At His Feet, except

Gal 1:18, 19
Matt 1:25 Luke 2:7 Matt 13:55-56
Jesus brothers, James, Jose’s, Simon, and Jude.
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (john 3:16) but He was not the only begotten son of Mary. Seven or more children –five boys and at least two girls lived in the house of Joseph and Mary. He lived as the earthly son of both Mary and Joseph (Matt 13: 55, Luke 2:48) for roughly thirty years. He humbly worked as the son of a carpenter in the small village of Nazareth alongside His siblings.
But that is not at all how the Bible depicts our Lord’s childhood.
Jesus appeared in every way to be like any other child. Luke 2:40 summarizes His physical and mental development in these words.
According Hebrews 5:* Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Hebrews 4:15 explain that He was in all points throughout His life tempted as we are, yet without sin… Even as a child, He suffered the constant temptations that come as children living in a fallen world—what the apostle John called’ the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life) I John 2:16)
The difference between Jesus and others was not in normal development and its temptations. Those he faced like everyone (making Him a merciful and faithful High Priest who has been tempted with all the feelings of our weaknesses)
The difference was that He was completely sinless! Like no one who has ever or will ever live, He never had a bad attitude, never disobeyed His parents, never complained about dinner , never bickered within siblings, never lied, never entertained an evil thought, never gossiped about a friend or slandered an enemy, and never wasted a moment of time. And that was true of Him in every situation and form of temptation for His entire life. It was actually through those temptations, over which He always triumphed, that He learned experientially what it was to obey His heavenly Gather in everything all the time. Certainly this absolute holy perfection made Him both the favorite of His parents and the envy of His siblings. The fact that even His lifelong perfection did not persuade His brothers of His Messiah John 7:5 is evidence that they not only envied Him but resented Him.
The only actual, historical glimpse we have into Jesus’ childhood comes from Luke 2″ 40-52, why h describes His visit to the temple at the age we’ve. As they did every year, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, taking Jesus and likely their entire family with them.
After the Passover celebration ended, Joseph and Mary joined the caravan and began the return trip to Nazareth. Never having had reason to question Jesus reliability and responsibility, they simply assumed He was somewhere in the crow, probably walking ahead of them with friends or relatives.\\
Since Jesus was the child they never had to worry about, it was the end of the first days’ journey before they missed Him. Mary and Joseph soon discovered that He had been left behind in Jerusalem. In Luke we see this dramatic scene , by the time Jesus was twelve years old, He had come to a full grasp of exactly who He was and why God had sent Him from heaven to earth. His answer to marry and Joseph, not at all intended as disrespect toward them, was rather a profound declaration that He knew His identity and His mission. By According to Luke 2:51, He continued to be subject to them, and in the eyes of his friends and relatives, He resumed regular life. The normalcy of Jesus’ childhood and early adulthood is confirmed by the fact that when He began His public ministry, His former neighbors in Nazareth did not believe Him to be the Messiah or the Son of God. The familiarity with Him produced disdain in their hearts.”Is this not the carpenter’s son? They asked. “Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James Jose’s, Salmon and Judas (Jude)? And His sisters are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” Matt 13:55, 56. Because they had always assumed that He was a man like other men, even if more righteous, they refused to believe that He was, in actuality, the redeemer of Israel and the world.
Jesus’ brothers were so set in their unbelief that as they watched His ministry, they concluded that the explanation for His outrageous claims was that He was “out of His mind” Mark 3:21 John 7:5] their unbelief was inexcusable. It demonstrated the truth of Jesus’ declaration that á prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives and in his own house.” Mark 6:4. But on the other hand, their skepticism bore testimony to the true humanity of Jesus. Clearly, He had not performed any miracles for them while growing up. His miracle working did not commence until the start of His public ministry, which is why John 2:11 states emphatically that the turning of water into wine was “thru beginning of sings” that Jesus did.
