Summary: Using the change seen in Jesus’ brother James, we show how that affects our changing & growing walk with Christ today.
No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, you did not just suddenly appear there. No, you started as we all start; becoming aware of a need inside your heart that you probably could not explain. Then, you became aware of Jesus Christ, the One known as the Savior and how He could give you all the things you needed but did not have.
And then, with continued information and education, you started to know more about Him and you could start seeing that this was a different kind of journey you were on, and you liked it! You got excited and began looking forward to the next step of your Christian walk. And how far you go on this path depends only upon your love, trust, and obedience, to Jesus.
And you are not alone. There was another man who was quite close to Jesus. Actually, it was one of his brothers; the brother named James. James was not a believer in Jesus and actually joined others in scoffing at Jesus. But in the natural progression of the Christian walk, James went from scoffer to very powerful preacher; from non-believer to totally devoted. We are going to talk about him today, to show that what he went through we go through; and where he ended up we can end up, if we only choose to.
Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about James, the brother of Jesus. Most people know that he was an important member of the church in Jerusalem, but that’s about it. And some may not have even known that.
There are only about a dozen passages that mention James, but the picture of James these few passages reveal tell us quite a bit about him. For one thing, he is one of the few people, other than the apostles, who is mentioned many times in the Gospel.
There is a time when Jesus is well into His earthly ministry and He returns to Jerusalem. Let’s begin there by turning to:
‘He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished. They said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
‘And His sisters; are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’
We learn in this passage that Jesus had at least two sisters, as well as four other brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. We also learn in this passage that the people of Nazareth did not believe in Jesus, and other than his mother, neither did the rest of his family.
We can read more about this in:
Now the feast of the Jews was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, ‘Leave here, and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. ‘For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. For not even His brothers were believing in Him.’
So far, you get the picture of James, a man who mocks his brother Jesus and who Jesus professes to be. This is most clear in this passage out of JOHN 7, where his brothers tell him to show himself to the world as they are all going to the Feast of the Jews.
I’m sure James and his siblings grew up hearing about the angel visiting their mother and everything else about how special Jesus was. No wonder there was some distance between them and Jesus as far as their believing all these stories. After all, it would be akin to having your parent always praise your brother or sister while never praising you. It would be very hard to take, wouldn’t it?
But all that changed drastically right after Jesus was resurrected. We are going to switch now from a non-believing perspective of Jesus to one of great exaltation and love.
Let’s look at what Paul told us about the number of people who saw Jesus after, that’s right – after, Jesus was raised from the dead.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.