Faithlife Sermons

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James, Simon and Judas
1 Corinthians 1:26-27, Matthew 28:16-20
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Ever wonder what kind of “mark” you are going to leave on this world upon your death?
Attempts to build a legacy that “outlasts” physical life comes in a variety of forms.
For some
this means acquiring great wealth in hopes that the inheritance they pass on will keep memories
of them fresh in the minds of their family.
For some building a legacy means getting one’s name
recorded in the history books so that future generations might read about the powerful positions
they acquired in their lifetime.
For others legacy means passing on their values of honor,
integrity and love to their family members.
And yet despite their best efforts, legacy tends to be
as short lived as the temporary things and people upon which it is focused!
The only way to get
a legacy that lasts beyond a few generations is to serve our eternal God! Today we are going to
continue the sermon series on the Twelve Apostles by examining the lives James the Less,
Simon the Zealot and Judas Son of James and conclude that while their feats for God are not
known their lives testify to three profound truths: serving God in obscurity is far better than
riches, fame or power, serving God is to be done with the right zeal and serving God to obtain an
eternal legacy means planting seeds of righteousness.
James the Less
There is very little that is known about the ninth name in Luke’s list of apostles (6:1416).
If he ever wrote anything it has been lost1 and any conversations he might have had with
Jesus have not been recorded in Scripture.2
He is not to be confused with James the son
of Zebedee who was a man of great
prominence or James the half brother of Jesus
who became the leader of the Jerusalem
church and wrote the book of James.
His
father was Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3; Mark
3:18) and his mother Mary (Mark 15:40) was
a devoted Christian, present at the crucifixion
of Jesus and was one of the women who came
to prepare His body for burial.3
While some
scholars have suggested James might have
been the bother of Matthew or a cousin of
1
W. Brian Shelton, Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker
Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group, 2018), 204.
2
John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He
Wants to Do with You (Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group, 2002), 170–171.
3
John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He
Wants to Do with You, 171.
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Jesus these suggestions are the product of mere speculation.4
There is some historical evidence
that James took the Gospel to Syria, Persia5 and Egypt6 and was “either stoned, clubbed to death
or crucified like His Lord.”7
Both the Church of Holy Apostles in Rome and the Cathedral of
Saint James in Jerusalem claim to have his relics.
Considering all these unknowns is it fair to say that James the Less was “a figure lost in
the deadening shadows of obscurity?”8
Even though not a single sign, wonder or deed that
James performed was recorded in Scripture (2 Corinthians 12:12) his legacy is intact for he will
one day sit on one of the “twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew
19:27-30).
Even if James had not been
granted this honor his eternal legacy would
still have been secured in the crowns he was
about to receive (2 Timothy 4:8) for having
done the will of Jesus Christ!
Even though
he was not mythic, a celebrity, rich or
powerful in the world’s eyes; 9 God chose
him, an ordinary, weak person (1 Corinthians
1:27) to plant and water seeds of
righteousness in His kingdom (1 Corinthians
3:6-9).
Like James, despite our weaknesses
and lack of worldly “success,” our eternal
legacy is found not only in the grace and mercy we have received at the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9)
but also in our faithful obedience to He who bought us at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)!
It is far
more lasting of a legacy to be a foot washer in Jesus’ kingdom than to gain the entire world and
yet loose one’s standing before a holy God (Matthew 16:26)!
Simon the Zealot
The only thing that is known about the tenth name in Luke’s list of apostles (6:14-16) is
his title, “a Zealot” (Luke 6:15, Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18).
While this term could have referred
to a “fiery temperament,”10 it most likely refers to Simon having belonged to a political party
called the Zealots.
Believing that God was their only ruler11 fueled members of this party’s
hatred and desire to overthrow Rome through acts of terrorism and “surreptitious acts of
4
W. Brian Shelton, Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies, 203.
John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He
Wants to Do with You, 173.
6
W. Brian Shelton, Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies, 207.
7
John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He
Wants to Do with You, 173.
8
W. Brian Shelton, Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies, 204.
9
John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He
Wants to Do with You, 168.
10
John F. MacArthur Jr., Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness, and What He
Wants to Do with You, 174.
11
W. Brian Shelton, Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies, 224.
5
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violence.”12
Before the apostles better understood and accepted Jesus’ teachings one can’t help
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