“Meet Simon the Zealot”

Posted on : Jul 3rd, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“Meet Simon the Zealot”

Congratulations on calling your new pastor!  The excitement was clearly felt last Sunday as you and Pastor Janice & Patricia embraced one another.  I could sense both her passion and yours to begin the next chapter in the life and ministry of the West Hollywood United Church of Christ.

This type of enthusiasm is behind the “label” Zealot which appears after this week’s Apostle’s name, Simon.  The Zealots had a fervent passion to overthrow their occupier Rome so that the glory days of Israel could be restored.  The government in Rome would have labeled the Zealots as terrorists; most of the Jews of Jesus’ day would have seen them as heroes.  Simon and the Zealots were driven by this one mission, this one hope.  They would even be willing to give their lives to the cause for this was the level of their commitment. 

As Jesus was preaching about turning the world upside down, his message resonated within the Zealot movement. Simon was not the only disciple to have been a Zealot. We are fairly certain sure that Judas Iscariot was part of this movement and perhaps one or two of the other disciples. However, this Simon was the only one pointed out in the Biblical narrative as being a Zealot.  That’s actually not so much as to “label” him as it was to distinguish him from the other disciple whom we know as Simon Peter.

The challenge I have this Sunday is to present you this apostle to whom his only appearance in the Biblical narrative is to have his name listed in the list of the twelve disciples.  Simon never speaks or appears in any of the Gospel stories.  So, I built my sermon ideas around his sense of passion and zeal.  We will explore times when having zeal can get us into trouble versus the times when zeal can draw us closer to God.  As you prepare for Sunday morning, reflect on what passions do you possess?

I realize that preaching an extended sermon series is a tricky business as most of you will need to miss a Sunday here for there, especially over the course of the summer!  So, if you wish to keep up and not miss an apostle, then I invite you to send me an email with the date of the Sunday you missed, and I will be happy to send you that sermon.  This is my email:  joemcgowan@aol.com

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Joe McGowan, Guest Preacher


A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 1: 1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After Jesus suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” Jesus said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kin-dom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, Jesus was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”


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