Lesson 2: James: A Fisherman
The twelve apostles were chosen by Jesus. There were two sets of distinctive brothers, Andrew and Peter and James and John, who were called to follow Jesus. Each of them was prominent fishermen by trade. Jesus’ calling required them to forsake their old lives and to follow Him. The new ambition of James and the other apostles was to become fishers of men.
Calling the Disciples
Following Jesus begins with seeing yourself as a helpless sinner. Each one of the men Jesus called to become the twelve apostles became spiritual leaders through His teaching. In Mark 1:17, “Come, follow Me”, Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of people”.
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The call to discipleship involved immediacy (Mark. 1:20). Even though Zebedee and his son’s had a wealthy fishing business, Jesus was now calling for them to leave their ship and livelihood (Luke 14:33). Carson states, “Indeed, Peter’s protest in 19:27 implies that many or all of the Twelve had given up much to follow Jesus.” Besides their fishing business, many left their father as well as wife and children behind. Keener states, “To abruptly leave one’s family and the family business was a great sacrifice that went against everything the culture taught.”
The Ordination Called for Action
So far the apostles call involved leaving and following; but, next the apostle’s ordination would involve communion, growth, and labor. The Ordination found in Mark 3:14 define the three functions of the apostles: to be with Him, to be sent out to preach, and to share Jesus uncanny mastery over physical and spiritual disorder. Alford defines ordained as: “The literal sense of the word rendered ordained is made: i.e. nominated, - set apart.”
The action of communion meant spending time with Jesus. In order to do this, the Apostles had to live with Jesus, travel with him, converse with him, and learn from him.” Secondly, the action of expansion meaning to send forth: Wessel states, “The training was not an end in itself. They were to be sent out.” Lastly, the Apostles were to pursue an action of labor and to preach. The Greek word for “preach” is used 61 times in the KJV and is translated to the English word “preach” 51 times with a total of 14 occurrences in the Book of Mark. In Mark we note the fulfillment regarding Jesus ordination of the twelve to preach, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen (Mk.16:20).”
James and John: Renamed “Sons of Thunder” (Mk. 3:17)
Jesus gives the name “sons of thunder” to James and John probably because they were headstrong, hot-tempered and impulsive. On one occasion (Luke 9:54), Jesus and the disciples were refused the hospitality of a Samaritan village. James and John proposed to call down fire from heaven on the offenders. On another occasion (Matthew 20:20-23), they asked Jesus for a special place of honor in the Kingdom and were told that the place of honor is the place of suffering. Vincent clarifies the term “sons of” as follows: “The phrase, sons of is a familiar Hebrew idiom, in which the distinguishing characteristic of the individual or thing named is regarded as his parent.” This term “sons of thunder” has been given all types of labels; but, they can be classified as either a positive acclamation or a negative one. The brothers zealousness would be harnessed by the Holy Spirit and surrendered to God’s will. MacArthur states, “The Son of Thunder had been mentored by Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and shaped by those means into a man whose zeal and ambition were useful...