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Lesson # Mark 3:17
Study Material - Mark 3:17
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17 And [kai] James [Iakobos] the son [ho] of Zebedee [Zebedaios] , and [kai] John [Ioannes] the brother [adelphos] of James [Iakobos] ; and [kai] he surnamed [epitithemi] [onoma] them [autos] Boanerges [Boanerges] , which is [ho esti] , The sons [huios] of thunder [bronte] : KJV-Interlinear
17 and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, 'Sons of Thunder'); NAS
It is my intent to give us an overview of the Twelve Apostles. We need to understand that they were all just normal people like you and I. They have been placed on pedestals by some, and that is really an error. There is only one pedestal and only one who should stand on it, and that of course is Jesus Christ. We all have been chosen by virtue of our belief in Christ. As such we all have a special gift and purpose which God has given to each one of us. These twelve were the men of the hour back in the early Christian church. They were not special, not highly educated, not titled people of status, but just normal guys who were in the right time period of history, which God of course selected them for. God places each one of us in history. James had an outgoing personality which is apparent from his description, and from his work as a fisherman he probably he probably had some pretty colorful language. Language you would expect from guys on the docks.
The following is from the International Bible Encyclopedia:
'JAMES (jamz) (Iacobos): English form of Jacob. The Son of Zebedee, one of the Twelve Apostles (ho tou Zebedaiou): He was the son of Zebedee and the brother of John (Matt 4:21; Mark 1:19; Luke 5:10). As the Synoptists generally place the name of James before that of John, and allude to the latter as 'the brother of James,' it is inferred that James was the elder of the two brothers. His mother's name was probably Salome, the sister of the mother of Jesus (compare Matt 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25). James was a fisherman by trade, and worked along with his father and brother (Matt 4:21). According to Lk, these were partners with Simon (Luke 5:10), and this is also implied in Mk (Mark 1:19). As they owned several boats and employed hired servants (Luke 5:11; Mark 1:20).
The call to James to follow Christ (Matt 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11) was given by Jesus as He was walking by the sea of Galilee (Matt 4:18). There He saw 'James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they straightway left the boat and their father, and followed him' (Matt 4:21-22). The account of Luke varies in part from those of Matthew and Mark, and contains the additional detail of the miraculous draught of fishes, at which James and John also were amazed. This version of Luke is regarded by some as an amalgamation of the earlier accounts with John 21:1-8,
As the above incident took place after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, when Jesus had departed into Galilee (Matt 4:12; Mark 1:14), and as there is no mention of James among those who received the preliminary call recorded by John (compare John 1:35-51; 3:24, and compare ANDREW), it is probable that while Peter and Andrew made the pilgrimage to Bethany, James and the other partners remained in Galilee to carry on the business of their trade. Yet, on the return of Peter and Andrew, the inquiries of James must have been eager concerning what they had seen and heard. His mind and imagination became filled with their glowing accounts of the newly found 'Lamb of God' (John 1:36) and of the preaching of John the Baptist, until he inwardly dedicated his life to Jesus and only awaited an opportunity to declare his allegiance openly. By this is the apparently abrupt nature of the call, as recorded by the Synoptists, to be explained. After a period of companionship and probationership with his Master, when he is mentioned as being present at the healing of Simon's wife's mother at Capernaum (Mark 1:29-31), he was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles (Matt 10:2; Mark 3:17; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13).
From this time onward he occupied a prominent place among the apostles, and, along with Peter and John, became the special confidant of Jesus. These three alone of the apostles were present at the raising of Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), at the Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36), and at the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42). Shortly after the Transfiguration, when Jesus, having 'steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem' (Luke 9:51), was passing through Samaria, the ire of James and John was kindled by the ill reception accorded to Him by the populace (Luke 9:53). They therefore asked of Jesus, 'Lord, wilt thou that we bid fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?' (Luke 9:54). 'But he turned, and rebuked them' (verse 55). It was probably this hotheaded impetuosity and fanaticism that won for them the surname 'Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder,' bestowed on them when they were ordained to the Twelve (Mark 3:17).
Yet upon this last occasion, there was some excuse for their action. The impression left by the Transfiguration was still deep upon them, and they felt strongly that their Lord, whom they had lately beheld 'in his glory' with 'countenance altered' and 'glistering raiment,' should be subjected to such indignities by the Samaritans. Upon the occasion of Jesus' last journey to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32), the two brothers gave expression to this presumptuous impetuosity in a more selfish manner (Mark 10:35-45). Presuming on their intimacy with Jesus, they made the request of him, 'Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy glory' (Mark 10:37). In the account of Matthew (Matt 20:20-28), the words are put in the mouth of their mother. The request drew forth the rebuke of Jesus (Mark 10:38), and moved the ten with indignation (Mark 10:40); but by the words of their Lord peace was again restored (Mark 10:42-45). After the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, when He 'sat on the mount of Olives over against the temple,' James was one of the four who put the question to Him concerning the last things (Mark 13:3-4). He was also present when the risen Jesus appeared for the 3 rd time to the disciples and the miraculous draught of fishes was made at the sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14).
James was the first martyr among the apostles, being slain by King Herod Agrippa I about 44 AD, shortly before Herod's own death. The vehemence and fanaticism which were characteristic of James had made him to be feared and hated among the Jewish enemies of the Christians, and therefore when 'Herod the king put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church .... he killed James the brother of John with the sword' (Acts 12:1-2). Thus did James fulfill the prophecy of Our Lord that he too should drink of the cup of his Master (Mark 10:39).'
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