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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

Sermon Series: The 12 Apostles of Jesus

Sermon Number 1

Apostles James (the less) and Simon (son of Alphaeus)

Link to the other sermon Manuscripts for the 12 Apostle Series:


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. [2] . . . .

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 for Jesus.

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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Handout: Historic Overview (Downloads in Adobe format):

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