The Chosen

the chosen
Omar Aleman, Aleman and Associates

The motley crew left a cloud of dust as they walked down the narrow road donning their tired robes and worn sandals. Leading the pack were the spokesman, his brother, the sons of thunder and the recruiter. Following them a short distance behind were the true Israelite, the skeptic, the tax man, followed by anonymity and humility, while trailing them came the “human caboose” consisting of the terrorist and the betrayer. The leader of the “peloton” walked several yards in front of the pack with all the ease and grace of someone in total control of the situation.

Unexpected companions

This peculiar band had done life together for over three years, so it is safe to say that alliances and cliques had formed among them. In a group so diverse, despite the constant vigilance of the revered leader, these men gravitated in different directions given their disparate backgrounds. Personally, the most intriguing of the Twelve Apostles is the terrorist, Simon the Zealot, one of nine namesakes mentioned in the New Testament. In a nutshell, he was a troublemaker. A majority of theologians agree that he was a member of the Zealot sect, a group of orthodox Jews prone to violence, who were bent on overthrowing the Roman empire in preparation for the arrival of the Messiah. Much like the Pharisees, they held a legalistic observance to the Ten Commandments. Yet Jesus chose this fellow to follow him and to spread the gospel despite their marked strategic differences (See Jesus confront Paul on the Damascus Road for further reference). Who from the group would fraternize with Simon, I wonder? Who would be his partner as the Lord sent out teams of two to share the gospel? What relationship would this “outsider” have with Our Redeemer?

Modern-day disciples

the chosen
Jesus and his disciples as depicted in Season 2 of The Chosen, a historical drama on the life of Jesus.

Tuesday nights are very special to me. Our men’s Bible study, consisting of twelve brothers, meet weekly to study Scripture and discuss its impact on our lives. Much like the apostles, we too are a motley crew. Businessmen, accountants, entrepreneurs, organizational leaders, lawyers, retirees and me… “the terrorist.” Interestingly enough, we have been meeting as long as the apostles were shadowing Jesus. Greeks, Italians, Jews, Gringos and Latinos have come together to form quite a holy fraternity. And lovingly, just like the original brothers did with Simon the Zealot, they have given me a place at the table despite vast differences and a zany personality! And thus it has been a privilege to pair with several of my brothers in working on behalf of the Kingdom during the past few years.

The Chosen in real life

What is the glue that holds us together? We have learned to love Jesus as we struggle to understand what He has in store for us. We view our faith, family and friends as non-negotiables. We identify those in need and make the appropriate provisions. We identify with our common limitations regarding knowledge of Scripture and thus encourage one another to be both hearers and doers of the Word. But most importantly, we have grudgingly accepted and welcomed the fact that it is about Him and not us. He put us together, He loved us first, He has a plan for us. And now, nothing can separate us from the love of God… nothing.

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