Sons of Thunder and Daughter of the Whine

By Marty Watkin (Mark chapter 3, verses 13-19 Jesus appoints the 12 apostles)

This week in Mark, I’ve been concentrating on the verses where Jesus dubs 12 people his intimates, those with whom he’ll spend the most time in the next 3 years.  In fact, he’ll choose these guys over his own mother (who adores him), members of his own synagogue (wherever that worship community was, exactly), and people who have better social standing, better education, and better jobs.  Really.  How crazy is that.

Two of them are brothers James and John, who get a nickname from Jesus – Sons of Thunder.  Sons of Thunder, powerful and persuasive.  Was their nickname a compliment?  Maybe more of a prediction.  In Luke 9:54 they ask Jesus if it’s okay to take their newly-acquired power to drive out demons and instead use it to destroy some unwelcoming villagers they had just met.  Sons of Overreaction and Conflict.

So, what nickname would Jesus give you, had you been in that intimate group of 12 apostles?  Gentle yet Faithful, or Delightful but Likely to Procrastinate, maybe Tolerant and Forgiving, what?  I am afraid Jesus would call me Daughter of the Whine.  My most automatic reaction to unpleasant circumstances.  And if Jesus called me that, I’d be embarrassed because it’d be so true.  I’d hate it that He knew me well, and I’d try as hard as I could to change that nature of mine to complain and be crabby.

These blustery Sons of Thunder, James and John, don’t yet realize it but they have 3 years to turn themselves around.  3 years to absorb every action of Jesus —  analyze his prayers over meals, discuss why he picks fights with some people but not others.  Jesus chose them along with some other annoying personalities like Simon Peter, hah, the Rock, and Matthew the nerdy and perhaps unethical accountant.  Why didn’t he pick the folks who would have been easier to get along with?  Did his Dad make him choose these 12 – was Jesus not allowed to go with his first choices? And what would it have been like to choose, like Jesus did, an immature, bothersome group of 12 boy-men with which to spend the last and most important 3 years of one’s life.  I feel for Jesus, any Savior really, who has friends like the Sons of Thunder and the equally undesirable Daughter of the Whine.  Gotta be tough work.

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3 Responses to Sons of Thunder and Daughter of the Whine

  1. belindabrugh says:

    I am struck with the realization that the “tough work” continues for Jesus in our Christian communities. The Sons of Thunder, Daughter of the Whine, and Perpetually Parable Perplexed (that would be me) are still gathered around Jesus just like the disciples, muddling about in our efforts to understand and, more importantly, to live his teachings. For the teacher and the disciple, it is tough work, but the teacher is up to the task. He remains faithful at the center of our shared lives. He is the one who unites us all despite our shortcomings and calls us to live and worship in community.

  2. karen evans says:

    In the presence of deity I would probably be perceived as Wide Eyed and Wide Open but like Peter, I confess that I would be mistaken for a Shrinking Violet when confronted outside of my comfort zone. I am can understand why Mark has Jesus rattling off the parables one after another in hopes that one of those stories would answer the question, who do they say He is?

  3. belindabrugh says:

    Speaking of Peter and nicknames…

    Although I knew the Bible verse “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church,” I didn’t connect the dots of information to recognize that Peter is a nickname given by Jesus to Simon the brother of Andrew. I was reading this morning about Peter in one of my favorite books “Peculiar Treasures” by Frederick Buechner who connected the dots for me:

    “The first time Jesus laid eyes on him, he took one good look and said, ‘So you’re Simon, the son of John’ (John 1:42), and then said that from then on he’d call him Cephas, which is Aramaic for Peter, which is Greek for rock.”

    Then Buechner muses about the kind of man Simon Peter might have been:
    “A rock isn’t the prettiest thing in creation or the fanciest or the smartest, and if it gets rolling in the wrong direction, watch out, but there’s no nonsense about a rock, and once it settles down, it’s pretty much there to stay. There’s not a lot you can do to change a rock or crack it or get under its skin, and, barring earthquakes, you can depend on it about as much as you can depend on anything. So Jesus called him the Rock, and it stuck with him the rest of his life. Peter the Rock. He could stop fishing for fish, Jesus told him. He’d been promoted. From there on out people were to be his business. Now he could start fishing for them.”

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