Who Was David Zebedee and Why It Matters

by Jeffery Richards, Contributer

David Zebedee was the brother of John and James Zebedee, the two first Apostles of Jesus. And while Davids’ brothers were busy being ambassadors of the new kingdom, David busied himself by setting up a network of messengers who would carry news of Jesus of Nazareth throughout Judea. You might consider the Zebedee messengers as the worlds first Social Media network.

Throughout Jesus’ public preaching tour, David and his band of 50 messengers would carry news updates to the travelers near and far throughout Judea. Runners they were, publicly proclaiming not so much the Gospel that Jesus taught, but of the news of Jesus and his Apostles as newsworthy events unfolded, including the raising of Lazarus from death, the turning of water into wine at the Cana Wedding, the Leper’s miraculous cure, the curing of the blind man, and lastly, the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.

With each new passing event, the messengers would spread the news, bringing to the surrounding villages recitals of events of significance pertaining to this strange new teacher and all that transpired.

And then on that fateful Sunday morning when Jospeh’s Tomb was found empty by Mary Magdalene and her associates, and when David subsequently went to the tomb itself and saw that the Master’s body was gone, it was this same David, without approval, without authorization and without hesitation, had one final message to relay to citizens of Jerusalem. Said David:

Urantia Book, Paper 190:1, 5

“Men and brethren, all this time you have served me in accordance with your oath to me and to one another, and I call you to witness that I have never yet sent out false information at your hands. I am about to send you on your last mission as volunteer messengers of the kingdom, and in so doing I release you from your oaths and thereby disband the messenger corps. Men, I declare to you that we have finished our work. No more does the Master have need of mortal messengers; he has risen from the dead. He told us before they arrested him that he would die and rise again on the third day. I have seen the tomb—it is empty. I have talked with Mary Magdalene and four other women, who have talked with Jesus. I now disband you, bid you farewell, and send you on your respective assignments, and the message which you shall bear to the believers is: `Jesus has risen from the dead; the tomb is empty.'”

And so it transpired on that Day, April 9, AD 30, that Davids 26 remaining messengers delivered their final message.

Lost on the pages of history is this man of conviction, who, with no direction from anyone save his own certitude of the Masters’ promise to rise again on the third day, took it upon himself to herald the news of the resurrection.

The lesson here, and there are many, is that David needed no authority in proclaiming the truth; David Zebedee, with truth on his side, took it upon himself to deliver the good news to all who would hear. He didn’t ask God for permission. He didn’t seek guidance from his fellow man on what was the ‘right thing to do.’ David needed only to believe in the truth – and then proclaim it to the world.

I admire David Zebedee. Too bad his achievements didn’t make it into the pages of Scripture, but such as it is for the millions of people who dare to proclaim the truth without recognition.

This story matters because it serves as a reminder to all of us that when we once grasp truth about God, we only need to believe and proclaim.


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