Summary: This is the 11th sermon in the "Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles" series.
Series: Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles [#11]
SIMON- IMPORTANTANCE OF CHRISTIAN ZEAL
The word “enthusiasm” in the Greek means “God within”. I love to see people zealous in the work of the Lord. People are attracted to people who get on fire for a cause. Simon was such a man. We know little about him other than his name. The New Testament calls him Simon the Canaanite and 2 other places call him Simon. He was called Zealot in all 4 places. The title Zealot tells us much about Simon. The Zealots were a group of hotheaded patriots. Their 1 goal was the deliverance of the Jewish Nation from the hated Roman yoke. They organized an underground movement and sabotaged every plan of the Romans that they could.
Matthew 10:4 (NIV)
4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Simon was zealous…
1. For his country.
The Zealots were actually founded by Judas of Gamala. He coined a slogan, “No God but Jehovah, no tax to the temple, no friend but a Zealot.” He gathered a large following of the youth of the land in about AD 7 and they fell upon isolated garrisons of Roman soldiers and took the lives of all they captured. Roman soldiers were dispatched at once to put down the rebellion. Within 60 days the strong arm of Rome had crushed all opposition and put their leader to death. His 4 sons continued guerrilla warfare until each of them fell in battle or took his own life to prevent capture by the Romans. 900 soldiers shut themselves up in one fortress and destroyed themselves by fire so the Romans would have only the ashes for the victory. They were zealous unto death for their cause.
We see an indirect message from the life of Simon. Simon’s love for his country was a noble thing. So, Jesus saw something good in the hot-blooded patriot. If he could harness Simon’s passionate zeal, put it on the right track, what a power Simon could become for God and righteousness.
Simon was zealous…
2. For Christ.
Why was this passionately patriotic Zealot attracted to Jesus? Was it not because Jesus showed evidence of being a revolutionary? Did He not call some of the leaders of His day “a generation of vipers”? Was He not fearless in His attack on the moneychangers in the temple? Did He not have strange powers over man? It could be that this powerful religious revolutionary, Jesus of Nazareth, was the man Simon was looking for.
So, we notice that Simon was transformed. His zeal for his country was transformed into zeal for his Lord. Brought under Christ’s daily companionship, we can easily understand how that ardent feeling that had flamed out in the revolt against Rome would have value for the unfolding of the Kingdom of Heaven. The transformation of Simon gives hope for us all. The most impossible person may become an instrument in the hands of God. Simon became zealous for Jesus.
We can be like Simon. We can enter into a religion of love and grace and power that will set us afire. Our Lord requires a loving zeal. Long years have passed since the Zealots lived; yet the principle that dominated them continues to operate in the modern world. Simon the Zealot was wiser than many Christians today. He did not try to change Jesus into a Zealot. Rather, he changed himself into a humble Apostle of the Lord.
Like Thaddeus, scholars believe that Simon died either crucified in Edessa; or was clubbed to death or killed with an ax.