Luke & the Revolutionaries

by Patrick Henry Reardon

During recent days when our worshiping congregations are obliged to deal with the ambient threat of violence and parish councils have added “security” as a line item in their agendas, it is comforting to recall former times when similar dangers forced Christians to meet in secret and to communicate in codes.

Indeed, cherished reader, next time you chance to look at a portrait of the event, remind yourself that even at the Last Supper security was tight. Two of those dining apostles were, in fact, armed: “Behold, Lord, here are two swords!” (Luke 22:38) One of them was Simon Johnson (“Bar-Jonah”), who later that evening found occasion to use his weapon—an incident recorded in each of the four Gospels. The other armed apostle? An intelligent and well-informed guess, I am confident, should identify him as the other Simon among the apostles. Luke the physician, the earliest Christian historian, calls this man “Simon the Zealot” (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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