Friday, May 6, 2011

The Sons of Thunder

I was reading yet another great blog post from Kevin Weatherby over at a couple of days ago when I was reminded of one of the greatest nicknames ever bestowed upon a human being.  In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 3, we read a synopsis of Jesus calling the 12 disciples.  If you are like me, the disciple you can relate to the most is Simon Peter- because he was as big a screw-up as we are, yet Jesus built the church on his faith.  I would love to be a Simon Peter.  But also among the 12 are the brothers James & John, the sons of Zebedee.  Let me press pause and say that if the story ended there, James & John would already be awesome, because Zebedee may be the best name ever!  I would have fought to name my son Zebedee, but I enjoyed living with my wife and didn't want to spend all of my time praying to the patron saint of lost causes.  Still, just being the sons of Zebedee would have been cool enough.  But Jesus gave them a nickname that transformed them into rock stars. He called them "Boanerges," which means Sons of Thunder.  While no explanation is given in scripture, it is assumed by scholars (and me!) that this nickname was a reference to their bold and zealous personalities - illustrated by a later incident in which they wanted to "call down fire from heaven" to destroy the people of a Samaritan village who had refused to allow Jesus and His apostles to pass through on their way to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-56).  These guys knew what it meant to be passionate for Jesus.  They had the fire in their eyes.

And clearly their Master knew this. James & John were always there (along with Peter) when Jesus needed his "inner circle."  James would go on to be the first of the disciples to be martyred (Acts 12:2) and John would write his "revelation" from prison on the island of Patmos.  These were men who gave their lives to Christ, not just in word, but in deeds- in big, honkin', passionate deeds. 

So as I told Kevin the other day, I want to be part of a 21st century chapter of the Sons of Thunder.  This would be a group of believers who understand that following Jesus is everything. They would understand that being a people of love, grace and peace is not a weakness, but a bold stance for our Savior in this world we live in.  The modern Sons of Thunder should be a radical presence for Jesus in our communities, and a passionate thorn in the side of the institutional church.  I am not much of a joiner, but this is a group I want to be a part of- and soon!  I know I am not alone.  Kevin says he is in- and we are looking for more folks (male & female!) with the cajones to call down fire from heaven when the occasion calls for it.  Accepting such a call is not without risk.  Your passion may offend your neighbors and other Christians.  The love and grace you offer to others may baffle them.  You may be called upon to sacrifice for the cause.  You may receive a vision from God that will confuse people for the next 2000 years.  But when it comes to following Jesus, I am ready to make some noise.  I want to bring the thunder...

Let's be bold together and change the world.  Let's be radicals for Christ.  The 1st century Sons of Thunder helped turn their world upside down. The modern version could do the same.  If you're in, leave me a comment and let me know.  Seriously.  It's going to be a wild ride.  And we're going to have AWESOME t-shirts...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous5/06/2011

    TOTALLY IN!!! Do I have to fill out an application or can I just dive in head first?

  2. Anonymous5/06/2011

    Count me in...I'm trying to be more bold like they were anyhow. This may help that.

  3. Bold is what we are shooting for, and a Son of Thunder wouold always dive in head first! Welcome aboard the movment!

  4. I'm in. My wife would tell ya that bein' a thorn in the side is one a my strengths.

  5. Welcome aboard, Don. Thorns are always welcome here!


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