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James (the brother of Jesus)

James (the brother of Jesus) - Character Sketch


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 6:4)

Imagine having a perfect brother: one who always had the right answers; one who never deserved a spanking.  What if he had a big following, stirred up trouble, and claimed to be God? (Imagine having a brother who seemed to you to be out of his mind! )  Surely jealousy and anger were a part of everyday life among Jesus' brothers.

Jesus' brothers did not believe in him: John 7:3-5 states, "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 open. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.' For even His brothers did not believe in Him."  James was likely the eldest of Jesus half-brothers.  In fact the Bible tells us that not only did they disregard his claims, they 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.'"

Little else is recorded about Jesus immediate family during Jesus' earthly ministry.  The Bible tells us in Acts that the brothers of Jesus were gathered in the upper room following Jesus' ascension, where they continued in prayer and supplications with the apostles and other early believers. What happened between Jesus ministry and his ascension that caused them to change their minds?  The resurrection! Jesus appeared to James after the resurrection; that resurrection power changes everything. In  1 Corinthians we are told that Jesus appeared to James in His resurrection form; upon seeing Jesus alive again, James and the other brothers could no longer deny his identity. What powerful impact their faith had on the rest of the world!

James was a pillar of the early church: he presided over the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 (leading the decisions about Gentile evangelism and avoiding legalism), and He was the author of the book of James. In contrast to what seems an impressive spiritual resumé, James proclaims himself "a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ," (James 1:1).

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