In the face of all this the Lord’s perfect life stood out as truly and mysteriously extraordinary—a dramatically sharp contrast to the behavior of James, Jose’s, Simon, Jude, and their sisters. That such vivid testimony did not convict their hearts and convince them of His true identity is evidence that familiarity breeds contempt” and perfection generates rejection. Incredibly, the glory of God in Jesus produced jealousy in their mind attitudes that turned to scorn and disdain when Jesus began His public ministry. Through history, many younger siblings have resented the high standard of expectation set by the oldest child. But imagine a perfect older brother who never sinned! For the younger brothers of Jesus, their own sinful deficiencies were openly exaggerated by comparison to Him. Like all children, they were disobedient and fell into trouble (and were disciplined as a result) but Jesus never misbehaved. And they were likely hearing from their parents, especially Mary, about how they should follow the example of their older brother. There was plenty of opportunity for seeds of resentment and envy to be planted in their hearts.
Both times that Jesus’ brothers are listed in the gospels, James is mentioned first, suggesting that he was the oldest00likely just a year or two younger than Jesus. As the second-born, James had lived with and felt the difference between himself and Jesus longer than his other siblings. After Jesus left Nazareth and began His public ministry, James became the leader of the family. Mary was clearly a widow John 19:26 27. If so James would have been the spokesman for Jesus’ brothers… the one more active in voicing an attitude of criticism and unbelief. John 7:3—5
No indication is given in any of the four gospels that Jesus’ brothers came to believe in Him during the years of His public ministry. But after His death, resurrection, and ascension, there is a dramatic and miraculous change. His brothers are present among the believers who have gathered in the upper room, awaiting the coming of the spirit at Pentecost. Accord to Acts 1:14 after Jesus ascended to heaven, the apostles “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. James, Simon, James, and Jude, no longer antagonistic, had come to believe in Him as Messiah and Lord.
What had produced this miracle? How had His recalcitrant brothers—and James in particular—come to saving faith so that they joined the ranks of those who followed Jesus? The amazing answer is found in 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul surveyed the post resurrection appearances of our Lord. 3—7 verses… After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. First by Peter, then twelve and over five hundred brethren at once, then James then by all the apostles.
Jesus personally appeared after His resurrection to James what a stunning reunion that must have been. Undoubtedly, it was the moment of James conversion and explains why he was among the believers in the upper room. He had seen the resurrected Christ and confessed his brother as Lord.
So James the stubbornly skeptical second born son of Mary came all the way to saving faith in his older half brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through a post0resurrection appearance. Thus a jam was there when the church was founded on the Day of Pentecost, and it would not be long before he would rise to a strategic leadership role. Jesus other brothers, too, became instrumental members of the early church. Jude, for sample, would write the New Testament epistle that bears his name. The New Testament does not reveal much about the personal life of James. He was from Nazareth, of course. We can guess that, like Jesus, he was trained as a carpenter under the tutelage of his father Joseph. As a Galilean, he spoke not only Aramaic but also Greek, which explains the excellent Greek found in his epistle. From Paul statement in 1 Cor 9:5we also learn that he was married. Although he had known Jesus for over three decades, he did not believe in Him until his risen brother graciously appeared to him and saved him. At the establishment of the church, James was poised for usefulness in ministry.
After the inauguration of the church on the Day of Pentecost, became the twelve apostles were frequently away preaching the gospel, James eventually became the preeminent leader of the church in Jerusalem. To borrow a contemporary team, he became its lead pastor. A couple of New Testament passages allude to the vital position into which James was placed. For example, three years after Paul’s/ conversion, and about five years after Pentecost, the former Pharisee went secretly to Jerusalem to see some of the church’s foremost leaders. Significantly he met only with Peter and ‘James, the Lords brother Gal 1 18 19 several years later, when Peter was miraculously released from prison, he instructed the believers who had prayed for him to “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren Acts 12{17 Because James had become the focal point of the church leadership at Jerusalem, any significant church related matters needed to go through him.
Jesus’ friendship was made explicit at the pivotal Jerusalem Council, which settled a major theological controversy in the early church regarding the essence of the gospel. It was stimulated when in AD 49 after completing their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas came into conflict with legalistic teachers who insisted that Gentile Christians must practice certain aspects of Judaism in order to be saved. Acc to Acts 15:1, certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” These false teachers, known in church history as the JUDAIZERS, were combining the worse of the Mosaic Law with the grace of the gospel. As a result, they were destroying grace Rom 11:6 and preaching another gospel altogether Gal 1:8-9
The issue was obviously critical since it dealt with the very heart of the gospel and salvation. So a council was called, and Paul with Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem in order to meet with the twelve apostles and the church leaders in Jerusalem. With reference to this visit, Paul described James as one of the “Pillars” of the church Gal 2:9, alongside the apostles Peter and John.
