Teaching on James Part 1
Palm Beach Men’s Bible Study Group July 13, 2011
Today we will talk about James and why his story is so compelling to all Christians. Why is it compelling? Because it is a very human story, a story that in so many ways traces and replicates the experiences we all have had in coming to Christ. You see, the truth is that most of us do not have one magic moment, a Road-to-Damascus moment, like St. Paul experienced, in our coming to Christ. Even in St. Paul’s case it must be said that after Christ appeared to him in the year 35 AD, he spent three years learning, studying, praying to the Holy Spirit, before he re-appeared and asked to be introduced to the church in Jerusalem. So even for Paul the road to Jesus was a road of commitment, of humility, of practicing what God’s word says(as taught by Jesus), and he was already a devout a Jew, a Pharisee in fact, who knew the Old Testament well before his coming to Jesus.
So, as we talk about James the Just this morning, the brother of Jesus, let us learn from his experiences too. Let us be mindful that coming to Christ is not an-all-in-one-magic-moment experience, where God picked us and saved us and now we are done. It is, rather, a road of gradually understanding Jesus, of studying and reflecting upon God’s Word, of practicing a life that is lived according to that Word. And that God will come to us, perhaps at only key points in our travel, to strengthen us in our pursuit of Him. While the life of James teaches many lessons, this is one very fundamental one.
First we will look at the transformation of James, a brother of Jesus, from doubter and disbeliever to Believer and leader of the early Christian Church in Jerusalem. And then we will look at what it is that makes James a pillar of Christianity.
So who was James? He was not James the Elder who was one of the Twelve, and an Apostle of Jesus. And he was not James the Younger. James the Just was in fact the second-born son of Mary and Joseph. Jesus was the first, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of Mary. We are told in the New Testament that Jesus had four brothers, James, Joses, Judas and Simon, plus several sisters. The New Testament does not tell us much about James’ childhood, so we do not know where he was or what he did while Jesus was preparing Himself for His mission.
What do we know of James’s travel to Jesus? As we study his road to becoming a saved Christian, we will see that there are three distinct phases to his trip: a) his childhood and life up to the time of the Crucifixion b) his transformation to a follower of Jesus after the Crucifixion, and to a leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and c) his becoming a pillar of the Christian faith