Have you ever found yourself skipping the genealogies in the Bible? Or speed reading them? What about the opening lines of New Testament letters? Most of them tell us who the writer is, who they are writing to, and a greeting. Although these introductions feel common and underwhelming, they are important! James 1 starts with:
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1 CSB).
At first look, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. But this is James, the half-brother of Jesus writing this! Why doesn’t he tell us that? It is most likely because James doesn’t think that is the most important connection to His brother Jesus. Instead, the most important relationship to Jesus is that He is Lord of James’ life and is a servant to the Most High God.
But James didn’t always think this way. In John 7, we see that his brothers didn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him (John 7:5 CSB).
In fact, Jesus’ brothers thought He was crazy!
21 When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21 CSB).
I don’t know about you, but if my brother was going around telling people he was God in the flesh, I would also call him crazy. No one would think their sibling was God. What changed?
When the book of Acts opens, we see his brothers were in the upper room praying with the apostles.
14 They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers (Acts 1:14 CSB).
This is the first time we see Jesus’ brothers worshipping Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. So, what changed James’ mind from thinking Jesus was crazy to worshipping Him, as God? Well, right before this, James saw Jesus face to face, ate with Him, and was being taught by Him. Having a meal with your sibling doesn’t seem to weird? Nor does having your sibling telling you what to do. But it is certainly weird when you just watched Jesus die on the cross and get buried in a tomb. The thing that changed for James is that he saw the resurrected Jesus. He was a witness to Jesus rising from the grave. This is one of my favorite proofs of the resurrection because the only thing that could possibly change James’ mind from thinking Jesus was crazy to actually being the Son of God would be Jesus actually raising from the grave. Not only that, but James was also willing to die proclaiming that truth.
My encouragement is to remember that Jesus has truly risen from the grave. He is alive! And it changes everything. Whatever you are going through, Jesus is alive, and therefore there is hope in our lives. Not only is Jesus alive, but He also has given all those who believe in Him new life as well. Love you all, Church! I am excited to worship the risen Savior with you this weekend.
For His Glory,