Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Simon the Zealot

My pastor, David Pitman, recently preached about Simon Zelotes (mentioned in Acts 1:13), an apostle in the early church. This title identifies Simon as having formerly been a part of the Zealots, a Jewish political faction most famous for acts of terror against the Roman occupation forces and for defending the remote fortress of Masada. Simon, a disciple of Jesus Christ, was a terrorist! Of course, he left this life behind him after Jesus called him, just as the other disciples left fishing and tax collecting.

This bears directly on our view of terrorists today. It's easy to read the headlines and forget that terrorists might also come to know the Lord as Savior. Indeed, such a thing seems unlikely. After all, Simon was at least a Jew and, as such, would have been expecting a Messiah. Muslims possess no such predisposition. They seek only to "convert," enslave or kill all infidels on the face of the earth. From a human standpoint, this appears to be an insurmountable wall. Yet, it is God who brings salvation to the hearts of men, and with God all things are possible.

Ultimately, the only answer to the current political crisis of militant Islam is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some might call this assessment "simplistic." A look at history will press my point. What overturned British tyranny in the American colonies? Military force, yes...but the real battle was fought ideologically, in the hearts of patriots. Freedom beat tyranny. What about our victory over the Nazis? Freedom triumphed over the hatred of a madman. Look even to the collapse of Soviet Russia. Freedom outlasted the bankruptcy of communism. Freedom always wins. It springs from the idea that our rights come not from any human institution, but rather, from God Almighty. And how can men truly know God apart from His Son, Jesus Christ?

The hope for Muslim nations, enthralled by hate, is the same hope that fell upon Simon. It is the only hope for our great nation today and for all the world. We must give our all to plant the gospel truth into the hearts and minds of both those who would destroy us and those who strive to defend us. The love of Christ can save our nation and all others besides. Let us celebrate this Fourth of July by reclaiming the greatest American dream: to spread hope and freedom to all corners of the globe.


todd said...

Indeed! It is Jesus after all that came to save from sin – and in any form (vengeful actions, greedy compromises, zealous anger and more and so on). In fact for all the multiple permutations and combinations of sin that we see there has always been only one way to receive reconciliation with God and that’s through His son. It works that way for the rich, the poor, the religious, the American, the Iranian, and the terrorist. Unlikely for a terrorist? no more than with me (a reasonably non-threatening sinner) I would think.

One distinction however, according to the Bible, is that Jesus isn’t an idea. He’s an absolute. In fact all of mankind’s attempts to “dress up Jesus like _____” have done a lot of nasty work in obscuring/confusing the way to receive Him (and His power to save). You can’t just believe what you want about Him, you’ll have to meet Him and learn from the word of God.

Philip said...

Right on!

Gail said...

hey this is not related to this post,
you didn't have Ron Paul on your list of candidates for republicans ya bum !

Philip said...

I put "other" as a choice. I'm not sure you Ron Paul zealots need any more encouragement!