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Sermon Series: The 12 Apostles of Jesus

Sermon Number 4

Apostles James (the greater) and John

Link to the other sermon Manuscripts for the 12 Apostle Series:


The Brother’s of Thunder
introducing the apostles James and John
based on Mt 4:21-22,  Luke 9:51-56, Mt 20:20-22), John 3:16 , John 19:25-27
by Rev. Frank Schaefer


Today, I want to introduce two apostles to you that have gone down in the church history books as the “sons of thunder.”  If you have a problem managing your temper or if you live with a person who does, this sermon might be of special interest to you.

James and his younger brother, John, were the second pair of brothers that Jesus called into discipleship, right there on the shores of the lake; they instantly followed Jesus and left their father Zebedee behind with the family fishing business. Mt 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 and John first were disciples of Saint John the Baptist before they followed Jesus.  John and James both held prominent positions among the Apostles. Jesus referred to the pair collectively as "Boanerges" (translated "sons of thunder") [Mk 3:17] [1]

The first time the temper of the two brothers comes to the fore in the Gospel writings is in Luke 9:51-56 when James and John wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town for not being welcoming to them, but they were rebuked by Jesus.

 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them.....

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