Holy Thursday Monologue – Simon the Zealot
If you read your Bible in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 10, or Mark chapter 3, you will find there a list of the disciples who followed Jesus. In that list, you find the name Simon the Cananean. That’s me. Luke lists me differently. He calls me, Simon the Zealot.
You think you know all the disciples. James and John were fishing brothers. So were Peter and Andrew. Nathaniel, he was the straight shooter. Whatever was on his mind, he said. Philip, well, he was a kid. He and John and Andrew, they were pretty wet behind the ears. I am not much older them, but I had seen things they had not.
what a brain on that guy. He was always
thinking, always questioning. I know he came
to be called a “doubter.” He was much
more than that. He was a thinker.
I think Matthew had the most fun of all the disciples. That guy could party, almost as much Jesus.
Of course history shows that Judas Iscariot was a schemer. We didn’t know it at the time. We thought he was a brilliant in practical thinking as Thomas was in theoretical thinking. We deferred to Judas because he was so confidant.
In some ways he and I were kindred spirits. Both Judas Iscariot and I were committed to the overthrow of the Romans and the overthrow the corrupt leadership in the temple. He talked and made strategies and argued with Jesus. He always thought he knew better than Jesus what we ought to do. And then Jesus would work a miracle and Judas would shut up and fall in line.
For my part, I was not interested in Peter’s outbursts or Judas’ scheming or Thomas’ philosophy or Nathaniel’s mouth. I like Matthew’s parties, but even that, I thought, was the wrong priority. Before I followed Jesus, I was party of a group of revolutionaries. We weren’t Sicarii. We did not commit assassinations. But, we watched closely because we thought the Messiah was coming to call us to arms. We were ready.
I was at the wedding in Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. I knew what happened. So, I left some of my Zealot pals behind and started following Jesus. I didn’t even realize he noticed me, and then he asked me to be one of his 12 disciples – like the 12 tribes. Yes, I was sure, he was going to restore Israel to the people of God.
But boy did I have trouble with some of his teaching. Turn the other cheek? Love your enemy? I didn’t understand and he could see that. He knew how frustrated I was. He didn’t kick me out. Neither did he make it any easier on me. I did not confront him like Peter. I did not question like Thomas. I didn’t argue with him the way Judas did. But sometimes I wanted to.
Things were really heating up when we came to Jerusalem for the Passover. His confrontations with legalists and priests were edgier. We were all tense. Then, when we gathered for the meal in that upper room, well, I can’t describe it. When he took the wine and said, “This is the new covenant that is my blood,” everything changed. That night, I could not have told you how, but something happened when he said that and we were never the same.
Later on, when the soldiers came to arrest him in the garden, I just ran. I don’t even know why. I, who had been so eager to fight the Roman and fight injustice; when the fight came I ran. Thinking back now to the wine, the new covenant, it is like I was empty and full all at the same time.
I haven’t picked up a sword since. Oh, I’ve used knives and axes, as tools. But since I followed Jesus, I who had built my life on being a revolutionary, never again thought about fighting or killing anyone. You follow him, it will change you. It did me.
I think it about it every time I drink that wine.