Wednesday, May 30, 2012

THE MAN JAMES-- James 1:1

Did you know Jesus grew up in a home where there was rejection and opposition to Him and His ministry?  It is true - He did.  He was Mary's "firstborn son" (Luke 2:7).  She and Joseph, the carpenter, had four other sons later and at least two daughters.

Jesus had brothers and sisters, but He was the "firstborn", miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit, as told by Luke the physician (Luke 1:35).

The brother of Jesus we are most interested in here is James.  In time he became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem.  However, before he held that prestigious position, and before he wrote the New Testament book that bears his name, he was an unbeliever.  He and other member of his family, no doubt his siblings, were offended by Jesus and His ministry (Matthew 13:55, 57-58; Mark 3:31; 6:3).

Think about that for a moment! Jesus, the healer and Friend of sinners, lived in a divided home.  He therefore certainly knew what it meant to have members of His own immediate family oppose, ridicule, and reject Him.  We should find encouragement and help if we have had or are having some of the same experiences in our homes.  Jesus understands and cares for us no matter what our circumstances are.

We do not know for sure when the members of Jesus' family changed their attitude toward Him.  We can be relatively certain, however, that they came to believe on Him sometime after He arose from the dead and before the day of Pentecost.  Support for this is found in the fact that Jesus' brothers, Mary, and the eleven disciples were praying together during this time (Acts 1:14).  Also, after His resurrection Jesus made a special appearance to James (1 Corinthians 15:7).

The Lord's brother was recognized as a leader soon after Jesus ascended back to the Father.  Also, as noted earlier, James became the head of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21).  How different this man was from how he responded to Jesus and His ministry earlier! In the Bible book that he wrote, we find him being used mightily for the Lord.  Eusebius, an early church father, also tells us that James' knees had grown hard like a camel's knees because of his constant kneeling in prayer. 

-- Dr. Robert Lightner, pages 2,3, Solid Stepping Stones
(used with permission)