Have you ever been watching a game on TV and murmured, “boy, how did that guy ever make it to the NFL…I could have made that catch”. In reality, I couldn’t have made that catch, and if I had, I would have died when I was tackled.
When you move from TV and books and daydreaming to reality, things do seem to clear up a bit. I played golf yesterday and was amazed how far my friend could hit the ball…it flew off his club. It was fun watching him.
When you get to know people, there’s often a lot to be admired and amazed by…. maybe it’s their physical skills or intellect or holiness. Yet, I find if you don’t get to know the person, there can be a tendency to discount them. Is this getting confusing? Let’s try one more example.
What are the names of the 12 apostles? When I quiz myself, I do pretty well with the big names (Peter, John, James, Andrew, Thomas, Matthew, Philip, and of course Judas Iscariot), but I have to rack my brain as I try to name the others.. okay, Bartholomew, uuuggghhh…hmmmm.
Well today is the feast of two of the lesser known apostles, Simon and Jude. While we don’t know much about them, they were both part of the most important group in the history of this world and of the world to come. They walked intimately with the Lord, and the Lord made this promise to them ….. “You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.(Luke 22:28-30) Simon and Jude are part of this glorious group even though we know almost nothing about them… great men.
In truth, we know the names of only a few of the people who interacted with Jesus during his life on earth; there must have been thousands….people in the markets, on the roads, in the temple, at dinners and banquets, on the way of the cross…… but, it’s likely that many of these “no-names” became his followers and are in heaven. Each of them has a story. When we hopefully get to meet them one day in heaven, I think we are really going to be impressed. Certainly Simon and Jude will have wonderful places of honor as apostles, but so will many more…many unknowns.
There are so many interesting stories of Jesus interacting with people who we don’t know. I’m often struck by the passage from Luke about securing the place for the “Last Supper”. Who was this great man who knew the Lord so intimately; Jesus must have known the man well. It reads:
“So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, and tell the householder, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.” And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.” (Luke 22:8-13)
Whoever the “householder” was, I hope to talk with him one day and learn a bit more. So, there are men and women around us today with a lot of wonderful stories. May the Lord help us to get to know them and when we do, remember to tell them about some of the wonderful things that have happened to you… especially tell them the wonderful story of how you “met the master”.
P.S. Back to the names of the Apostles….if you were counting, I only got to 11….the last one was James, son of Alphaeus, and for you purists, St. Matthias later replaced Judas Iscariot.