Apostle James was in what is called the inner circle of Jesus. These were the apostles closest to Jesus – Peter, James, and John. Apostle James was on Peter’s team – the first team. Apostle James enjoyed a very close relationship with Jesus and was present in the more private times of Jesus, yet we don’t know much about him.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 6

notes by Delbert Young

Apostle James, a Son of Thunder (Luke 6:12-16)

Apostle James, a Son of Thunder - video audio (Luke 6:12-16)

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Apostle James , Son of Thunder – Doug Eaker – Luke 6:12-16

Scriptures: Luke 6:12-16; Matthew 4:21-22; Mark 3:17; Luke 9:51-52; Luke 9:53-56; Matthew 20:20; Matthew 20:21; Matthew 20:22; Matthew 20:23; Matthew 20:24; Acts 12:1-2

Luke 6:12-16 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

We are taking a short look at these men who literally changed the world. It is here Luke introduces us to the twelve apostles. As we talked about, “One of those days,” is a reference to a time associated with and around the time when Jesus was in confrontation with the false religious system of Judaism. It was in one of those days while they were plotting to kill Jesus (Luk 6:11; Mar 3:6; Mat 12:14). He went on a mountainside where he prayed all night concerning the selection of twelve men who he would designate apostles. He took the two years he had left, supported them, taught them, and trained them to take his message of the gospel of the Kingdom of God to Jerusalem, Judah, Samaria, and to all parts of the world (Act 1:8).

These are not simply names. They are very ordinary men who became extraordinary apostles. They changed the world. Because of them, we have the gospel and the church today extends to the ends of the earth (Act 1:8). None of them were among the religious elite. None were religiously trained. None were Pharisees, Scribes, or Sadducees. None were highly educated and some probably not educated at all. None were from the Jerusalem area (religious capital).

Next comes a man named James. James and John were the sons of a man named Zebedee.

Matthew 4:21-22 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

James was part of a fishing enterprise. When he and his brother John are mentioned together, James is always first meaning he could be older or the most dominate.

Apostle James was in what is called “the inner circle.” These are the three apostles closest to Jesus – Peter, James, and John. He was on Peter’s team – the first team. Apostle James enjoyed a very close relationship with Jesus and was present in the more private times of Jesus, yet we don’t know much about him.

Jesus gave James (and John) a special name.

Mark 3:17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder)

When Jesus gave a name, it defined something about their character. Jesus didn’t say, “Sons of Zebedee.” He said “Sons of Thunder.” Thunder is bronte {bron-tay’} meaning to roar; thunder. Verse Search Study Commentary says about Boanerges {bo-an-erg-es’} – “a nickname given to James and John, the sons of Zebedee, by the Lord. The name seems to denote fiery and destructive zeal that may be likened to a thunder storm.” James had a thunderous personality. James was a fiery loud person. He was passionate about what he felt and believed. As we will see, he made enemies rapidly.

How is your “thunder”? Do you sometimes get loud especially about things you are passionate, or when someone offends you or someone you love? There’s some “James” thunder in all of us and a lot of James in some of us. You could be a prime candidate to do something extraordinary for the kingdom.

Luke 9:51-52 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;

Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem for his final Passover. Many people were traveling going to Passover, so accommodations without reservations were impossible to find. With no internet, phones, or credit cards to secure reservations, Jesus sent messengers ahead to secure a place and make it ready for him and his apostles.

A little information about the Samaritans will help. In the days of Solomon, Solomon heavily taxed the people. After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king, but the people rebelled against his taxing them. Ten tribes rebelled, left Judah, became what was called the “northern kingdom,” went into false worship, and were later judged by God with Babylonian captivity. The Babylonians brought people from all nations into Samaria where they intermarried causing a “mixed” race to which the Jews detested, mocking as “unclean.” The Jews despised the Samaritans and the Samaritans despised the Jews. With Jews passing through their land heading for Jerusalem to worship, some of the Samaritans took vengeance.

