a light and jocund side of Jesus’ relationship

The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon (excerpts from chapter 3):

When it became clear that Jesus would be completely rejected by official Judaism, he began to lay the foundation of a new community, a remnant qahal or “congregation” (in Greek, ekklesia), united in the foundational confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16–18). When the new community, based on this confession, began to take shape, Jesus provided organizational leadership for it. After a night spent praying about this development, the Savior appointed twelve of these men—commonly called “those sent,” or apostles—to be the patriarchal foundation stones of the new congregation (Revelation 21:14).

…A somewhat closer look at the gospel texts also reveals, I think, how Jesus related to these original disciples—even from the beginning—as “individuals,” as particular men. He does not permit their specific identities to become lost in the group. Philip, Andrew, Thomas, and the others preserve their individual characters. Observe, for instance, how he teases them. Jesus’ irony toward Nathaniel is a perfect example of this. [John 1:45-47]

…What shall we say of the nickname Jesus gave to the two sons of Zebedee: James and John? He called them “sons of thunder,” which in our modern idiom would be “hotheads.” One suspects the brothers received this moniker because of an incident recorded by Luke: And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. But they did not receive him, because his face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And 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, just as Elijah did?” (Luke 9:52–54)

…Luke relished the irony of it: John bar Zebedee had wanted fire from heaven to fall on the Samaritans. He got his wish! The church at Jerusalem sent him—when the time was right—as one of its delegates to call down on the Samaritans the true fire from heaven—the Holy Spirit.

…Peter, when he felt enthusiastic, imagined himself invincible, but he fell miserably when his enthusiasm waned. He readily mistook a rush of adrenaline for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit—a confusion rather common among individuals with too much adrenaline. Rock? Jesus surely recognized the name’s improbability in Peter’s case. The only time this “Rock Johnson” showed any rocklike quality was on that memorable occasion when he attempted to walk on water! In all these instances, we perceive a light and jocund side of Jesus’ relationship with these men, whom he chose “that they might be with Him” (Mark 3:14). With these disciples, Jesus carried himself as a man among men, to whom he was bound by the sorts of habits, attitudes, and discourse in which most normal men establish friendships and maintain loyalties.

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