06-01-2014 The Disciples: The Zealots

We had a great day this week, opening up the Summer season here at First Covenant.  I’ll be honest, it always astounds me how the change of the seasons changes people’s patterns so dramatically -- they feel droopy once the snow falls in the Winter, and giddy once it melts away in the Spring... only to feel like they need to physically collapse once the Summer kicks in, and then overload themselves again in the Fall.  All because the world spins around the sun...

But the Summer is kicking into gear in full force here at FCC.  This weekend, we’ll be hosting our Annual Community Cookout, and everyone who’s receiving this Update is invited.  Not only will it be a good and fun time of fellowship for us as a church family, but it will also be an opportunity to share in the spiritual lives of our fellow FCCers, since we’ll also be taking the time to perform some baptisms and allow our brothers and sisters to share their testimonies about what God has been doing in their lives, and giving Him public praise for His work in changing them.  I encourage you to be involved in that praise by being here and supporting your church family.

Then, at the end of the month, we’ll be having a special work day to prepare for our annual Vacation Bible School.  Being a Christian was never intended to be reduced to crawling into a hole and worshipping God in controlled, solitary circumstances, but rather intended to be an opportunity to worship God by being part of a growing (albeit sometimes messy) community of faith -- and being used by God to be part of His work in drawing others into that community.  VBS is a perfect example of that messy, God-honoring outreach.

In our message this week, we began a new Summer series, looking at Christ’s twelve disciples.  Now, some of them are easier to do a character study on than others -- for instance, next week, we’ll be looking at Peter, and he’s got a lot of “screen time” in the Gospels... but this week, we looked at Simon (not Peter -- Simon the Zealot) and Judas (not Iscariot, but Judas Thaddeus), neither of which we have much information on.

But we do know that Simon was a Zealot -- an aggressive, militant, even terrorist-level sect of Judaism that radically opposed Rome.  And we know that Judas asked Jesus a question that made Christ feel like He should be reassuring and encouraging in response to.

So Simon came from a background that assumed that the Messiah should come with a fiery sword -- that the scary problems of this world should naturally breed aggression in us, so Jesus should just fix those problems.

And Judas at least seemed to be concerned that future ministry would be easier if the Messiah would share more openly with the rest of the world -- that the scary problems of this world should naturally breed anxiety in us, so Jesus should just fix those problems.

Of course, both Simon and Judas are coming from a similar foundation -- the unhealthy belief that God should just fix everything to make things more the way that we’d like them to be.  The healthier perspective would be to trust more in God’s character and less in His commitment to doing what we think that He should, to trust more in God’s sovereignty and less in our own aggressions or anxieties.  In short, to pray that Jesus fix the people of this world, rather than just its problems -- and that that “fixing” should start with people like you and me...