May 26, 2020 – Tuesday, Seventh Week of Easter
‘Jesus appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: [he appointed the twelve:] Simon, whom he named Peter, James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder…” Mark 3:14-17
‘Sons of Thunder’ Why did Jesus refer to James the Greater and his brother John as “sons of thunder?”
There is no explanation in the New Testament, but that hasn’t kept scholars from speculating. Most point to the brothers’ explosive tempers (especially James), and their automatic reaction of responding to violence with violence. That was evident in Luke’s ninth chapter when Jesus and the disciples had problems finding a place to spend the night in Samaria because of the tense relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans: “When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’” (Lk 9:54)
When the disciples saw the risen Lord, they worshiped, but they doubted. (Mt 28:17)
Why did Matthew have to throw that in?
Matthew is telling me that disciples will struggle with doubt (hesitation, practical wavering) until the end of time.
It’s easier to believe when you’re worshiping God. But then you go out into the world, and the doubt creeps in.
Oh, I don’t necessarily doubt that there’s a God. But I may begin to wonder whether or not God connects with this world, with my life.
The disciples is the person who is able to wrestle with that constant nagging doubt and say, “Yes…yes…yes, I believe.”
What does it take to be a disciple?
It’s as clear as clear could be in Matthew’s Gospel. It is three things:
To hear God’ word.
To take up your cross.
To go out into the world and live in a way that proclaims Jesus Christ as the Lord of all.