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Jesus Justus

JESUS JUSTUS

je'-zus jus'-tus Iesous ho legomenos Ioustos, "Jesus that is called Justus," Colossians 4:11):

1. A Jew by Birth:

One of three friends of Paul--the others being Aristarchus and Mark--whom he associates with himself in sending salutations from Rome to the church at Colosse. Jesus Justus is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, and there is nothing more known about him than is given in this passage in Colossians, namely, that he was by birth a Jew--"of the circumcision"--that he had been converted to Christ, and that he was one of the inner circle of intimate friends and associates of the apostle during his first Roman captivity.

2. He Remains True to Paul:

The words also contain the information that at a stage in Paul's imprisonment, when the welcome extended to him by the Christians in Rome on his arrival there had lost its first warmth, and when in consequence, probably, of their fear of persecution, most of them had proved untrue and were holding aloof from him, J. J. and his two friends remained faithful. It would be pressing this passage unduly to make it mean that out of the large number--hundreds, or perhaps even one or two thousands--who composed the membership of the church in Rome at this time, and who within the next few years proved their loyalty to Christ by their stedfastness unto death in the Neronic persecution, all fell away from their affectionate allegiance to Paul at this difficult time. The words cannot be made to signify more than that it was the Jewish section of the church in Rome which acted in this unworthy manner--only temporarily, it is to be hoped. But among these Jewish Christians, to such dimensions had this defection grown that Aristarchus, Mark and J. J. alone were the apostle's fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God. These three alone, at that particular time--from among the Jewish Christians--were helping him in the work of the gospel in Rome. That this defection refers to the Jewish section of the church and not to the converts from among the Gentiles, is evident from many considerations. It seems to be proved, for example by verse 14 of the same chapter (i.e. Colossians 4:14), as well as by Philemon 1:24, in both of which passages Paul names Demas and Luke as his fellow-laborers; and Luke was not a Jew by birth. But in the general failure of the Christians in Rome in their conduct toward Paul, it is with much affection and pathos that he writes concerning Aristarchus, Mark, and J. J., "These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, men that have been a comfort unto me."

John Rutherfurd


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'JESUS JUSTUS'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.