Jesus changed the names of several of His disciples. For example, Simon became Peter and Saul became Paul. On top of that, Jesus gave two of His disciples nicknames that fit their personalities. The Lord referred James and his brother John as The Sons of Thunder.
Those two guys definitely lived up to their new names – John especially!
For instance, there was that time when John and the rest of the disciples were arguing over which of them was the greatest. Jesus’ answer humbled them all. (See Luke 9:46-48.) Then there was the time when John informed Jesus he’d stopped a guy from casting out demons because the guy wasn’t part of their group. Jesus taught John a lesson he’d never forget. (See Luke 9:49-50.) And finally, there was the time when a Samaritan village rejected Jesus, so John and his brother offered to call down fire from Heaven on them in punishment. This time, Jesus flatly rebuked them. (See Luke 9:51-56.)
As you can see, John had no problem being confrontational, and later in life, that attribute served him well as he went head-to-head with false teachers (First and Second John) and even called out a wicked church leader (Third John). But Polycarp, one of John’s students, passed down what might be John’s most entertaining episode that fully revealed the disciple’s colorful personality.
John and several other Christian men were getting cleaned up at a public bath in Ephesus one day, as was the custom at that time, when a man by the name of Cerinthus walked into the bathhouse. Cerinthus was an outspoken heretic and opponent of the church in that city who denied the resurrection of Jesus, and therefore, the deity of Jesus, as well.
When John saw him, the former fisherman leapt to his feet, ran for the door, and shouted, “Cerinthus, the enemy of truth is here! Let us flee before God knocks down the bathhouse on him!”
Evidently, John never stopped being a Son of Thunder.