Home > Other Festivals > St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles, 2015. Anonymous Apostles.

St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles, 2015. Anonymous Apostles.


St. Simon and St. Jude, apostles (School Matins)

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. John 15:17-22

October 28, 2015

“Anonymous Apostles”

Iesu Iuva

St. Simon and St. Jude were apostles of Jesus, two of His twelve hand-picked men. Since Jesus is the king and Lord of all the earth, you’d think that all of the twelve men He specially picked to be His witnesses to all the earth would be famous. But they’re not. Most of the apostles we know next to nothing about. Of St. Simon and St. Jude we have only their names in the Scriptures, except for one verse about St. Jude, which we’ll get to later. Not a lot to remember them by. Tradition says that Jude and Simon went together on a missionary journey—where, we’re not sure—an d they had their heads cut off with an axe. But we can’t be sure about that either.

There is one passage that tells us a little more about St. Jude, in John chapter 14, verse 22. “Judas (not Iscariot) said to [Jesus], ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?’” What we know for sure about St. Jude is only this—at least at one point, he was disappointed by Jesus. See, Jude along with all the disciples had seen Jesus manifest His divine power and glory. He had seen Jesus raise the dead. He had seen Him silence the wind and the waves with a word. He had seen Jesus do countless other miracles and had come to believe that Jesus was not just a great man, not just a prophet, but God in human flesh. And Jude thought, “Jesus, if You would just manifest Your glory to the world, the whole world would come running to You. Then everything the prophets said about peace on earth would come true!” But it turned out Jesus was not going to manifest Himself that way to the world. He was going to manifest Himself by being lifted up, broken and bloodied and pierced, on the cross. He would show Himself to the world as the One who would be covered with all the world’s shame and sin. He would expose Himself as the One who bears the anger of God against the sins of the world. And when the world saw its God, stretched out on the cross, crushed by the wrath of God, it would not accept Him. It would reject Him, cast Him away, say, “We want nothing to do with this Jesus.”

When Jude asked Jesus why He was not going to reveal Himself to the world, Jesus had this to say to Jude’s disappointment: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23-24)

 

This is the painful lesson that Jude had to learn from Jesus. And it is one that Jesus teaches all His disciples through disappointment, pain, and loss. Jesus did not come into the world to force people to believe in Him through the manifestation of His glory. He will come to those who love Him and make His home with them. But He will not force anyone to believe. He will not force anyone to believe that God became one of us and came not with glorious majesty and spiritual excitement but in the form of a slave to become sin for us.

That means the world is not going to come flocking to the Church and to us. It means that those who go out preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified, like St. Simon and St. Jude, will get the same thing Jesus got. The world doesn’t love faithful witnesses to Jesus. If you go out into the world armed only with your confession of Jesus—that He died for our sins on the cross, and He alone is the way to the Father, the world will hate you. If you came with miracles or spiritual excitement, the world might respect that. But come only with Jesus the Crucified? The world will hate you and call you insane. “What is a crucified man going to do for us? Don’t you have something better than that?” So shouts the world at us. So it shouted at St. Simon and St. Jude, until it stopped shouting and grabbed (so they say) an axe.

But we have something better than miracles, spiritual excitement, and the approval of the world. We, like St. Simon and St. Jude, have Jesus’ word comforting us, telling us we are His own. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (St. John 15:18-19) Jesus chose us as His own out of the midst of a world that is lost and doomed to eternal wrath.

How did He choose you? He chose you before the world began, but in time He called you to be His own through the Holy Gospel. He called you to believe that Christ crucified is the true God. In His rejection by the world on the cross He reconciled you to God. And then by His lowly means of water joined to His Word in Baptism, He claimed you, came to you and made His dwelling with you. And so the world responds to us as it did to Jesus. A few hear Jesus’ Word. Most reject and hate it.

That’s why Jesus’ Church always lives a tenuous existence, on the fringe of the world. She doesn’t have allies in the world, because she belongs to Jesus. But she, the Church, is rich and glorious, though her treasure and glory are not seen by the world or even by our own eyes. The world may hate her. She may seem weak, helpless, and crucified, just like her Lord. But her Lord, the Son of God, dwells in her members. He was crucified in weakness but was raised from the dead in glory, never to die again, and seated at the right hand of the Father. And so all who remain with Jesus’ Word. They die, but behold, He will raise them again and seat them with Himself at God’s right hand to reign with Him over all His enemies.

So St. Simon and St. Jude never got the praise of the world. Even in the Church on earth we hardly remember them. But through their preaching and their blood the kingdom of Christ has come to us. And because it is among us, because we believe that Jesus shed His blood for us, He makes His home with us and has prepared a home for us at the Father’s right hand. We probably won’t be remembered or loved by the world for believing in Jesus and serving Him with our lives on earth. The nations probably won’t flock to us. But we belong to the eternal Son of God. He chose us out of the world. He bought us with His blood. There is more glory in that than there is in the whole fallen world.

Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

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