Acts 15: 4—30 details the specific role James played in giving direction to the Jerusalem Council. After Paul and Barnabas related the salvation that God was granting to the Gentiles, as the gospel of grace was preached totem v 4 hostile Jewish legalists countered with these demands: “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.” V 5 That emphasis on works again brought the crux of the argument into focus. So” the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter”v6
A lengthy debate and discussion ensued, after which the apostle Peter expressed the decision of the Council== stating that all believers, whether Jew or Gentile, are saved by grace through faith alone. In verses 7—11 Peter explained,
Men and brethren you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.
As Peter’s statement makes clear, sinners are forgiven and reconciled to God through faith; Salvation is granted by God’s sovereign grace, not by man’s observance of the works of the Law.
When Peter had finished speaking, James also gave a response that carried the full weight of authority, not only because he was the leader of the Jerusalem church and the one presiding over the council, but because it was the Holy spirit who had guided the decision of the council v 28. James’s words echoed those of Peter, rejoicing in the fact that the Lord had ” visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name” v 14 With the council ‘s decision finalized, James sent Paul and Barnabas back to a Antioch with a letter, informing the Gentile Christians of the Spirits’ leading in their discussion.
The clear verdict was that salvation did not require them to be circumcised nor to observe the Law of Moses v 24
Even at this early stage in the life of the church, the gospel of divine grace had come under attack from those who insisted on a false system of legalistic works. The Holy Spirit used the leadership of the Jerusalem church to defend the truth about salvation. At the very center of that defense was James, the brother of Jesus.
James’ prominence in the Jerusalem church is highlighted one at time in Acts 21:18 Almost a decade after the Jerusalem Council, Paul returned to Jerusalem around AC 57 This time he was to be arrested, imprisoned and eventually sent to Rome for trail But when he first arrived in the city, Paul meant with “James and all the elders” of the Jerusalem church to report what God was doing amount the Gentiles. Once again, we see James leadership position in the church clearly demonstrated.
James is not mentioned again in the record of Acts. But according to church tradition, he was martyred around Ad 62 When the Roman procurator Proclus Festus died, there was a brief time gap before the next Roman governor would be installed in Judea. During that transition period, the Jewish high priest took advantage of the lack of imperial oversight and had James arrested under the authority of the Sanhedrin. The notable Christian leader was then accused and convicted of breaking the law and sentenced to die. According to ancient accounts, James was thrown off the edge of the temple, then stoned and beaten to death by an angry mob.
In looking back over his life, it is difficult to overstate the static importance of James’s influence. He led the infant church during a very tense and critical time. T eh church was newly born and emerging out of Judaism… Many Jewish Christians were still holding on to elements of their religious past such as going to the temple to participate in the ceremonies, festivals, and activities so familiar to them… but a shift toward freedom was slowly taking place. Moreover, believers were starting to reach Gentiles with the gospel. In so doing, they wanted to emphasize the liberty that exists in Christ, but without offending overly scrupulous Jews. Its little wonder that threw was confusion surrounding the law during this period of transition from Israel to the church
James ministry, along with the twelve apostles, was critical in setting the church on the right foundation. A major cornerstone in that regard came at the Jerusalem Council where Peter, James, and the other apostles and elders clearly affirmed the gospel of grace as the true gospel.
In many ways, James was the first model pastor. Unlike the twelve apostles, who eventually left Jerusalem to take the gospel throughout the world, James never left. He stayed with the church he loved, leading it faithfully for over thirty years until the day he was killed
His commitment to the flock under his care never wavered. He was characterized by commitment to the truth but also by compassion for the conscience of his fellow Jews who were still sensitive to the traditions of Judaism. That he had shepherd’s heart is seen not only in how he cared for the church, but also in what he wrote—the epistle that bears his name.
Although there are several men named James in the New Testament, only two were prominent enough to be reasonably considered as author of such an authoritative letter as the epistle of James. The first possibility, James the son of Zebedee and brother of John, was the well-known disciple and apostle of Jesus. However, since Herod Agrippa I killed him before this epistle was written (Acts 12:2) he cannot be the author.
