When CIA agent Napoleon Solo is teamed up with KGB Operative Illya Kuryakin sparks fly. The two are united against a common enemy, but they are keenly aware that they are on opposing sides of the cold war. (We’re back in the 60s here.) They have different goals, different perspectives, different world-views. And they would normally be fighting each other about it. So they spend much time trying to outdo one another as they attempt to work together.
I guess that Jesus’s disciples spent a lot of time trying to impress and outdo each other. He had, after all, collected followers from opposing sides. Simon was a Zealot, a revolutionary who wanted to overthrow the occupying Romans. Matthew on the other hand was a tax collector who worked for the Romans. And made a good living out of it. Jesus drew these men together, inviting them to put aside their enmity and take up a new world-view. Jesus got into trouble himself in Nazareth when he happily reminded his people of the story of God helping Naaman. Naaman was a foreigner, an outsider, and yet Jesus celebrated the way God helped him. He wanted folks to see that his work was not about them and us.
Down the ages there have been countless tales of enemies courageously putting aside differences in order to work together. Sometimes in surprising circumstances. (In the movie Good Vibrations punk rock unites protestant and catholic youngsters in Northern Ireland.) It’s always a difficult challenge, we often see the world though a them and us lens. Jesus offers to regrind that lens, to adjust our vision, though it may take some time and work.