This week I want to talk about Simon and Thomas. The more I study the disciples, the more I realize the mysteries that surround them and the more questions I can’t wait to have answered when I get to meet Christ face to face.
The fact that I listed him here means you now know as much about Simon as I do. There is very little in the Bible about Simon. He did have 2 nicknames, Zelotes and Canaanite. All we can gather from those two names is that Simon was part of the Zealot party and was a Canaanite. He is mentioned only a few times in the Bible and only as part of a list, never with any back story.
But I would like to speak a little about Zelotes, or Zealot. The Zealots were a fanatical party that significantly opposed Rome. They were not fond of Jewish Roman sympathizers, which makes Simon working together with Matthew, a Jewish Roman sympathizer, so interesting. This shows that Jesus chooses people from all walks of life, wherever they are.
One other strange thing about the Zealots is that they typically sided with the Pharisees, whom Jesus typically was at odds with. Zealots had a history of passion. They were passionate about upholding the commandments in the Torah, especially those which dealt with idolatry.
One of the most famous groups of Zealots were the Sicarii. They were a violent group of Zealots that tried to expel the Roman government and any sympathizers. There is no indication that Simon was a member of the Sicarii, but if he indeed was a Zealot, he would have had a very passionate and legalistic view of the commandments
Other than that, we know nothing. There is also very little tradition about him. The only tradition holds that he preached in Egypt and was martyred there.
Thomas is the last of the original twelve that I will discuss. Everyone knows Thomas as “Doubting Thomas” because of doubting whether it was really Christ in front of him. He is really known as Thomas Didymus.
Thomas was pessimistic yet loyal. In John 11:16 we see Thomas say,
John 11:16 – Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
There are only 3 real references to Thomas in the gospels. The first comes when Jesus was traveling out of town and Thomas joined Him. Next we see Thomas in the upper room where he asked Jesus how to get to the place where Jesus is going to prepare for us. This is where Jesus says the very popular phrase,
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Of course, we know that by God’s grace we have access to the eternal, Almighty God.
Thomas’ final appearance is seen after Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus joined the disciples (minus Thomas) in the upper room. Later they told Thomas what they saw and Thomas didn’t believe them. A week later, as the believers were hiding in the upper room again, that Jesus appeared and proved Himself to Thomas.
Tradition offers that Thomas went to Persia and died a martyr.
What Thomas teaches us is that as we struggle with seeing God in our daily walk in life, God will show up in our lives to show us He is there.
So which disciple are you most like? I find that I associate best with Philip. Philip was able to reason, as he was the one who figured out how much it would cost to feed the 5,000. I also associate with Philip in that he would go into groups of people that would most likely be written off and share Jesus with them. In his day, it was the Gentile crowd. I enjoy seeing Christ shared in groups of people who would never hear about Him.
So how about you?
Leave a comment and tell me what you chose.