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Simon the Canaanite

Simon the Canaanite was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ.  He is also referred to as Simon called Zelotes. His name is listed in Matthew 10 and Mark 3 as Simon the Canaanite and in Luke 6 as Simon called Zelotes. The only other mention of him is after Jesus had ascended into Heaven, when the disciples, including Simon the Canaanite, Jesus’ brethren, and several women that included Jesus’ mother, Mary, gathered in an upper room to pray.

The twelve disciples were called to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, but were forbidden to go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans. (A vision given to Peter would later allow the gospel to be taught to all.) Instead, they were seek out the lost sheep of Israel. They could heal the sick and would, through the priesthood, perform many miracles.

When the disciples traveled, they were to take nothing with them, but were to depend on God to lead them to food, clothing and lodging or to those who would provide it to them. Those who accepted them and gave them what they needed or listened to their teachings were to be given blessings of peace on their homes. If they were rejected, they were to shake the dust off their feet as they left the home.

Jesus warned them that they would often be persecuted because of their work serving Jesus Christ. He reassured them that those who endured to the end would be saved, and that they were of more value than the sparrows. God knew every detail of the sparrow, so it was without question that He was also aware of them and of their needs.

The Hebrew root for Zelote is Qana, and Jerome mistakenly believed this word came from Cana or Canaan. This is the source of Canaan used in Bible translations to distinguish this Simon from Simon Peter. The Bible has no other information about him, making him the apostle about whom we know the least. While there are legends that he served missions to Egypt and Glastonbury, and that he was murdered, there is no actual evidence that tells us anything else about his life other than that he served as one of the original twelve disciples.

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