Who is Simon the Cananaean?
Do you know who Simon the Cananaean is? Most people--indeed, most Christians--will not recognize his name. However, if you read Matthew 10:1-4 or Mark 3:13-19, you see that he is listed as one of Jesus' 12 disciples. He's included synoptically in Luke 6:12-16 as well, but there he is referred to as Simon the Zealot, a name with which some may be more familiar.
Yet regardless of one's familiarity with the name, none of us know anything about Simon because the New Testament is silent on the specifics of his life and work. He's named and, well, that's it! Few biblical characters are more obscure than Simon the Cananaean.
And this is surprising to me! Of the millions of people on earth during Simon's day and of the billions upon billions of people who've inhabited earth from creation until today, Jesus chose only 12 men from the first-century, Middle-Eastern world to follow him intimately and lead a revolution after his resurrection and ascension. Commonsense, then, would dictate that Scripture should give us great detail about these men's lives, families, work, etc. But, in the case of Simon the Cananaean, it doesn't. In fact, we know nothing about him.
As I was thinking about this during my Bible time today, it occurred to me that I, too, often feel obscure as a follower of Christ and as a leader in his church. Like Simon, although I know Christ intimately and seek to follow him in obedience, very few people know who I am. Ask a Christian in Idaho who Mark Tinsley is, and he/she will say, "I have absolutely no clue!" Place me in Rick Warren's pulpit next Sunday, and his congregants will say, "Where's Rick? And who is this joker?" Send this blog to most people, and they won't even read it. Why? Because I'm a nobody...in the eyes of man.
But in the eyes of God, I'm Simon the Cananaean! I've not been given a celebrity role in God's Kingdom, but I've still been chosen by him for a good work. I'm no Peter, James, or John, but I am nonetheless one of God's disciples. And that's all I need to be!