Posted by: Michelle Knoll | October 11, 2012

Thirty-One Days of Hearing His Voice {Day 11} – Does the Lord Have a Sense of Humor, Part 2

So yesterday I asked you if you thought the Lord Jesus has a sense of humor.  And I talked about the Canaanite woman who talked with Jesus.

Today let’s talk about two of His closest friends, James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

There’s a lot in the Bible about these two men and their family.  First of all, we know that James and John worked for their father in his fishing business.  Jesus walked by them as they were tending to their father’s nets and told them to follow Him.  So they did.  (I can almost imagine their father calling after them, wondering what in the world was going on.  Can’t you?)

Another interesting tidbit comes up in the gospels about their mother.  In the book of Matthew, Chapter 20, it is recorded that the mother of James and John approached Jesus and asked that her sons be the ones to sit on His right hand and His left.  In other words, she asked that Jesus give her two sons a higher rank than the other disciples.

Can you imagine the slight smile on Jesus’ face as He responds?  “You don’t know what you are asking.”  Oh, yeah, for sure!  She had NO idea what she was requesting for her sons!  And her request really irked the rest of the disciples, too.  But I bet it upset Peter and Andrew the most, since they were close friends and coworkers with James and John.

But then Jesus asks the two brothers, “can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” And you know what they said?  “Yes, we can.”  Oh my!  Can you imagine?  I’m sure the smile on Jesus’ face grew just a bit, as He listened to their response.

Well, their “yes, we can” attitude was indicative of a deeper issue.  They really believed they were top-notch and should be treated as better than the others.  They really had an attitude that needed adjusting, you know?  Let’s take a look at their most famous display of self-righteousness: calling fire down from Heaven on some Samaritans!

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” — Luke 9:51-56

Yes, Jesus did rebuke them over that little blunder.  “You don’t know what spirit you are of!”  Meaning, “Guys!  We don’t act like that!  Get a clue!”  And James and John had to realize they had made a really big mistake even suggesting such a thing.

But in another place in the gospels, we find out that Jesus had a special name for James and John: the “sons of thunder.”  I can see Him watching those two, with their attitudes and their quick decisions to “call down fire.”  I can see the slight smile on His face as He looks at Peter or Andrew and says, “there they go again, those sons of thunder!”  I bet it caused more than a couple of chuckles amongst the disciples.  I’m sure James and John got a lot of ribbing from the others, good-natured though it may have been.

James and John had stuck their noses up in the air one time too many, wanting to be first in line, and wanting to call down fire on people.  Oh, and don’t forget about the time John asked Jesus if they should rebuke the man who was casting out demons but wasn’t a part of their group.  So Jesus brought them down to earth with a little humor by giving them a nickname that fit their personalities perfectly.

Which just goes to show that a little humor can go a long way to teach a lesson.


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