Week 22 Chapter 15
Sons of Thunder, or Running Ahead of God
This chapter sets the pace for Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem, where He will give His life for our sakes. It is ironic that Jesus’ attitude is so contrary to the attitude of His disciples. It is because He is Almighty God as well as human that He need not worry about power. Instead, He is able to give Himself to us in full humility. The disciples as we have seen are not there yet.
Jesus called James and John the “sons of thunder”. It was very fitting for them since their bravado and ambitions often showed them to be just a lot of noise. Jesus on the other hand, showed a consistent pattern of love to all He encountered, and was not bothered by the activities of men. His pride never got hooked, and the only people that angered Him were His own people.
It is interesting to note the contrasts between the lofty ambitions of the twelve and the intentional solemnity and solidarity of purpose that Jesus revealed in His journey to the cross.
Jesus gathers, man scatters
Love versus Power-
Jesus’ motivation was always from the standpoint of love, whereas the disciples often appeared to be power-driven. They failed to see that God wanted them to have compassion on others and not focus on their petty squabbles.
Fruit of man versus Fruit of the Spirit–
The fruit that Jesus produced was from the Holy Spirit. The disciples often viewed what they had done as “self-produced.” They did not have the faith they needed because they were depending on themselves to get it.
Regulation versus Redemption
The disciples, similar to Pharisees, were often focused on rules. They wanted everyone to conform to what they saw as the way things ought to be. Jesus on the other hand, was totally aware that man, on his own, could do nothing. Jesus and His compassion for His people, caused Him to act in a redemptive way to all. He did not try to change the personality of those who followed Him; He just refined it. He tolerated the present to affect the future
Protection versus Persecution– The disciples were all about finding people to convict. They were getting even for the persecution they had experienced at the hands of others. Jesus, however, aimed to protect His people from others as well as themselves.
Faith versus Force– The motivation for the disciples was to force others to see their way of thinking and to rebuke others for being “wrong”. Jesus in contrast, always moved in faith knowing that He would not lose any of those whom God had given Him to redeem.
Human Anger versus Righteous Indignation– A lack of success in their endeavors often kindled anger in the disciples; they wanted people to accept their views. On the other hand, Jesus only got angry when the people who already knew Him misrepresented Him, and took advantage of the grace that God had given them..
Inclusive vs. Exclusive– the disciples saw certain people as ‘in’ and others as ‘out’. Jesus saw all people as valuable and sought to redeem all who would listen. It is His desire that none should perish. He would include all who wanted to accept Him.
Grace at the center……The primary difference between Jesus and His twelve was grace. Grace is a gift, and not the “Holy Grail” that we need to defend with vengeance. It belongs to everyone, the good and the bad. Until Christ comes back, and ends this life on Earth, God’s grace is given to all people. Jesus knew that. Jesus loves everyone. It is we, who think we own Him, that often cause the trouble. Today, while you still have time, won’t you think about the contrasts above and try, one day at a time, to represent Jesus instead of the twelve? Try it, you’ll like it!
See Ya Next Time