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Friend against friend, name calling, physical assaults, riots and etc etc all due to disagreement on political ideas.

Is this new to the world?  NO!  Even in the disciples of Jesus there was political dissension, but.... the problem was not their politics, it was SIN! The answer to sin is REPENTANCE!

The political dissenters included one called SIMON THE ZEALOT!

Luke 6:15

"Simon who was called the Zealot..."
Matthew 10:4
"Simon the Canaanaean..."

One disciple that is seldom talked about was called:

"Simon the Zealot," or "Simon the Canaanaean".

"Simon, the Canaanaean" comes from, Simon Kananaios, meaning "Simon, the Jealous or Zealous One."  It is incorrectly translated "Canaanite' in Matthew 10:4, and in Mark 3:18.  The word "kananaios" did not refer to a geographical reference, but was a political designation. The term has no connection with "Canaan" which was an alternative word for "Palestine." Nor does it have anything to do with the city called "Cana". 

"Kananaios" is derived from the Hebrew word meaning "to be ardent or zealous." It is the Hebrew equivalent for the Greek word that Luke uses, "zelotes".  In Luke 6:15, and in Acts 1:13, the word "zelotes", or "zealot" is used.

The Zealots were a faction headed by Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37, Luke 2:1-2) who bitterly opposed the increased taxation of Rome, and encouraged the use of the sword to hasten the Messianic prophecy. Quirinius had raised the taxes upon the Jewish people so much that these over-burdened people wanted to hasten the coming of the Messiah, so that they could be delivered from Roman oppression.  They armed themselves, and were not only ready to expel the Romans, but thought if they began to expel these Romans by way of covert, terrorist actions, the Messiah would come to help finish the work for them.

Being students of the many prophetic Scriptures, they knew that the coming of the Messiah was very near. The rumors of the wise men, Simeon's prophecy, and Anna's sermons had encouraged their anticipation. When John the Baptist began to announce the coming of the "Lamb of God", they followed him, listening, watching, and awaiting his pronouncement of the One Who had so long been prophesied.

The Zealots existed since the time of the Maccabaeans.  This political party of Jewish extremists professed great zeal for the observance of the law.  They resorted to violence and assassination in their  hatred for foreign control of their nation. 

Simon belonged to this group of political zealots before he became a disciple. Many today are involved in politics.  This, in itself, is good, but some see politics as the answer to the nation's troubles. Simon saw the Romans as the problem. The Romans were evil, idolatrous, murderous, oppressors.  Yet, SIN was the problem, not the political situation.

Some today hate democrats, or republican, but, even if your choice of political party won, and one hated lost so badly as to be entirely out of power, SIN WOULD STILL BE RAMPANT!  Sin would still rule the hearts of many, and sin would keep the world in crisis, turmoil, and trouble.

This is not to say that Christian disciples of today should stay out of politics.  Disciples of all ages should support Christian principles, vote for godly men, stand up for morality, oppose oppression, abortion, euthanasia and tyranny.

Yet, remember the answer is not political party, but a revival of all the people to God.

According to the "Gospel of the Ebionites" or the "Gospel of the Twelve Apostles", Simon received his call to apostleship when Andrew, Peter, James, and John, Thaddaeus, and Judas Ischariot were called as they were by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias) (Matthew 4:18-22). 

This apostle called Simon was a Galilean.  The most ancient records of the early church tell us that he was the son of Clopas.  In fact, it was Hegessippus, as quoted by Eusebius, that tells us that Simon the Zealot was the son of the one called Clopas in the Bible. As already noted, Clopas was also referred to in the Bible as Alphaeus. Therefore, James, the son of Alphaeus was the brother of Simon the Zealot.  This is not as startling as the fact that Matthew was also the son of Alphaeus. 

Matthew and Simon were brothers.

One aided the Romans by collecting the taxes for them from the Jewish people of Capernaum, and the other (Simon) so hated this taxation that he had taken up the sword to try to kill those who so taxed his people. One hated the Romans, the other assisted the Romans.

Both brothers decided to follow Jesus.  They hated one another, and yet Jesus called them both.  Simon had probably hated his brother so much that he would have willingly killed him. Some in the church congregations of today have hatred for a brother or sister in Christ. Yet, by the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all in one accord. When the Spirit arrived, the Lord's teaching and example had evaporated the bitterness, the hatred, the ill will that had so long marked these two siblings.

Jesus had shown love for both, and had demonstrated to His disciples that love was the real test of true discipleship.  Matthew and Simon had somewhere found reconciliation. Both had to change.

Matthew had to give up his love for money, and be willing to leave all that desire to serve "mammon".

Simon had to re-direct his zeal, away from hatred and desire for physical gain via the extermination or expelling of the Romans, to a desire to follow a Messiah Who was more concerned with spiritual change than political change.

When Jesus met this Simon, he was a patriot. He loved his nation so much that under Judas of Samala, they banded together to attempt to deliver Judah from the Romans. They hated Romans, and were anxious to use swords, daggers, poison, whatever. These Zealots refused to compromise.
Simon's patriotism made him vehement in desire to liberate Israel from Rome. The Zealots expected the Messiah to come if they would only begin the war to expel the Romans.  They saw the problem as "Rome", and Simon agreed, until he met Jesus who showed him that the problem was "SIN".

