DURING stormy weather, you may hear loud thunder. Has it ever scared you?—* Well, Jesus calls two of his followers “Sons of Thunder.” Let’s figure out why he does.
These two followers of Jesus are James and John. They are brothers, sons of Zebedee and his wife, Salome. Salome is probably a sister of Jesus’ mother, Mary. So Jesus, James, and John may be cousins and may have been good friends as they grew up.
Zebedee is a fisherman, and James and John are too. The two are among the first ones Jesus chooses to be his followers. When he invites them, right away they leave their fishing business and follow him. Later Jesus picks 12 of his followers to be his apostles. James and John are two of these.
A few months before Jesus is killed, he and his apostles are going through the mountain territory of Samaria. It is getting late, and they are all very tired. But the Samaritans say they don’t want Jesus and his apostles to stay overnight with them in their city. Do you know why?— Let’s see.
Jesus and his apostles are Jews, and most Jews are mean to Samaritans. Of course, Jesus never is. He treats them kindly, as James and John should too. But the two disciples become angry with the Samaritans who didn’t welcome them, and they ask Jesus: ‘Do you want us to tell fire to come down and kill them?’ What do you think Jesus says?— He tells them that they are wrong to say such a bad thing! James and John need to learn more about mercy.
Another big problem James and John have is that they want to be first, to be the most important. Shortly before Jesus’ death, they send their mother to him to say: “Give the word that these my two sons may sit down, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Well, when the ten other apostles hear what James and John have done, they are angry. Would you be angry too?—
Probably so. We don’t like it when others want to be first and try to be the most important. Later James and John learn how wrong and unkind they have been, and they change. They become very loving, kind apostles. What can we learn from this?—
A lesson we should learn from Jesus is that we too should be kind to one another. Jesus treated people nicely, including men, women, and children. Will you always try hard to remember his example and follow it?—
If you are reading with a child, the dash provides a reminder to pause and encourage the child to express himself.