Summary: Just with a few words, he paints a powerful picture of who, he is and who Jesus is!
Verse 1-James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
What is the first thing we do when we receive a letter Most of us look at the bottom of the page to see who signed it before we read it. In ancient days the author would sign his name at the top.
Mark 6:1-6-Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.
And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!
Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
We can see that Jesus was the big brother in the family; but he was a source of embarrassment to them!
It is clear that James and the rest of the family did not believe in Christ during His earthly ministry. But, after the Lord’s death on the Cross-and after His resurrection, some thing wonderful happened to James.
1 Corinthians 15:5-8-and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Because of who he was, you might have expected James to introduce himself—as an Apostle- as the leader of a church in Jerusalem, or as James the brother of Jesus.
If you should ever be foolish enough to feel that you are indispensable to the work of the Lord, just, get a bucket of water and place your finger in it, and then draw it out and see what impression you have really made.
James simply refers to himself as "a Servant" or “a Slave”
Slavery was a common social feature in Biblical times.
Under the influence of Roman law—a Slave was considered to be a person who was owned by another! One without any rights!
A personal piece of property, which belonged to another, and his owner could dispose of him, as and when he so desired.
This, alone, makes it remarkable that James should introduce himself as a slave! Not as an Apostle and the half brother of Jesus. I am James-- a Slave.
In describing himself as such, he chose to use the Greek word "Doulos
A Doulos – was a slave, who had completed his term of service and could have been set free by his master’s control.
However, after considering everything in the world with all its opportunities, the slave concluded that he was better off with his master.
He chose to serve the one who first chose him. His ear was then pierced to signify his new standing.
This mark was called in the Greek—"Stigmata"
The Apostle Paul—used this word in Gal 6:17-From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
When people saw this kind of slave walking down the street, they would note the mark on his ear and say "What a wonderful master he must have!"
"He could have been free", but he has chosen to stay with his master.
James refers to Jesus as Lord.
He acknowledges the Lordship of His Savior—We do not make Jesus Lord—God made him Lord.
When you received Christ as your Savior, you received Him as Lord of your life--
If Jesus is your Lord, then you have no right to set up the rules for your conduct.
If He is absolute Lord and Master of your life, then He is the One who sets the agenda for your life.
This word Lord was not just a courtesy title, which James used, for it is the same Greek word (Kurios)-- which Thomas used when he saw the Risen Christ-
Jesus said—Thomas put forth your hand and put it into my side, and be not faithless but believing. And Thomas answered and said" "My Lord and my God"
James refers to Jesus as Lord