Matthew 10:4 – “Simon (the zealot)”
After talking about personality and political passion we now come to:
- People Passion
As we discover what really changes people’s hearts, we discover what lets people walk and work together. Simon reminds us that the disciples were not a cookie cutter bunch all cut from the same cloth, these were very different men from very different backgrounds. So, the second lesson we see in Simon’s life is in contrast with who he was called to serve with and care for. Simon hated everything, and everyone associated with Rome, especially the taxes. Jesus calls him to join a group of men that has a former tax-collector for Rome in their midst. Matthews political views are the exact opposite of Simon’s. Simon is an anti-Rome, anti-government, anti-tax. Matthew is a pro-Rome, pro-tax, and yet here they are two very different men with very different political persuasions. I wonder what their conversation was like around the camp fire? What is surprising is that this group of disciples that Jesus called together didn’t implode or explode. That their political views didn’t become a thorn in their flesh. Why? Because again they realized that their political persuasion was not nearly as important as putting their faith in the Prince of Peace. There are some things more important than their personal views and they realized that. As a church we need to realize that as well. What is important is our identity in Christ, it’s not our politics but our position in Christ that is the glue that holds us together. While the Disciples were from different backgrounds, they came to have the same belief. Different ideologies but the same identity. When we follow the same Savior, we end up heading down the same road. Today we like the feel of being an individual, different and separate from the pack, yet when we are following Jesus we can come together and work together not because we see everything the same but because we all see the same Savior. Unity is not uniformity,we aren’t all meant to be alike in every way.We are a diverse people, God loves variety and has created us to be different and yet to be unified.So, our goal must be to have unity in the midst of diversity.That means that in the church, we have the freedom to be unique, but not the freedom to be divided. To work with nor war against our spiritual siblings. Sadly, today we want to be defined by who we are instead of Whose we are. It’s not about our independence as a culture but our identity in Christ. God calls very different people to follow and serve the same Savior. Lastly we see a:
- Passion for Preaching
Imagine the shock he experienced when Jesus was asked about paying taxes and He answers by saying, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Or, how about this man who believed that it was only the edge of the sword that the Romans would heed and understand, but one day he hears Jesus say, “All who take up the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Simon and all those who believed as he did were anxious for the Kingdom of God to reign down and for the descendant of David to viciously expel the invaders. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of Heaven would not spread rapidly, but that it would work slowly, invisibly like yeast when He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three pecks (24 quarts) of meal, until it was all leavened.” What Simon came to know and understand was that there was a great and vital war to be fought, but that war was not a war of the flesh, but a war between the light and the darkness, between the truth and the lie, between God and evil, between the Savior and sin. Simon came to understand that our battle is not against flesh and blood and that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual. When Jesus one day said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”(Matthew 10:34). Simon surely believed that this indeed was the time when Israel would rise up and once again be a force to be reckoned with in the world. Only later did he come to realize that the sword Jesus referred to was the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and that wherever and whenever that Word was preached, there would be a battle engaged. The zeal and passion that Simon felt for his nation Jesus transformed into a zeal and a passion for the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. Isaiah 9:6 says “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” This may be the most familiar Old Testament prophecy about the birth of Christ. Unfortunately, we seem to pull this passage out of the box only during the holidays. It’s like one of the ornaments we use to decorate our house. But have you ever thought about the rich truth this single verse teaches concerning the King of kings? Though we still await the full realization of His kingdom, the promised Messiah is the greatest political ruler ever. Isaiah wrote this prophecy at least a hundred years before Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity and nearly 600 years before the birth of the Savior! Looking at a long line of failed monarchs, and sitting in the rubble of Israel’s monarchy, Isaiah looked across the centuries to a time when God would rule on earth through His Son. What kind of kingdom is it? What distinguishes the Messiah’s kingdom from the other kingdoms of this world?
- No Confusion—He Is a Wonderful Counselor
- No Chaos—He Is the Mighty God who in creation brought order out of chaos.
- Uncomplicated—He Is the Father of Eternity
- No Conflicts—He Is the Prince of Peace
Simon went from a revolutionist and political persuader to a preacher of peace and righteousness. We must be dedicated to doing the Father’s will. Our business is to be ambassadors who represent the will and character of God who stands at the head of the government. So, what are you zealous and passionate for, is it Jesus or something else?