Armodoxy for Today: Sons of Thunder: Disciples
“The Sons of Thunder” is how Jesus referred to two of his disciples, two sons of a man named Zebedee. (Mark 3)
We can imagine why Jesus gave them such a nickname. Perhaps, like thunder they were uncontrollably loud? Brash? Maybe ready for a brawl? Or perhaps like Thunder they didn’t care if their message was welcome or not, they were ready to yell it out. Aggressive? Confrontational? Jesus called them “The Sons of Thunder, James and John.”
St. Luke records an event when the people of Samaria did not want to receive the message of Christ, James and John seeing this said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
In the Gospel according to St. Mark we see Jesus telling his disciples (chapter 10) that “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” Perhaps a bit of surprise, uncomfort, disbelief might have been the case for the disciples. Not so with the sons of Zebedee who came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, we want You … to grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” Definitely low on the sensitivity scale. Imagine, your friend of 3 years tells you he’s going to die and youre first question to him is about status in the afterlife?
But at the same time, we know that Jesus welcomed them. They were in the “Inner Circle” of friends, who, along with Peter, Jesus invited to join him at some very critical moments of his ministry, such as when he resurrected the young girl, (Matthew 9) or at the Transfiguration which revealed the Light of the Creator (Mark 9).
The Sons of Thunder, in the years after the Resurrection went on to witness for the Resurrected Christ. James became the first disciple to be martyred for the faith, while John went on to be known for the manner in which he articulated the Love of God. He was the author of the fourth Gospel and the letters at the end of the New Testament. This thunderous voice expounded the message of love as the ultimate God connection.
How comfortable are we with the message of Christ and his love? Are we able to unashamedly proclaim it? How thunderous is our voice when we speak about Christ and the Love of God?
We pray from the 10th hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s prayers, O Christ, who are the Living Fire, inflame my soul with the fire of Your love, which You did send forth upon the earth, that it may burn the stains of my soul, sanctify my conscience, purge the sins of my body, and kindle in my heart the light of Your knowledge. Amen.