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July 9, 2006

Simon the Zealot

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 2:56 pm

Simon the Zealot – The Unlikely Disciple*

 

Central Bible Truth: God wants His disciples to be zealous Focal Passage: Romans 12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.   

  • What is zeal?
    • Webster’s – Passionate ardor in the pursuit of anything; eagerness in any cause or behalf; earnestness; fervency; enthusiasm.
    • Webster’s definition of Zealot – One who is zealous or full of zeal; one carried away by excess of zeal; a fanatical partisan; one who belonged to the fanatical Judean group, A.D. 6-70, who were consistently opposed to and in rebellion against the Romans, especially in the matter of Roman domination and jurisdiction in Palestine.

Soul searching questions: 

       

     

  • Considering Romans 12:11 above, do you always display a zeal for the Gospel?
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  • What exactly would that look like? How would one act that was always displaying a zeal for the Gospel?
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  • Do you know of “anyone” that fits this description? (discuss….maybe some of the crowd does know someone….)

 


    

The Taliban was unheard of a few years ago, but quickly became a household name. They are religiously fanatical and very zealous. They make many laws and enforce them; they are a clear picture of zeal.

There was a group, somewhat like the Taliban, in Jesus’ day. The “Zealots” were religious and political revolutionaries. Simon, one of the Twelve, was a member of this group. He was an unlikely disciple, due to some of Christ’s teachings. We’ll look at what Christ taught Simon and the kind of zeal we should have.

There was a group, somewhat like the Taliban, in Jesus’ day. The ” were religious and political revolutionaries. Simon, one of the Twelve, was a member of this group. He was an unlikely disciple, due to some of Christ’s teachings. We’ll look at what Christ taught Simon and the kind of zeal we should have.TALIBAN TRIVIA: 

        

     

  • Taliban means “the students” in Arabic.
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  • They gained control of Afghanistan in 1996.
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  • They are zealous Muslims who wanted to force the strictest form of Islam onto the people in Afghanistan.
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  • They began the “Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” to make sure that the people are living correctly.
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  • They banned the following items: Television; movies; playing cards; lipstick; nail polish; computer disks; musical instruments; cassettes; chessboards; fireworks; statues; fashion catalogs, neckties.

 

 

QUESTIONS: 

QUESTIONS:  

QUESTIONS:  

        

     

  • What would be the hardest item on the list to give up?
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  • Discuss “why” some of the items might have been banned.

 

 

POINT to consider: The Taliban was zealous, but it was also wrong. It serves as an example of zeal focused on the wrong things. Simon the Zealot was similar to this – zealous for all the wrong things.

POINT: Simon is not mentioned often in scripture, but he is always referred to as a Zealot. What exactly does this simple fact tell us about him? (He was a radical with passion that Jesus used)

QUESTION: Why would someone like Simon have followed Jesus? What was it about Jesus that made him want to follow Him?

 

 

        

     

  • Simon, due to his revolutionary thinking, was an unlikely disciple. He might have been attracted to Jesus’ zeal or revolutionary thinking. However, some of the things that Jesus taught would have gone against the practices of the Zealots.

 

 

 

        

     

          

       

    • For example, Jesus taught about PEACE: John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.??? 

       

            

         

              

           

        • Another example that the Zealots would not have agreed with. Jesus taught about LOVING YOUR ENEMIES: Matt 5:44 (NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.??? 

           

                

             

                  

            • Another example that most definitely would have been a problem for the Zealots is Jesus taught about PAYING YOUR TAXES: Mark 12:17 (NIV) Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.??? 
                    

                 

              • Just your opinion: There’s no right or wrong answer with this….but knowing Simon’s revolutionary mindset…. “How do you think Simon responded to Christ’s teachings about the things above”?

               

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              Zeal based in knowledge

               

              Romans 10:2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.Paul was talking about the Zealous people and how they had rejected Christ as the Messiah. They were zealous, but they were wrong! Do we know people (or groups) like that today, people who are zealous but wrong? (Taliban; Muslims; Mormons; Jehovah’s Witnesses; Christian Scientist; etc.)

              Zeal based in purpose

               

              Galatians 4:18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 

              It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.  

              It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.  In this scripture, this was another zealous group, but they denied some important Christian beliefs. It is foolish to be zealous for the wrong cause. 

