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Mark 3:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Sons of thunder - A Hebraism for thunderers; probably so named because of their zeal and power in preaching the Gospel.

The term Boanerges is neither Hebrew nor Syriac. Calmet and others think that there is reason to believe that the Greek transcribers have not copied it exactly. רעם בני beney raam, which the ancient Greeks would pronounce Beneregem, and which means sons of thunder, was probably the appellative used by our Lord: or רעש בני beni reges, sons of tempest, which comes nearest to the Boanerges of the evangelist. St. Jerome, on Daniel 1, gives רעם בני (which he writes Benereem, softening the sound of the ע ain ) as the more likely reading, and Luther, supposing our Lord spoke in Hebrew, gives the proper Hebrew term above mentioned, which he writes Bnehargem. Some think that the reason why our Lord gave this appellative to the sons of Zebedee was, their desire to bring fire down from heaven, i.e. a storm of thunder and lightning, to overturn and consume a certain Samaritan village, the inhabitants of which would not receive their Master. See the account in Luke 9:53, Luke 9:54; (note). It was a very usual thing among the Jews to give surnames, which signified some particular quality or excellence, to their rabbins. See several instances in Schoettgen.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 13-19

For an account of the appointment of the apostles, see the notes at Matthew 10:1-4.

And calleth unto him whom he would - Those whom he chose; whom he was about to appoint to the apostleship. See the notes at John 15:16.

Mark 3:14

He ordained twelve - The word rendered “ordained” here does not express our notion of ordination to the ministry. It means, literally, “he made” - that is, he “appointed” twelve to be with him.

Twelve - The reason why “twelve” were chosen was, probably, that such a number would be deemed competent witnesses of what they saw; that they could not be easily charged with being excited by sympathy, or being deluded, as a multitude might; and that, being destined to go into all the world, a considerable number seemed indispensable. Perhaps, also, there was some reference to the fact that “twelve” was the number of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Mark 3:17

Boanerges - This word is made up of two Hebrew words signifying “sons of thunder,” meaning that they, on some accounts, “resembled” thunder. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. It is not known why this name was given to James and John. They are nowhere else called by it. Some suppose it was because they wished to call down fire from heaven and consume a certain village of the Samaritans, Luke 9:54. It is, however, more probable that it was on account of something fervid, and glowing, and powerful in their genius and eloquence.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ calls whom he will; for his grace is his own. He had called the apostles to separate themselves from the crowd, and they came unto him. He now gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. May the Lord send forth more and more of those who have been with him, and have learned of him to preach his gospel, to be instruments in his blessed work. Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easily bear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will rather lose a meal than an opportunity of doing good. Those who go on with zeal in the work of God, must expect hinderances, both from the hatred of enemies, and mistaken affections of friends, and need to guard against both.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 540

The defects in John's character came strongly to the front on several occasions during his personal association with the Saviour. At one time Christ sent messengers before Him into a village of the Samaritans, requesting the people to prepare refreshments for Him and His disciples. But when the Saviour approached the town, He appeared to be desirous of passing on toward Jerusalem. This aroused the envy of the Samaritans, and instead of inviting Him to tarry with them, they withheld the courtesies which they would have given to a common wayfarer. Jesus never urges His presence upon any, and the Samaritans lost the blessing which would have been granted them had they solicited Him to be their guest. AA 540.1

The disciples knew that it was the purpose of Christ to bless the Samaritans by His presence; and the coldness, jealousy, and disrespect shown to their Master filled them with surprise and indignation. James and John especially were aroused. That He whom they so highly reverenced should be thus treated, seemed to them a wrong too great to be passed over without immediate punishment. In their zeal they said, “Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” referring to the destruction of the Samaritan captains and their companies sent out to take the prophet Elijah. They were surprised to see that Jesus was pained by their words, and still more surprised as His rebuke fell upon their ears: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:54-56. AA 540.2

It is no part of Christ's mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, who seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederated with evil angels sometimes bring suffering upon their fellow men in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. AA 541.1

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 290-7

This chapter is based on Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16.

“And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach.” DA 290.1

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 52-3

The childhood of Jesus, spent in poverty, had been uncorrupted by the artificial habits of a corrupt age. Working at the carpenter's bench, bearing the burdens of home life, learning the lessons of obedience and toil, He found recreation amidst the scenes of nature, gathering knowledge as He sought to understand nature's mysteries. He studied the word of God, and His hours of greatest happiness were found when He could turn aside from the scene of His labors to go into the fields, to meditate in the quiet valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. With the voice of singing He welcomed the morning light. With songs of thanksgiving He cheered His hours of labor and brought heaven's gladness to the toilworn and disheartened. MH 52.1

During His ministry Jesus lived to a great degree an outdoor life. His journeys from place to place were made on foot, and much of His teaching was given in the open air. In training His disciples He often withdrew from the confusion of the city to the quiet of the fields, as more in harmony with the lessons of simplicity, faith, and self-abnegation He desired to teach them. It was beneath the sheltering trees of the mountainside, but a little distance from the Sea of Galilee, that the Twelve were called to the apostolate and the Sermon on the Mount was given. MH 52.2

Christ loved to gather the people about Him under the blue heavens, on some grassy hillside, or on the beach beside the lake. Here, surrounded by the works of His own creation, He could turn their thoughts from the artificial to the natural. In the growth and development of nature were revealed the principles of His kingdom. As men should lift their eyes to the hills of God and behold the wonderful works of His hand, they could learn precious lessons of divine truth. In future days the lessons of the divine Teacher would thus be repeated to them by the things of nature. The mind would be uplifted and the heart would find rest. MH 54.1

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Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 4

Hundreds of thousands of copies of Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing have been printed and distributed in nearly a score of languages since it was first published in 1896. In English-reading countries several editions with identical textual content but with variations in format and pagination have been widely distributed. To eliminate confusion in the use of the volume in reference work, a standard page has been adopted which will serve as the basis of present and subsequent printings. MB v.1

In several former editions, in an endeavor to achieve a certain format, selections from verses of poetry were, with the consent of the author, inserted by the publishers in a number of places throughout the text. In this edition, only poetry selected and made a part of the text by the author herself is retained. The addition of both scripture and subject indexes makes this volume more useful. MB v.2

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