That leaves our subject, James the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church, as the only viable candidate for authorship, and the weight of the evidence backs up that conclusion. His relation to Jesus and to the Jerusalem church put James in unique position of spiritual authority, befitting the author of this canonical book. Additionally, a number of unique linguistic parallels exist between James’s speck in Acts 15 and the content of the epistle, strongly linking the two. And evidence from Christian leaders in early church history confirms that they believed James, the brother of Jesus, to be the author.
The epistle was written to Jewish believers who had fled from Jerusalem, probably in response to the persecution instigated by Herod around AD 55. The letter does not mention the events of Acts 15 and the Jerusalem Council, which suggests that it was written before AC 49. Thus James likely penned this letter in the mid= tolate-49. Making it the first New Testament book written, with Galatians written second (in the early 50)
Even a quick read through the epistle of James evidences its strong emphasis on application—a characteristic that reflects the shepherding heart of its author. In fact, from this letter, we can discern at least five notable character traits about James himself.
First, James was a man of true humility. This is evident because, although he was the son of Mary, the half brother of Jesus, and the leader of the Jerusalem church, he began his letter by describing himself simply as ” a bondservant ( literally, slave ) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ . James 1:1 He made nomination of his familial relationships or his prominent position in Jerusalem. Rather, he emphasized that he was the slave of God and of the Lord Jesus. What an amazing testimony, especially as a younger brother!! In the Old Testament, the term slave of God was considered a title of honor and privilege. Such notable men as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and Elijah were called by that name—indicating their whole-hearted devotion and sacrificial service to the Lord. By assuming that title, James was identifying himself with those whose value and honor came not from them, but from eh one to whom they submitted.
Second, James was a righteous man. In fact, he is known in church history as “James the Just.” Appropriately, the theme of righteous living permeates his epistle. In just five chapters, he packed fifty imperatives—repeatedly commanding his readers to embrace a life of submissive obedience to God and His Word. His letter stresses the application of truth, emphasizing the spiritual fruit that should characterize the life of every true Christian. As a pastor, James had seen the devastating effects of pride, anger, selfishness, favoritism, materialism, and divisiveness with the church. He wrote to warn his readers to avoid those sin-laden traps.
Third, James was loving pastor. He appears an s a man of great compassion and sympathy, especially toward the poor and destitute. He showed no tolerance for favoritism in the church; instead he encouraged unity within the body of Christ. The church, he wrote, ought to be a fellowship of rich and poor in which the needs of each are met and communication is characterized by heavily wisdom. There must be true oneness, as believers submit to their elders and faithfully pray for one another. He saw the church as a group of people who ought to humbly love one another. He even referred to them as his “beloved”
Fourth, James was a man of the Word and prayer (Acts6:4) His mastery of Scripture is seen in the fact that his short letter contains four direct quotes from the Old testament and more than forty Old Testament allusions. It also includes a number of pallells to the Sermon on the Mount, thereby echoing the teachings of Jesus. He urged his readers to listen to and obey the Word, and not tube forgetful hearers. His commitment to prayer is emphasized at both the start and end of his letter. In chapter 1, he instructs his listeners to ask God for wisdom in the midst of trials. In chapter 5, once more in the context of sickness and trials, he urges them to pray like Elijah did , being confident that ” the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” ( James 5:16) Some ancient accounts report that James himself prayed so frequently that his knees became as calloused as those of a camel!
Fifth, James was a theologian. In his one letter, he provided a theology of suffering, a theology of sin and temptation, a theology of falseness, a theology of the demonic world, a theology of the law and faith, a theology of the church, and a theology of theology of God and Christ. He presented Christ as the Source of wisdom, the One before whom all men and women are humbled, the one who controls all history and human destiny, the coming King, and the great Physician. He further emphasized that God is one God, the Creator of the world, the source of righteousness, the object of worship, the guide in true wisdom, the sovereign ruler, the enemy of sin and wordiness, the leader of heaven’s hosts, the judge of all, and the gracious receiver of those who repent.
Though it is only five chapters long, the letter abounds with both profound truth and personal application. Its tone is both personal and pastoral—as would expect from its author. James was amen who practiced what he preached, and who lovingly led that initial generation of believers in Jerusalem to do the same.
Paul in Romans 3:28 explained ” aman is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” He reiterated that same truth in Eph 2 and Titus 3 But in James 2:24 James concluded “that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. ” At first glance, it appears that Paul and James are teaching opposite truth. So how are believers to make sense of the apparent contradiction?
