Life Recovery Bible - Page 19

It has been said that opposites attract; just as often, however, opposites
repel. The differences between people often result in complementary
relationships in which the strengths of one make up for the weaknesses
of the other. But in some cases the differences lead only to continual
strife. Marriage relationships are often comprised of two opposites,
resulting in either great teamwork or terrible conflict.
Two of Jesus’ twelve disciples, Matthew and Simon the Zealot, were
opposites. Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Roman government as a tax collector. People of this occupation were known for their
corruption. They grew rich by extorting excess taxes from their own
oppressed people. These tax collectors were nonreligious and, needless
to say, were hated and despised as traitors by their countrymen.
As indicated by his title “the Zealot,” Simon, at the very least, was
a religious fanatic. This term was sometimes used to label people with
intense zeal for the law of Moses and Jewish religious tradition. It could
also identify someone who belonged to the religious-political party
known as the Zealots, which wanted to overthrow the Roman government. If Simon was a member, he would have been strongly opposed
to the Roman occupation of Judea, while Matthew was an integral part
of its government. Clearly, these men were opposites.
Both Matthew and Simon met Jesus and realized the emptiness and
futility of their former pursuits. Both gave up what they had been to
follow Christ in faith and experience new life—life that developed from
the inside out. Both were transformed by the God of recovery into
people who could love and accept those who were very different from
Is­ra­el—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce
to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.*
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with
leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely
as you have received!
“Don’t take any money in your money
belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins.
Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of
clothes and sandals or even a walking stick.
Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because
those who work deserve to be fed.
“Whenever you enter a city or village,
search for a worthy person and stay in his
• Matthew and Simon both apparently
were capable men.
• Both men were willing to recognize
that they needed to change.
• Both men made Jesus the center
of their life, enabling them to work
with people quite different from
• Both had been driven by shortsighted
motivations before following Jesus.
• As a tax collector, Matthew had
probably used his position to extort
money from the poor.
• As a Zealot, Simon probably
condoned the use of violence
for achieving his political ends.
• Financial success cannot replace the
need for a relationship with God.
• If Christ is at the center of a relation­
ship, no difference is too great to
• Differences can be used to
strengthen relationships and should
not be used as an excuse to destroy
“[The disciples] went to the upstairs
room of the house where they were
staying. Here are the names of those
who were present: . . . Matthew, . . .
Simon (the Zealot)” (Acts 1:13).
The story of the apostles Matthew
and Simon the Zealot is found in the
Gospels. Both men are also
mentioned in Acts 1:13.
home until you leave town. 12 When you
enter the home, give it your blessing. 13 If it
turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing.
If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its
dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you
the truth, the wicked cities of Sod­om and Go­
mor­rah will be better off than such a town on
the judgment day.
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep
among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes
and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you
10:7 Or has come, or is coming soon.

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