Getting to Know the Disciples: August 12, 2018, Billy Redd Andrew, Bartholomew, and Simon the Canaanite
Introduction: Jesus was the Master Leader. When picking the disciples it was not at random but rather with purpose. When putting together a team you need a variety of personality types, strengths, and skills that compliment each other. Make no mistake, as Jesus chose the twelve it was not at random. Each disciple ful- filled a divine purpose and role in the ministry of Jesus. We are going to look at three of the disciples in this lesson and see how their examples can speak to us today.
Andrew: Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter and actually introduced Peter to Jesus. Andrew is always referred to within the grouping of four. Many scholars believe he was one of the closer disciples to Jesus.
Like his brother Peter, Andrew was a fisherman by trade and was a Galilean. An interesting side note concern- ing the family of Andrew; the name “Simon” (Peters original name) is a Hebrew name which would have been normal for the culture but the name “Andrew” would have been Greek. Some scholars believe that this family embraced some of the Gentile culture and because of that Andrew would have been able to connect with the Gentiles better than his brother Peter and Jesus planned to leverage his influence. This is further evidence that Jesus knew what He was doing when He picked the twelve. Andrew would go on to become one of the “Fishers of Men.”
Question: Taking a look at your own life, background, and experience, how can God use you to connect with others in ways that some cannot?
Class Leader would you please a take a few minutes to go around the room and see how diverse your class is in terms of occupations. Example: construction, farming, banking, pharmacy, hair dressers, etc.
Sharing God’s love is not just sharing the Gospel, it is living it. It may not be that you go on an evangelism crusade but it may mean coming alongside someone during a difficult time in their life, being a prayer warrior on that persons’ behalf, or caring for them in a practical way (John 13:35).
Consider this Scenario: You arrive at your workplace one morning and as your are getting into your daily routine you realize one of your co-workers seems down. You try to make a slight joke to lighten the mood but you can tell it does not help. You go about your business but after a few hours you notice things are not well. You finally ask if everything is okay and your co-worker confides in you that they have just gotten some test results that are not good. As far as you know, they do not have a relationship with Christ and you have never heard them speak of church. How can you and I show the love of Christ in a practical way? Which of these statements would you choose? (you can choose more than one).
- Tell them they are dying and should get saved right away so they do not go to hell.
- Say, “well you’ll be fine, everything happens for a reason.”
- Say “I’m sorry to hear that, my faith has helped me get through some tough times, may I pray for you?” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
- Pray, asking God to show you how you can come alongside this person during a difficult time and to show you how you be the hands and feet of Jesus in this situation.
Bartholomew: is listed as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus in each of the four references to the group (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, and Acts 1:13). In the Gospel of John, however, he is always referred to as Nathanael (John 1:45-49; 21:2). Bartholomew is the disciple who made the comment concerning the fact that Jesus was from Nazareth, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46). Nazareth was known as an evil and wicked place.
The next text gives us true insight into the character of Bartholomew. When Jesus saw him coming He said, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” The Greek word for “false” means “deceitful, crafty, or full of guile.” Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart, just as He knows what is in every heart. Jesus’ assessment of Bartholomew was that he was a “true” son of Abraham, that is, a man who worshipped the true and living God without any of the deceit or hypocrisy that characterized the religious leaders of that day. In other words, “Barth, didn’t just go throughout the ritual or routine of church.” GotQuestions.org.
Question: How can we tell if coming to church and our church life is becoming only a routine?
Research shows that if a person does the same exercise over and over without any variation it will only bring about so much change before it becomes useless. Often times, in physical fitness you must change up your programming to challenge yourself. You must do different exercises, increase the intensity, duration, and weight, etc. Because we are people of habit, we tend to park in the same spot, sit in the same seat, speak to the same people Sunday after Sunday, our worship becomes routine. We sing the same words to the song not giv- ing a thought to the One we are singing it to. We listen to a message Sunday after Sunday, yet we do nothing with it. We get upset anytime we are challenged or asked to get out of our comfort zone.
Question: How can we get out of the routine of mindless Church attendance?
This is all we know concerning Bartholomew/Nathanael from Scripture. As an apostle, Bartholomew saw the risen Lord Jesus (John 21:2) and was present at the Ascension (Acts 1:1-11). Tradition indicates that Barthol- omew was a minister of the gospel in Persia and India. There is no Biblical record of his death, but one tradi- tion has it that he was tied up in a sack and dropped into the sea. Another tradition claims that he was cruci- fied. All traditions agree that he died a martyr’s death, as did all the apostles except for John.
Simon the Canaanite: Very little is known about this disciple. He is only mentioned in conjunction with the others and no details are ever given. The term Canaanite is a political term in this case and not a geograph- ical reference. He is also described as a Zealot. Simon, who was from Capernaum, may have originally be- longed to the Zealots, an extremist group that was opposed to Roman rule in Palestine. The Zealots were orig- inally a political movement in First Century Second Temple Judaism which sought to incite the people of Ju- daea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the Holy Land by force of arms.
After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, as Simon’s part in fulfilling The Great Commission, he preached in Egypt and then through North Africa to Carthage. It is believed that he also went to Spain and then north to Britain (https://www.magdalenepublishing.org/simon-the-zealot-apostle/).
Because of his passion to rebel against Rome, this may have been his motivation for following Jesus. Re- member many of the disciples believed Jesus would become an earthly king and deliver God’s people from the rule of Rome. But Jesus took his passion and turned it for the glory of God.
Sometimes we see people come to Jesus for various reasons. Often times people respond to the gospel out of desperation. God will use those times of desperation to draw people to Himself but will soon take that situa- tion of hopelessness and turn it into a call to ministry in their lives.
As we consider how Jesus used these men in various ways, with various backgrounds, to reach different people it was not by accident. It reveals the character of our God. When we compare ourselves to them we might find some similarities and begin to see how God can use us, even with our messed up lives to bring a message of hope to those around us.
Question: How can God use you this week, this month, in the life of someone in your circle to bring hope and comfort to with the love of God in a spiritual and practical way?