These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.Matthew 10:2-4 NIV
The 12 disciples included Matthew, the tax collector, and Simon the Zealot. Two quite different perspectives and personalities. Yet Jesus called them both. There is room for diversity in the body of Christ.
Matthew was a collaborator with the Roman occupying force. He collected taxes for them. He advocated peaceful co-existence with the Romans.
Simon was a Zealot. The Zealots advocated rebellion against the hated Romans. Drive them out of the land.
One was on the extreme right of the political spectrum. The other was on the extreme left. One was a pacifist. The other was a protester. It would be hard to find two men who were more different.
Yet Jesus called both of these men to be his disciples. And not just a part of the crowd that followed him. But one of the 12. An inner circle who would receive more intensive training. Men who would be tasked with being the foundation of the church.
No doubt they both questioned, at least initially, the wisdom of the other’s selection. But under Jesus’ teaching, they put aside their differences and labored together, shoulder to shoulder.
We all come into the body of Christ today with our differences. But rather than divide us, we should allow the teaching of Jesus to mold and shape us. To allow our diversity in the body to strengthen us rather than divide us. Focus on Jesus rather than our differences.