Not a single word is recorded in the Bible about what this Simon said. Likely, this is due to the fact that until the very end, Simon had questions about what kind of kingdom this Jesus was seeking. On the day of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem riding upon the donkey, Simon likely felt vindicated and ready for the war to expel the Romans. Then Jesus took on the sin of the money changers in the temple, rather than the Romans. His faith and concepts shaken, he then watched Jesus sit upon a rock overlooking Jerusalem and weep over the sins of the people.

Simon thought the miracles and sermons of Jesus were simply designed to build a political base of support. So Simon had waited and waited, to hopefully see Jesus take His converts to overthrow the Romans.  Jesus kept ignoring politics and attacked sin. Jesus demonstrated that the way to God was not through political power.

Shaken, shocked, astounded, and stunned when Jesus did not take political advantage by the events of the triumphal entry, Simon began to hang on every word of Jesus as He prepared for the Passover. He listened as Jesus prepared the disciples for His departure, not for His enthronement. With consternation, Simon found his zeal re-directed.

Simon was a man with enthusiasm, zeal, burning emotion, earnest devotion, and fiery-unquenchable enthusiasm, who finally relinquished his misconceptions. Christ had led disciples who were more perfect, but none who were more zealous.

Peter was impetuous.
John was quiet and contemplative.
Andrew was humble.
Nathanael was prayerful.
Matthew was a careful note-taker.

Yet, Simon was relentless in awaiting for Jesus to fulfil the goal that he had so wanted to see. Jesus was holy and untiring in His zeal, as He approached His goal of providing salvation for sinful mankind. Simon noticed this zeal of the Lord and felt somewhat justified in his zeal.

Paul had been zealous as a Pharisee, and still was zealous as a saint of Jesus. Paul’s zeal had to be re-directed. Simon, likewise had boundless, tireless zeal. Simon's zeal was like that of Jesus, and of Paul, but Jesus needed to re-direct, re-aim, re-focus, and steer this zeal of Simon to the gospel revelation, and not to the desire for money, power, and prestige sought by the Zealots.

Many within congregations, many of today’s ministers are zealous. Zeal is a trait we find in most people, but often it is misdirected zeal, or zeal for the mundane, rather than for the Lord’s plan.

There are:
 sports fans who can scream, yet, sit in cold and rainy weather to watch their football team bang heads with another football team...
 shoppers who will drive out dollars in gasoline to find a trinket at a yard sale...
  political converts who debate vociferously on why their candidate is preferable to another's choice...
  attenders of amusement parks who will stand in line for hours for a two minute ride...
 bowlers and golfers who will put all other concerns aside to make sure they do not miss their weekly event...
  stock market dabblers, and business people who will spare nothing which would make them miss their opportunity to make a dollar...

These people are eager, enthusiastic, earnest and consumed by their zeal. The church congregations are filled with such zealous Simon's.  The congregations need zealous people. The congregations and the ministries need to re-direct their zeal, and take their faith more seriously. Revival would be kindled and constant, if people wanted it as badly as they wanted their other goals. Prayer warriors would never give up till victory if they had the zeal of a Simon.

There are many Christian disciples of today  who work incessantly, tirelessly against some political party which they feel is sinful, and likely rightfully feel thus. Simon was correct in the evil of the Romans of that day, but had he succeeded in expelling the Romans from the scene of that day, the Jewish religious leaders would still have had Jesus killed. The only difference would have been the method of murder, for the Jews would have stoned Jesus, but the Romans had Him crucified. 

Politics was not the problem... SIN WAS...!

Today, one political party wants to tax more and more.  The other wants to cut governmental spending. Whichever way is successful, the SIN OF MANKIND WILL KEEP MANY FROM FINDING JESUS AND HEAVEN.  Sin is the problem, not politics.

Jesus re-directed the zeal of Simon. Jesus can change people. The Lord has promised to someday make the wolf to lie down with the lamb.

In the lion's den, Daniel rested with the hungry lions, who had been changed in nature while Daniel was with them.

In the fiery furnace, flames could cease to be harmful to the Lord's children.

John could change from one of the  "sons of thunder" to the "apostle of love."

Peter could change from the changeable, wavering, and vacillating disciple to the pillar of unchangeable strength.

Jesus can change people. If  you need to change, we need to get near to Jesus. This zealot, named Simon, changed so much that instead of seeking to overthrow the Romans, he took over the job as bishop of the Jerusalem church after the death of James. He had gained the respect of the other disciples, and of the saints in the congregation of Jerusalem.

Simon led the Christians out of the city of Jerusalem to the mountains to avoid death when the Romans attacked the city in 70 A.D.  Instead of encouraging rebellion, war, revolt and insurrection, he was caring about souls.  He led them to a hideaway, and longed to see the return of the Messiah of love.

The disciple who had once longed to kill Romans, now sought to simply save the saints from the anger of the same Romans. The sword was gone from his hand, the bitterness was gone from his heart. Gone was the hatred, the hostility, the anger. In its place was the loving nature of a shepherd. He had become like unto his Savior. He had become a "Christ-like one."

Unfortunately, many in congregations today, have not changed from their mis-directed, mis-guided devotion. They seek revenge, they seek financial prosperity, they seek power and prestige, they seek earthly security, they seek fame and recognition, and forget to get near to the Lord Jesus and have their zeal re-directed! 

Jesus took twelve fault-filled men, and taught them, walked with them, and changed them.  Too many saints of today resign themselves to be UNCHANGEABLE.  Jesus wants to change you, re-direct you, and to bless you with His nature! 


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