January 17, 2013

January 17 – Luke 6:15

Simon was a member of one of the political parties in New Testament Israel—the Zealots. Four main quasi political/religious groups existed in these days. The Pharisees were very legalistic concerning the Law. The Sadducees sided with the Roman authorities in most cases. This was mainly due to their wealth—they had it and did not want to risk losing it along with the power it afforded. They were more liberal than the Pharisees in most cases. The Essenes, though not mentioned in the New Testament, were a group that lived in isolation near the Dead Sea. They meticulously studied Scripture and give us a glimpse of what life was like in the first century. Then you have the Zealots. They hated Rome, they hated the Herods, and their goal was to rid the world of all those who oppressed the Jews. They accomplished their work mainly through acts of violence.

Yet Jesus chose a Zealot as one of the twelve. Simon was a man who exhibited great loyalty and passion. When faced with a Messiah who did not choose a sword but a cross, Simon embraced Jesus. Though he vanishes from the pages of Scripture, other sources say Simon took the gospel north and was martyred for the cause of Christ.