Brothers James and John are nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus. Both of them seem to be very black and white in how they see things. Based on that, James was probably cheering when Jesus cleansed the temple, when Jesus rebuked the religious leaders, when demonic powers were cast out and defeated, or when the fig tree was cursed for its lack of fruit. James is usually listed after only Peter in the lists of disciples indicating that he was probably another passionate and even forceful personality in their group. Passion can be a blessing and it can be a burden.
What is something that you are passionate about, that gets you worked up or gets you excited? (Note: This isn’t the time to debate those issues, just allow sharing.)
Unfortunately, often when we are passionate it is because something adversely affects or benefits us. As you look at this situation, what was the cost vs. benefit potential for James & John?
Luke 9:51-56 (NASB)
51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem; 52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.
54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they went on to another village.
The tension between Jews and Samaritans was intense. What have you learned about that situation?
Where do you see that kind of animosity and distain in our world today?
Jesus said that these disciples didn’t know what kind of spirit they were aligned with. What do you think that means? What could that look like for us?
Why do you think we sometimes work to destroy instead of save?
What are some ways we can fall in to destroying others with our passion?
Jesus isn’t looking for people who will do His dirty work, but those who will emulate Him. As a disciple of Jesus, how can you show radical love and grace to someone in your life?
If that’s hard to come up with, why do you think that is the case?