              In this scripture, this was another zealous group, but they denied some important Christian beliefs. It is foolish to be zealous for the wrong cause. Is this scripture talking just about religious things, or can this scripture fit in other parts of our lives today?

              In this scripture, this was another zealous group, but they denied some important Christian beliefs. It is foolish to be zealous for the wrong cause. Is this scripture talking just about religious things, or can this scripture fit in other parts of our lives today?What kind of things are we “zealous” about today besides the Gospel (outside of the church)? (Our families; our jobs; our material things; our sports).

              So, if this scripture tells us that it is OK to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, how do we know “what is good” and “what isn’t good”?

               

                    

                 

              • If it disagrees with scripture, it’s bad
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              • If it somehow makes your brother stumble, then it’s bad
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              • Do you enjoy or love this thing more than God? That’s bad.
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              • Does this thing take your time away from God? That’s bad.
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              • Does it “enhance” God’s kingdom? It’s good then.
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              • Does it glorify God, if it does, it’s good then.

               

               

              Jesus wants zealous disciples, he called Simon the Zealot, refocused his zeal, and used him to impact the world. Acts 1:13 shows us that he stayed faithful to Christ after his ascension, proving the change Simon had.

              Acts 1:13 (NIV) 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.QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room).QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). 

              QUESTION for the group: Name something that “YOU” should be more zealous for (discuss around the room). 

                    

                 

              • Possible answers to discuss:
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                • Seeking the TRUTH in the Word
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                • Sharing your faith / witnessing
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                • Worship
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                • Missions

                 

                 

               

               

              OK, then, what keeps us from “getting there?” (discuss)

              QUESTION for the group: Name something that you feel that the Christian body, as a whole, should be more zealous for (discuss around the room).

               


                  

              ZEALOT History and Trivia:

               

                    

                 

              • Zealots were a political revolutionary group who opposed Roman rule, wanting Israel to have it’s own government.
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              • In A.D. 6 they led a revolt against the Roman census, since the census was used to determine taxes.
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              • They also led other revolts until Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 (64 years later).

               

               

               

                    

                 

              • In the New Testament there were four Jewish religious sects: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the Zealots.
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              • The Zealots were more politically natured than the other three.
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              • They wanted immediate political change by overthrowing the Roman control of Israel.
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              • Therefore, they were looking for a kingly, warrior messiah that would overthrow the Romans and create an earthly kingdom.

               

               

              Simon the Zealot – More Trivia

               

                

                

                

                    

                 

              • Not to be confused with Simon Peter
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              • This Simon was called the “Canaanite” and the “Zealot”.
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              • The only times he is mentioned is in the “Lists of Disciples”.

               

               

              Scripture Trivia

              Romans 12:11 “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ.

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ.Romans 10:2 Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy.

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ. Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy.Galatians 4:18 The churches in Galatia were facing what is knows as the “Judaizer Controversy.” The group, known as Judaizers, taught that Gentiles could only be saved by following Christ and obeying Jewish law. In effect, they taught that Christ was not enough. Paul was teaching the church that zeal must be based on a correct purpose or it is dangerous.

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ. Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy. The churches in Galatia were facing what is knows as the “Judaizer Controversy.” The group, known as Judaizers, taught that Gentiles could only be saved by following Christ and obeying Jewish law. In effect, they taught that Christ was not enough. Paul was teaching the church that zeal must be based on a correct purpose or it is dangerous. 

              “Never be lacing in zeal.” – There are NUMEROUS passages that warn us about doing things half-heartedly and with sloth. The biblical ideal is a passionate, excited, dedicated follower of Christ. Paul is speaking of a group of Jews that were confusing the Roman Christians. The Jews were still depending on obeying the law to be righteous and, as Christians, we believe that is not possible. It seems that the Christians were attracted to this group’s passion, but Paul was teaching that these passionate people could still be wrong. Unguided zeal can lead to a misunderstanding of the gospel and even heresy. The churches in Galatia were facing what is knows as the “Judaizer Controversy.” The group, known as Judaizers, taught that Gentiles could only be saved by following Christ and obeying Jewish law. In effect, they taught that Christ was not enough. Paul was teaching the church that zeal must be based on a correct purpose or it is dangerous. ?

              *Note:  Original text taken from “The Dirty Dozen” – A character study on the Twelve Disciples.  Other comments added by the author.

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