It’s daybreak on the sea of Galilee. Five tired fishermen are working with their nets.
A mob slowly descends over the hill like a fogbank rolling down to the sea. Jesus, the Messiah, is in the middle of it. He approached Simon and Andrew and said, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.”
Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets and followed.
Amazing. They left it all. I’ve often marveled at their sacrifice and obedience. Leaving the nets behind meant leaving a life behind. But James and John sacrificed even more.
Notice that when he got to James and John there is an added issue.
Verse 22: they immediately left the boat and their father.
Their dad was named Zebedee. I’ve often wondered how Zebedee felt when his two boys abandoned him and the fishing business. Mark 3:17 holds a clue to the mystery.
(Mark 3:17) and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”)
That comment is more about their father than them. They weren’t the thunder, they were thunder’s sons.
The word is Boanerges. Boanerges is formed from two words: Aramaic for “children.” And Aramaic for “rage.” Children of rage.
Jesus wasn’t talking about the boys; He was talking about the daddy. Zebedee was thunder. Zebedee was rage! When Jesus took his sons, Zebedee thundered.
James and John grew up in a house with a rage-aholic, struggled as many do with a schizophrenic love hate. Like all boys they wanted so much to have their father’s love and approval. They were clearly trying to please him by going into the family business and working hard. And the business was successful. Mark 1:20 says they had hired servants.
But no matter how successful it was Zebedee thought they weren’t doing enough. Zebedee roared at James and John. And he was THUNDERING that day when they walked away. It must have been for them a relief and a terrible weight. How could they walk off from the man they’d spent their lives trying to please?
Here’s what I learned. When those boys followed Jesus they lost their daddy. And that daddy lost his boys. That’s what it takes. Jesus said,
(Luke 14:26) “If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” NLT