Sermon #1: Not In It For the Fame
A sermon on the apostles James and Simon
based on Matthew 6:2-4
by Rev. Frank Schaefer
Today, I want to introduce you to two of Jesus’
disciples that you don’t usually hear much about: James (son of Alpheaus)
and Simon (the Zealot). Now I’m not talking about James, brother of John,
nor am I talking about Simon Peter. These two disciples shared the same
name with their more famous counterparts. In order to prevent confusion,
the gospel writers felt they had to give them a suffix, that’s why they
are known as:
- James, son of Alpheaus and
- Simon, the Zealot.
What we know about these two disciples could be
summed up with two or three paragraphs (see handout). Literally, besides
their names, nothing is known with certainty. There are some legends that
place them in certain locations and tell of their martyrdom. That’s it.
In Christian art James, for instance, is depicted holding a club
because according to one tradition he was beaten to death with a club in
Egypt while sharing the Gospel message. . . . .
Simon’s story is even more obscure. According to one tradition, Simon
is associated with St. Jude as an evangelizing team; the most widespread
tradition is that after evangelizing in Egypt, Simon joined Jude in Persia
and Beirut, Lebanon, where both were martyred in 65 AD. According to
legend, Simon was put to death by a saw.  . . . .
We know that they were involved in the work of the
gospel, because they were in the company of the apostles after Christ’s
death and resurrection. We can pretty safely assume from church tradition
that they were both martyrs for Christ—put to death because of their work
In my book James (the lesser) and Simon (the Zealot)
are true servants and role models of Christ’s disciples. They quietly and
humbly did their work for the Lord, apparently not being concerned about
making a name for themselves, but to making God’s name known to humankind.....
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