Summary: a biographical sketch of James
TEXT: LUKE 9:51-56
Sunday, March 21, 2004
That [choir anthem] is hard to follow. That is a great song. If you have seen The Passion of the Christ, it deepens that song and every song about the Crucifixion all the more, doesn’t it? It’s incredible what God did. It does leave you in a sense of quiet contemplation and deep awe of God. We are talking about disciples who had an awe of God as well, the twelve, people who walked with Jesus. Who were they? What kind of people did God pick to serve him? What type of people does God pick to serve him now? Last week we talked about Andrew who was the first disciple (though he gets listed fourth), and we talked about that in the Bible study. What a rip-off that was, Andrew brought Peter, and again Peter excels past him; forever Andrew is known as the brother of Peter, not by ‘Andrew’, but ‘Andrew, the brother of Peter.’ How do you think he might have felt about that?
Well, as you read all the gospels, you discover that Andrew didn’t really care, he didn’t care at all. It didn’t affect him and he had no hint of jealousy. He was probably pretty excited, and relished the fact that his brother Peter really grew in his faith and became a leader of the disciples. It’s this quality - the selflessness of Andrew- that is so admirable about him and he was so proud. It reminds me of the movie Jingle All The Way. If you have seen it, there is one scene where the son just beams, proud of the father. The father has been kind of a lousy father most of his life, but his father finally comes through for him, and the son just beams and he shouts, that’s my father. It is the same type of pride in Peter that Andrew had - it was a selfless pride.
Where does this attitude come from? Well, I think it really came from John the Baptist and his selflessness as well. Andrew learned a long time ago that God and his service were about God and his service and not about himself. It is not about him and he realizes it’s not about him.
Today we are going to learn about someone who didn’t get that; that it is not about him. You know we don’t get it either sometimes. Oftentimes Christian people will say, you know, I came to church but I didn’t get a whole lot out of worship today. I am going to shock you about something -- that’s the point. The point of worship is it’s not about us. It’s about Him. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. Worship is a time where we give God thanks and honor for all that he has done for us. Worship is where we empty ourselves totally and say “God, thank you.”
It’s then, though, that we discover the truthfulness that in giving, you receive, and we empty ourselves in worship. God then fills us and we turn around in our hearts and our mind; all of a sudden in the giving, we discover God has touched us and God is right there - all of a sudden out of the blue.
The same thing is true about marriage, really. So many people say, you know what, I married my spouse and I thought that would make me happy. Now I will shock you again. Marriage will not make you happy. Do I get an “amen” out there? Marriage will not make you happy. It is not intended to make you happy. You’re intended to make the other person happy, not for you to be happy. Marriage isn’t something you get something from, it’s something you give to and then you discover the wonder that in giving you receive - because in giving then you receive. So often we look at marriage as what we are going to get out of it, and when we do that, we become selfish and it works against us. We don’t get much out of it as a result.
Well, we are going to look at James who just doesn’t get this point in his life. He’s a lot about himself and he’s usually the second disciple on the list. I put him third because that is where he ends up in the book of Acts, probably because his ministry was really cut short. He was the first disciple to die. He was martyred by Herod, a group of the first in 43 A.D., you can read this in Acts 12:2. The passage, I think, that typifies this guy [It is not a glowing story, in fact, it really is an embarrassing story, but one thing I like about the Bible is it’s so real, it’s so genuine, it tells us about real people, showing us their flaws as well as their triumphs- we have flaws and triumphs.], is in Luke 9, if you will turn there.