Summary: The life of James, the half-brother of Jesus, is a great example for us to follow. Even though initially he didn’t believe in Jesus, he went on to trust Him as Saviour and Lord, and became a passionate, committed disciple of Jesus.
JOURNEY THROUGH JAMES #1: THE HALF-BROTHER OF JESUS
INTRO TO TOPIC:
• Can you imagine what it would have been like to share a bunk bed with Jesus as a kid?
• When I was a kid, I had two younger sisters, so I never had to share a room with them.
• Maybe Jesus and his brothers climbed trees, fished and played ball games together.
• One of Jesus’ brothers wrote a book that we’re going to study for the next two months.
“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.” (James 1:1, NKJV).
• The different James’ in the Bible – mentioned 38 times:
1. One of the 12 disciples: James, the son of Zebedee, brother of John (Matt. 4:21).
2. Another one of the 12 disciples: James, the son of Alphaeus (Matt. 10:3).
3. James, the son of Mary and Joseph, the half-brother of Jesus.
• “The author identifies himself as James, and he was probably the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem council.” (NASB Study Bible, James: Introduction Notes).
• “Tradition has ascribed the book to the Lord’s brother, and there is no reason to question this view.” (Spirit Filled Life Bible, The Epistle of James).
THE BIG IDEA: The life of James, the half-brother of Jesus, is a great example for us to follow. Even though initially he didn’t believe in Jesus, he went on to trust Him as Saviour and Lord, and became a passionate, committed disciple of Jesus.
THE LIFE OF JAMES: THE HALF-BROTHER OF JESUS:
1. Jesus’ brothers thought He was crazy.
“But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind…” Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, "Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You."” (Mark 3:21,31-32, NKJV).
• Jesus’ family thought He had lost His mind because He kept saying He was God.
• If your brother started saying this, would you be concerned?
• “Really? I knew he had a high self-esteem, but God? Wow!”
• We would call this an intervention today! They thought He was crazy.
• Some of you might think about Jesus the same way His family once did:
o But they progressed from thinking He was crazy and not believing in Him.
2. Jesus’ brothers were offended by Him.
“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses (Joseph), Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" And 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.” (Mark 6:3-4).
• Notice Jesus grew up in a big family – four half-brothers and at least two half-sisters.
• Side-note: One of his brothers was named Judas: What a bummer for him, hey?
3. Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him:
“Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” (John 7:2-5).
• Jesus did eventually go to the big city where He worked miracles and claim He was God.
• After this, Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be God. His family was at His funeral. Then He rose from the dead.
4. James saw Jesus raised from the dead:
“After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.” (1 Cor. 15:7).
• After this, James became a faithful follower of Jesus and a leader in His church.
• The life of James after the resurrection is one of the greatest testimonies to the reality of Jesus’ having been raised from the dead.
5. James was a leader in the Early Church:
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (Acts 1:14).
• James and his brothers and mother knew all about Jesus. If they didn’t really believe He was God, they wouldn’t have been a part of the 120 in the early church!
• Jesus’ brother Jude also became a leader in the church: “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James…” (Jude 1:1a).
• Jesus’ brothers James and Jude both became powerful pastors and leaders in the church.