It’s really interesting to think about some of the people that Jesus chose as his disciples.
There was a larger group that followed Jesus around who are also called disciples, but I’m thinking here about ‘the twelve.’
And I’m thinking about how different they probably were from one another.
One of Jesus’ disciples was known as ‘Simon the Zealot.’ (Luke 6:15)
It’s really interesting that he would continue to be called that. Around the time of Jesus, Zealots were among those who were ready to take up the sword to fight for what they believed was right – often using violence when they considered it appropriate. Usually that fight involved getting rid of the occupying Roman army.
Armed resistance was not the way of Jesus (see Matthew 26:52) and yet this Simon (possibly named in part to differentiate him from Simon Peter?) continued to be known not by his father’s name nor by the town he was from but the fact that he was a zealot.
It makes we wonder: did the zealot impulse continue in him even after being discipled by Jesus into an understanding of his kind of kingdom?
What does a zealot who has been trained for the Kingdom fo God look like?
I suspect that passionate, committed, action oriented response continued to be part of who he was, even if his passions shifted under apprenticeship to Jesus.
There are Christians today who remind me of zealots. They are passionate. That passion is good – and it’s powerful when directed toward the kingdom.
The main point is this: discipleship to Jesus isn’t necessarily a one size fits all thing. Jesus meets each of us where we are at and calls us to follow him.
Peter wasn’t involved with the Zealot movement that we know of, but he showed some of those same impulses.
So Did James and John, the ‘sons of thunder.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”Luke 9:54
Matthew was in some ways probably the opposite of both Simons and maybe the sons of thunder as well. He was seen to be a sellout to the Romans – collecting taxes for them from his own people.
Jesus called him as well.
What’s more, he called Simon Peter and Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector to be amongst the closest of brothers – living and traveling together following Jesus.
Jesus also called Pharisees – like Paul.
He calls us all to follow him – with all of our personality and preferences and impulses.
I’m not sure how much of each person’s impulses remained after they were ‘fully trained’ disciples, but they sure had their differences along the way.
So, when we think about ourselves… As you think about yourself?
Which disciple(s) do you relate most to personally?
What are your impulses?
What is the biggest thing God has been working on with your unique background, impulses and personality?
And, how is or will God use your personality, matured as his disciple, for his kingdom purposes?
We are all different. We all have a part to play in God’s kingdom.
But he needs the mature, discipled version of us.