Recently, I was studying the lives of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. One thing that struck me in my study was the inclusion of Matthew also called Levi and Simon the Zealot in the apostolic band. How was it possible for these two gentlemen to come together like that?
In case you are wondering. Let me provide some important background. Matthew was a tax collector. The taxes he was collecting were remitted to the Romans who then had colonized the Jews.
The Jews never liked the colonization hence hated to pay taxes to Romans and any Jew who was a tax collector was regarded as an enemy by fellow Jews. The Zealots were Jews who openly showed their hatred for Romans and all those associating with Rome. The Zealots were willing and ready to kill Romans and any Jew connected to Rome in order to liberate Israel from the Roman bondage.
But, here we are! Matthew who was a tax collector is working hand in hand with Simon the Zealot in serving Jesus. What a scene!
Believe you me, had it not been that these men were transformed by the love of Christ, Simon would have killed Matthew right away. Is it not then amazing to see how the differences of the two evaporated into thin air because of their love for Christ?
“Here is one of the greatest of all examples of personal enmity destroyed by common love of Christ. If Matthew and Simon could live at peace within the apostolic band, then there is no breach between men which cannot be healed when men love Christ,” (William Barclay author of The Master’s Men).
Christianity is indeed beautiful! In Christ, we all come together as one irrespective of our differences in interests, tribes or races. For the love of Christ we are able to say as St. Augustine said “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love.”