Summary: The Apostle James the Zealot was characterized by zealousness. This also should be the characteristic of our lives.

The 12 Apostles

Week 11

Simon the “Freedom Fighter”


“To arms, to arms... the war’s begun! They’re heading toward Concord!” Paul Revere’s voice could be heard even above the sound of the horses hooves beating the ground. The year was 1775 and the british were approaching with great numbers of troops. Sending volley after volley of shots into the air aimed at the Minutemen. Paul’s group of men were just ordinary farmers, bankers, fishermen, tradesmen... who had been trained to go to war within a minute. Thus they were called minutemen. They were always ready to protect their families, homes, land, country and faith against any force which would attempt to place them under British bondage. The Minutemen were vastly outnumbered, but on that day the 19th of April, these ordinary volunteers scurrying through the bushes and brush continued their assault on the enemy until they had driven back the british from taking Concord. These Minutemen were courageous, faithful, willing, and able. They were faithful to their country and zealous for their religious freedom. (The End)

When we study the Bible we also find a group of individuals, volunteers who were always ready in a moment’s notice to defend their faith and fight for the freedom of their country.

They were the Zealots.

In about 6 AD a Jewish man called “Judas the Galilean” assembled a group of men to fight against Rome’s heavy taxation of the Jews. It was at this time that they led a bloody revolt against the Romans, the affects of which could be felt for the next 60 years.

You see, both groups (the Minutemen and the Zealots) were volunteers who were ready at any given moment to press back the enemy of their freedom. They were courageous, contagious and they were zealous.

Interestingly, that as we look at our next Apostle we find each of the three synoptic gospel writers characterize him in this very same way.

Matthew 10:4

4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mark 3:18

18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot

Luke 6:15

15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot,

also in Acts 1:13

13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.

The term Zeal means “to have an eager and earnest desire for something.”

Zeal for a principle, a nation, or for God.

The bible tells us that we should be zealous in our relationship with God.

Romans 12:9-11

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Titus 2:11-15

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.

12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God,

13 while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.

15 You must teach these things and encourage your people to do them, correcting them when necessary. You have the authority to do this, so don’t let anyone ignore you or disregard what you say.

Titus 3:8

8 These things I have told you are all true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone.

Hebrews 10:24

24 Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.

I think that it’s obvious that God wants us to become zealous in our Faith.

And this is the characteristic, this is the predominant trait that stood out in Simon’s life.

He was zealous... he was a freedom fighter. Another way of saying this would be: He refused to be under the control or in bondage to the enemy. In that day it was Rome... who is it or what is it today!!!

Is it familiarity that places us in bondage to change? Maybe it’s Financial concerns? Could it be the past? Or possibly worry about the future? Is it some perpetual sin that keeps you in it’s bondage, instead of experiencing freedom in Christ?

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