Matthew 10:2; 4 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these…(4) Simon the Canaanite…
Simon the Canaanite is someone you don’t read too much about in the scriptures. But, he was among the faithful apostles of Jesus Christ! Tradition holds that he preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, where he died by crucifixion around A.D. 74. Though the word “Canaanite” is used of him, this does not mean he was from the land of Canaan. He was indeed a Hebrew.
Someone from the land of Canaan is the Greek word Chanaan, as used in Acts 13:19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
This word “Canaanite”, as it pertains to Simon, is the Greek word Kanaanites. This was actually a political slur for those of an independent Jewish political party that was fighting for the independence of Israel from Roman rule.
It seems they were dismissed as nothing more than crazy, rebellious political zealots who didn’t want to conform. Politics haven’t changed much! Therefore, Simon is more correctly identified in Luke 6:15 …and Simon called Zelotes.
It’s interesting to note here that Jesus had politically active people in His group! This doesn’t mean Jesus’ goal was for His group to become a political party, though they did influence local and national politics. We’re told today that religious people should keep their religious viewpoints out of the political discussion. But, how is silencing the speech of those with whom we may disagree going for us?
Simon had the zeal and desire, not to just see wrongs be made right, but to do something about those wrongs. He was just doing what he knew to do at the time. This is the kind of person with whom Jesus chooses to work!
No doubt Jesus had to polish up Simon’s character and approach along the way, but it seems the Lord was glad that Simon just wanted to do something.
The Lord doesn’t need someone to figure out the perfect way to do things before He can use them. He just needs someone who isn’t afraid to try. He takes care of shaping them into the person He wants them to become!
As important as political independence is, spiritual independence is far more important! The Lord changed Simon’s focus from earthly political independence to eternal spiritual independence, which is brought through the Gospel!
Simon started out doing something locally because that’s all he knew. All God needs is for you and me to do what we know to do right where we are in order that He may lead us into our greater calling for His kingdom!
Will you join me in being that person?
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2 thoughts on “Just Do What You Know to Do – A Lesson from Simon the Canaanite”
Pastor Fulmer, thanks for the insight into this disciple’s life. We do need to focus on where Jesus wants us to be and do what He has called us to do. When we are active in this pursuit, we will influence the world through the Spirit within us.
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Amen to that! Thank you!!