Summary: Sometimes we might find ourselves wondering why Jesus picked us as His disciples. When we look at Simon the Zealot we see that Jesus does not choose us according to what we can give, He chooses us because of His incredible grace.
Simon the Zealot – a redirected religious fanatic
Currently Australia is in the middle of The Master Chef phenomena. In this TV show people with great cooking skills, but who are not professional chef’s, compete against each other to make certain meals and meet various challenges. The competition is very high pressure and there needs to be a great level of skill.
Now imagine if I went on the show – and cook my speciality ... bacon and eggs on toast ... and I actually won. Everyone would be saying why in the world would they pick Allan?
Sometimes I also find myself asking the same question about my place in God’s family.
Why did God pick me?
Why did God pick you?
Why does He pick anyone?
Do you sometimes wonder?
Let’s keep that question in mind as we focus on the next disciple in our series. Here is the list of disciples from Matthew 10:2-4
These 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; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
The disciple we are going to focus on is
Simon the Zealot
Like a couple of people in the list we don’t know much about him.
We do know it’s not Simon who is called Peter.
We find his name listed, along with the other disciples, four times in the Scriptures.
We know he was a Zealot.
There is not one word recorded in the Bible that is spoken by this Simon. There is not one deed that he alone did which was important enough to make the pages of the Scriptures. Yet we know he is an important disciple. How do we know?
Luke 6:12-13 tells us that before Jesus decided who was going to be His disciples Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles. Jesus didn’t randomly choose the disciples. Jesus brought this important issue before the Father in prayer, and together they came to a conclusion.
When it came time to announce the decision Jesus made it very clear that these people were handpicked. Mark 3:13-14 says Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach. The appointing didn’t just happen by accident. Nor was it the result of choosing from a few left overs. Out of many who were following at the time these were the ones who would come on the journey of discipleship. Each disciple was divinely appointed and hand-picked.
Each disciple was divinely appointed and hand-picked. That is a great truth to know. That’s a truth which should get us excited. Because we are disciples. We are divinely appointed. We are hand-picked to come on the journey.
With all our short-comings.
With all our character flaws.
With all our good-intentions that turn to vapour.
With all our desires to be faithful … only to flounder.
With all our sin, guilt and shame.
With all that … we are still chosen.
And that makes a huge difference on the way we should see life.
When I was in grade 7 we had a teacher who always made us pick teams. As is often the case at that time there were always certain people were picked last. One time I was allowed to be the captain and pick. So I decided to do something different and I pick first the people who were always picked last. The great thing about it though was that our team won. Because these people were given a chance and they stepped up.
Our western society teaches us to compare ourselves with others and to make an assessment of ourselves on the basis of what others are doing. There are people around us, both in the church community and the not-yet-believing community, who seem so much more worthy.
They have more leadership skill then we do.
They are able to make wise decisions.
Their marriages and family life seem to be great.
They have more financial means then us.
We look … we compare … “What have we got that Jesus needs?”
If we ever get to that point we need to realise that we are asking the wrong questions. Here is God’s perspective on the issue. He is telling the Israelites why He chose them.
For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession. The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)