Luke 9:53-56 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, LORD, WILT THOU THAT WE COMMAND FIRE TO COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, AND CONSUME THEM, EVEN AS ELIAS DID? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

Obviously, the Samaritans not welcoming his Lord infuriated James and he thundered. “Lord, allow us to command fire to come down from heaven and incinerate them.” Jesus calmed James’ storm by rebuking him. “James, you’ve got a bad attitude.” Andrew was bringing people to Jesus. James wanted to destroy them with fire from heaven.

Isn’t it interesting how the Lord called a “hot head” like James to be an apostle? James would have called it “righteous indignation.” His Lord was dishonored and this upset James. That part was good. Jesus did that. Remember the whip Jesus wove and used to cleanse the temple when people dishonored God? Apostle James was a fiery person who let people know exactly how he felt.

Anybody here like that? There used to be many, but over the years, I’ve watched most of us tame and channel our thunder.

Apostle James was also ambitious. It seems he was partial owner of his own business along with his brother and father, but he had aspirations to go much higher. So, he came up with a plan. Maybe mom could help.

Matthew 20:20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus WITH HER SONS and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

The boys sent for mom. “We’ll get mom to talk to Jesus for us. You know how she is!”

Matthew 20:21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

She’s attempting to tell the Messiah how to run his kingdom! She didn’t say, “Please.” She said, “Grant.” This was no small request. We see from where James got his attitude? Mrs. Zebedee was thunder too. No wonder Mr. Zebedee stayed out on the boat fishing. Mom had no hesitance about demanding key positions for her boys. We see James’ ambition by his allowing his mother to approach Jesus with this demand. James used his close position to the Lord and his own mother to acquire a place of ambition. Here is what Jesus said.

Matthew 20:22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

Drinking the cup deals with suffering. Jesus said you have no idea what you are asking upon your boys. To them he asked, “Can you drink the cup?” They said with thunder, “WE CAN!” There was some arrogance in their reply.

Does the Lord call arrogant people like that to the ministry? Yes, every day. I was like that. “YES! I CAN DO IT!” The Lord said, “Really? You have no idea what you are asking.” As we’ve said, the only kind of people God has to work with are flawed people because that’s the only kind of people there are. However, when the zeal and thunder are harnessed and focused, those people actually will suffer anything for the kingdom’s sake.

Matthew 20:23 Jesus said to them, “YOU WILL INDEED DRINK FROM MY CUP, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus said you will indeed suffer, but Father makes the decisions of who sits in the seats of prominence. (We see there will be positions of prominence in eternity.)

Matthew 20:24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.

James, his mother and brother caused all sorts of problems for Jesus. The others became angry and the fuss continued between them all the entire time they were with Jesus.

James was ambitious and asked for a crown. Instead, Jesus gave him a cup of suffering. James wanted to be powerful, but Jesus made him a servant. James wanted to use a sword. Instead, James died by the sword.

After the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, around fourteen years later, the church was having a tremendous effect on society. People were becoming Christ followers. The Jews were upset and put pressure on Herod to stop those Christians.

Acts 12:1-2 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. HE HAD JAMES, THE BROTHER OF JOHN, PUT TO DEATH WITH THE SWORD.

When Herod wanted to stop the church’s growth and please the Jews, who did he have executed? Peter? No. John? No. The target was James. James harnessed his thunder and became a thundering force for God. To quiet and stop the thundering church, Herod killed thundering James. He did indeed drink the cup. James became the first of the apostles to die as a martyr for Jesus.

God takes strong-willed, self-serving, loud, thundering, ambitious, vengeful people and transforms them into great voices and movers for the kingdom. He does a work in their mouths and in their hearts. You can’t stop them. You have to kill them. God needs his Peters. He needs his Andrews, but he needs his James’ as well. What a remarkable meaningful life. James continues to thunder today.

Other Related Sermons:

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Easter Nonsense – sermon video audio notes

I SEE GRACE pt 2 – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young