The King James Version uses zelotes, the Latin form. But history is not clear as to when the Zealots consolidated as a party; Simon may have just been a strong nationalist. Conversely, as a tax collector Matthew collected money from Jews for the Roman government. The fact that the two are both apostles is a testament to the unifying peace Jesus brings.
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