Summary: A disciple ministers in the place of Jesus Christ. Where He cannot go, we go in His place.
1. James the Less is one of those persons who seems to fall between the cracks of history.
2. His father is named Alphaeus (Mt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15).
3. His mother was also a follower of Jesus and was one of the women at the cross (Mt. 27:55-56, 61; Mk. 15:40).
4. Sometimes referred to as James II.
5. He was probably little, or small in stature.
6. What impact would it make on James to be the shortest among the 12 men? Small men compensate in different ways.
a. Zacchaeus overcame his smallness by climbing a tree to get to Jesus.
b. Who else in history was short? Napoleon, Emperor Edward Gaedel (1925, Baseball), Gary Coleman (TV), Tom Thumb (circus), Danny DeVito (TV), Voltaire (Philosopher), Houdini (Escape), Genghis Khan (Emperor).
7. James the Less is called “the unknown disciple.”
B. WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?
1. A disciple is identified with his Lord. Jesus called His twelve disciples, “That they should be with Him” (Mk. 3:14).
2. A disciple follows the words of Jesus. “If you continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
3. A disciple reflects love. A second qualification, “…that ye love one another as I have loved you . . . by this shall all men know that ye are My disciples” (Jn. 13:34-35).
4. A disciple reflects fruit. “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (Jn. 15:8).
5. A disciple assisted the ministry of Jesus Christ.
a. Cast out demons (Mt. 17:14-21).
b. Fed the multitudes (Jn. 6:1-14).
c. Baptized (Jn. 4:8; Mt. 26:19).
d. Looked after His physical needs (Jn. 4:8; Mt. 26:19).
e. Brought people to Jesus (Jn. 12:20-22).
f. Performed miracles (Mt. 10:1).
g. Preached (Mt. 10:7).
6. A disciple ministers in the place of Jesus Christ. Where He cannot go, we go in His place.
C. WHY GOD USED THE “SMALL”
1. The “First-Last” principle. That which is considered small or lost in human perspective is promoted to a high priority in God’s sight.
2. The “Power-of-the-Small” principle. Why does God use the foolish, the weak, the base (the small) as emphasized in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29?
a. To get glory to Himself.
b. Because the small will depend more on God.
c. Because the small will be more zealous.
d. Because the small will work harder to accomplish results for God.
3. The “Faithfulness-Fruitfulness” principle. Those who are most faithful will be the most fruitful for God.
4. The “Conditional-Continuation” principle. To become a disciple, God places a conditional “if” upon us. “If ye continue” is a conditional challenge. “Ye shall be My disciples” is the continuation.
D. SMALL IN SCRIPTURE
1. Elijah heard God’s voice. “A still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).
2. Zachariah, “Despise not the day of small things” (Zech. 4:10).
3. “A small rudder makes a huge ship turn” (James 3:4, NLT).
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
All PBC lessons are available online at trbc.org/pbc. Go to www.Hopenow.tv for the current program schedule.
Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com