I.D.P. (The Second Part)
Posted on June 11, 2019 by Erin Culleny in Freedom Fighters
“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder” — Mark 3:14-17 (NKJV)
I think one of the ugliest terms going around today is “Identity Politics.” Wikipedia defines it this way, “The term identity politics in common usage refers to a tendency of people sharing a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity to form exclusive political alliances, instead of engaging in traditional broad-based party politics, or promote their particular interests without regard for interests of a larger political group.” Personally, I think it’s a mindset that purposely divides people for the sake of self and intrudes upon everyone else’s moral compass…but what do I know, I’m just a guy who tries to write from a Biblical viewpoint. Anyway…
With that said I would like to take a look at a few guys who hung out with Jesus and had their I.D.P script flipped. James and John enter our Biblical scene as fishermen from Galilee and since I brought up “identity politics” I wanted to share a narrative from Pastor John Mol’s book, “Jesus: The Revolutionary” that is written from the apostle John’ viewpoint. “Understandably, the exploits of being a fisherman from Galilee was not awe-inspiring, Galilee was despised by many of the elite in Judea, particularly those from Jerusalem. Perhaps being labeled in this manner is what fueled the “rebel” spirit of so many Galileans, including myself. Galileans abhorred being viewed as “second class” in the eyes of Judeans. Even our accent and dialect was belittled by them.”
Now from this viewpoint it is easy to see why Jesus would have given James and John the name Boanerges. This would have meant that they were fiery, impassioned and vigorous men. And since Zebedee is their father, the head of the family business and would have had servants, James and John may have imitated their father’s authority as they encountered people…plus that Galilean thing in the last paragraph. Maybe it’s in this that the Lion of Judah will make His presence known to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth. Because, after all, what good could come out of it? But the bigger question is why did Jesus call James and John the “sons of thunder”?
Well I think the answer lies in this; Jesus didn’t name someone according to their faults but rather what He wanted to make them. When we see thunder used in the Bible, we can see it as showing judgement on an enemy, which James and John wanted done at one point (see Luke 9:51-56). We also see it being used to show God’s presence and His Word with His people (see Ezekiel 3:12-13). And since it was very obvious to Jesus that James and John had personalities that were easily stirred and bothered, Jesus could take these two and transform them into mighty, bold prophets who would speak like thunder.
They even would naively, but yet boldly, approach Jesus, with their mother, Salome, (never really good to hide behind mom) and ask for positions to the right and to the left of Jesus. To which He replied, “You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” So, they said, “We are able.” James would be the first to die, guess his ministry had a great impact on the church in Jerusalem. John would go on to write quite a few books in the New Testament after suffering much for his faith. Two brothers, from a place that identified them as a bunch of losers, transformed by Jesus to do great things for Him.
When James and John met Jesus, they thought they really had an inside line to things. “That’ll show them Judeans” musta ran through their minds at the early part of their encounter. Not only was Jesus Messiah to them, but He was also family but that’s not what Jesus had in mind for them.
“Everything of God gets expressed in Him, so you can see and hear Him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without Him. When you come to Him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything.” (Col 2:9-10 MSG)
Back in my heyday there was a song titled, “Can You See The Real Me?” and it was an anthem for me. But now, like the sons of thunder found out, the real me can only be found in Christ Jesus. I hope you’ll see it that way too. Amen? (there’s more to come)
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “Our spiritual identity has nothing to do with us or our varied talents or abilities. We are not valuable because we are good. We are good because, in Christ, we are valuable.” — Chris J. Gregas
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. – Galatians 4:4-5
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.