Paul was discussing the ESSENSE OR ROOT OF JUSTIFICATION (with regard to the believer’s standing before God whereas James was addressing the EVIDENCE OR RESULTS OF JUSTIFICATION (with regard to the believer’s life after conversation.) On the one hand, sinners are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. That was Paul’s point, and James agree with him (James 1:17, 18 in fact, that was the issue resolved at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. On the other hand, those who are truly saved will demonstrate in their lives the fruits of repentance; if their lives are fruitless; their profession of faith is false. That was James point, and Paul would have readily concurred with that (rom 6:1, 15) Paul and James were in perfect agreement with one another, they were merely emphasizing two sides of the same reality; faith and its fruit. As Paul explained in Eph2:8—10/
By emphasizing both FAITH AND THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE. Both Paul and James were echoing the teaching of Jesus. Paul focus on Faith reiterated the truth of Matt 5:3: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their sis the kingdom of heaven. “As the Lord told Nicodemus, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (john 3:16 James emphsiadis on the FRUIT and the ring of Math 7; 21 Not everyone … who … A few verse earlier, Jesus described human behavior with these words, you will know them by their fruits… matt 5:16 17
James and Paul declared that good works as the proof of salvation …not the means to salvation their meetings in acts 15 and 21 confirm the fact that any supposed contradiction between them exists only in the minds of the skeptics.
Like his neighbors in Nazareth Jaes was filled with incredulity and contempt when his older brother claimed to be the Messiah. His skepticism was not due to any imperfection he had seen in Jesus character, but rather to the normalness of Jesus childhood. Perhaps James had held resentment and jealousy, probably based on the striking contrasts between him seen in Jesus character, but rather to the normalness of Jesus childhood Perhaps James had held instements and jealously probably based on the striking contracts between him and his older sibling; those feelings of envy became fully charged when Jesus became a popular public figure.
But the Lord had plans for James. In an act of divine grace after His resurrection, Jesus personally appeared to James. In that act of profound mercy, Christ dispelled James doubt and derision, and he was radically transformed. Christ dispelled James doubt and derision, and he was radically transformed. When he appears in the book of Acts, he is a man with no contempt—but rather one who worships Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Ultimately, James loving loyalty to Jesus was so strong that he gave his life a martyr, rather than deny his brother as his Lord.
When the church was in its infancy, James was entrusted with a critical leadership role. As the transition took place from a predominantly Jewish church to a largely Gentile church, and as the apostles mastered from place to place, a strong leader was needed to provide wisdom and stability to the elders of the church in Jerusalem. James, in the spirits power, did just that.
In his ministry and writings, James is sometimes pitted against the apostle Paul. In reality, however, they were both contending for the same truth. Throughout church history the greatest theological thereat to the church has come in the form of attacks on the true essence of the gospel. That was the primary issue of the Protestant Reformation. It is a battle still being fought today. It was the major doctrinal debate of the early church. And James stands as a hero of providing godly leadership in the minds of that critical struggle and boldly affirming the gospel of grace, while also declaring that he Holy Spirit will produce righteous works in the lives of those people who are truly saved.
We began this chapter by asking what it must have been like to grow up with Jesus. On the flip side, we might point out that in eternity past Jesus Himself chose who his brother’s sisters would be. As the Creator john 1:3 he predetermined the family in which he would live for thirty years. He actually created James to be His younger half brother, having also soverriegnly chosen him to be His spiritual brother Heb 2:11 Jesus even designed James with the qualities he would need so that he could be given to the Jerusalem church as their first lead pastor Eph 4:11
The Lord created, called, saved, and equipped James for usefulness in manifesting His glory. He does the same for all believers Rom 8; 29 Like jams; we were all filled with contempt and hatred toward God at one time. But if we have come to saving faith in Christ, wee too have each been forgiven and equipped for spiritual service we must feet to our faith. Faithfully living in submissive obedience to the Word of God. In such living, our own story will unfold to the honor of the Lord Jesus who is not ashamed to make us part of His family Rom 8: 16-17

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Hello All! I am a retired Lecturer, Former Air Hostesses, and a writer. I love to share MY STORIES, WITH MY GOD.

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