Deuteronomy 32:1-4

Psalm 119:89-96

Ephesians 2:13-22

John 15: 17-27

First thing to note is that there is no mention of either Jude or Simon in any of the appointed lessons above. What might that tell us of their apostolic witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

If we forage thru the 4 Gospels we may discover a few details. Take Simon first.

He has a nick name, “Zealot”.

What do you think of when you hear that word?

There were militant Jews at the time openly hostile to Roman rule called Zealots. What might that suggest?

Now look at how Paul uses that word to describe his religious adherence to the law (Acts 22.3,4). Before Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was very knowledgeable about the law and he used it to divide what was holy &what was not, who was in and who out.

Why do you think Jesus chose Simon to be a follower? Why did he choose Saul?

Now look at Jude. Jude is differentiated from his namesake “not Judas Iscariot” . What does that suggest?

A quick perusal of his epistle might furnish a few more details. What are his concerns about the Christians to whom he is writing? Note his spiritual diagnosis: Jude verse 11. What does that reveal about him? What is the key to maintains and building up the fellowship of the body? See v 20.

Now turn to the Gospel, John 15 17-27. Is there anything to recommend in the apostles, – anything to indicate that they would make good witnesses (marturiai) – gathered in the upper room with Jesus as he prepares them for what lies ahead? What do you think they are thinking and feeling? Jesus is prophesying over them. What is it that they lack?

Now turn to Ephesians 2:13-end. Note the references to “middle wall of separation” , “enmity”, “you who were far off” & “those who were near”. What is it that brings about the awareness of being separated and at enmity? What is it about the Cross of Jesus that overcomes the division and makes peace? How does it bring the far away,(outsiders) near (in) and make the insiders see that they are far away from God?

Something happened to Simon and Jude (and all the other followers of Jesus) on the day of Pentecost. What was it? The testimony of Jesus was carried to the ends of the known (Roman) world in 1 generation Simon and Jude’s religious zeal was transformed in to a burning torch which they carried forth into the world and the darkness could not withstand it.

What is our Christian witness like? Do we burn with a passion to see the lost saved? Do we choose to be in solidarity with the poor, the despised, the outsider and be branded one of “them” as Jesus did?

Have you lost your “first love” (Rev 2:3 – the Church of Ephesus)? Is your love luke warm? (Rev 3:14-22 Church of Laodicea) How will you cloth your nakedness? Get rich with what Jesus promises? What is the medicine that heals sight? How will you apply it?

St. Thomas’ is a church with a vision to be a beacon. Is the fire burning within it producing a light that will really draw people to Jesus? Are we producing A LOT OF SMOKE and little fire (like our furnace last week) What do we need to change?