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Zebedee, Sons of


Like Peter and Andrew, James and John were brothers and fishermen. Zebedee, their father, was a leading businessman of fishing. Zebedee had hired men to run the business (Mk 1:20). Jesus had nicknamed James and John as Boanerges, sons of thunder. This was because of their intense passion and enthusiasm.

James and John, along with their mother Salome, had asked the opportunity to sit on both sides of Jesus in his kingdom (Mt 20:20-23). They were also the inner circle of Jesus, along with Peter. These three were the only people allowed to accompany Jesus to witness raising Jairus’ daughter to life (Mk 5:37), to the Mount of Transfiguration (Mk 9:2), and to be close with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk 14:33).


James and John had the natural ambition for prominent position among the apostles. However, the expression of their desire and Jesus’ reply helped all the apostles to understand the genuine spirit of Servant Leadership, a revolutionary idea Jesus introduced that is valuable even now.


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