One of the Bible studies this quarter in our Women's Group at church is Beth Moore's new study on James, the half-brother of Jesus. Therumor mill has it that the Epistle of James to the Twelve Tribes scattered abroad was probably one of the first books of the Bible written, yet one of the last to be added to the completed Book.
As a matter of fact, this pillar of the early Church was not popular with another pillar, Martin Luther. He did not like the Book of James and instead longed to "throw Jimmy into the stove." How's that for saying what you think?!?
James is someone I can truly relate with on many levels. Can you imagine what it was like growing up with Jesus as a sibling? I can't. When I think about the shenanigans my sisters and I pulled that almost made our parents pull out their hair AND their teeth, I would have been the first the roll my eyes and tell my half-brother, Jesus, to "get a life, bro." "Have some fun?" "Go TP the neighbor's yard on Halloween! Tease the little girls on the playground. Pass a note in synagogue." The question was asked yesterday in class what must it have been like to have Jesus as a sibling? The first thing out of this mouth was "party pooper!". Some of the other's answers were more well thought out than mine.
One woman answered the question with "Conflicted. Conflicted because good old mom and dad said Jesus was God. He never misbehaved, never got into trouble, had the right answer for everything, always told the truth, played well with others, loved his mother and his earthly father, treated his sibling well no matter what they did to or for him, never answered in anger. Sinless. Goody two shoes, as it were. This must have been difficult on one level, yet when being the recipient of such love and genuineness, the response was probably in kind. So as much as it might have perturbed his sibling that he was "Number One Son" in more ways than one, it probably also warmed him to their hearts as well.
James was a hold out. Some people have confused him with James, the brother of John, as did I until I got into the meat of the Word. He wasn't a doubter; he just plain old didn't believe Jesus was God. Then he received a visit from his brother and all his disbelief flew right out the window. His shackles and blinders were gone and he was no longer a slave to the law, as a cardholding member of the local synagogue, but a slave to the Lord Jesus Christ. He remained a cardholding member of the synagogue, as did most of the first believers, but used his time there to pray for unbelievers, at least according to the study I am a part of now. His writing held nothing back, "Faith without works is dead. The faith we live is what faith we possess." I look forward to meeting James, the half-bro in Glory.
Interesting message, Hazel. Jame was one of the earlier books of the New Testament, penned between 50-60 A.D. The 12 tribes indicates his audience was probably early jewish converts who were just learning the gospel of Christ. This is a great book on basic Christian fundamentals, full of timeless truths!