Thursday, February 9, 2012
Introduction to James
Introduction to James James 1:1 reads, "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." There are 4 different people in the NT called James. 1. James the son of Zebedee & brother of John originally a fisherman with John (his brother), along with Peter and Andrew. He became a disciple of Jesus and was later martyred by Herod Agrippa I, as recorded in Acts 12:2 (circa A.D. 44). There is not much chance that this James could have written this letter before he was killed, and there is no tradition arguing that he did. 2. James the son of Alphaeus, another disciple Very little is known about this James, the brother of Matthew (Levi). He was another disciple of our Lord, but again, there is no hint that he is the one who wrote this epistle. 3. James the father of Judas the disciple (Judas Thaddaeus) 4. James the brother of Jude & half-brother of our Lord he seems to be the author. The tradition which tells us that he remained in Jerusalem and that Peter, James, & John chose him, to be the pastor of the Jerusalem church after the ascension of Christ. What we know about Jesus, we also know about James. For example The stepfather of Jesus was? The mother of Jesus was? The cousin of Jesus was? Where did Jesus grow up? Where did the family go to escape persecution? So maybe James was born in Egypt? We know that the family traveled to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old. The whole family traveled…so James was in the group when Jesus got lost for 3 days. Imagine growing up with this family. Talk about your expectations! What kind of expectations did your family have of you growing up? Lets look at some of the places James is mentioned in the NT. I’m going to give you a verse or verses. You look the verse up, and maybe the verses around these verses. Try to tell us what is happening here. I’ll give you a few minutes. Matthew 13:53-58 "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? John 7:1-13 “For even his own brothers did not believe in him. “ I Cor. 15:1-11 “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,” Gal. 1:11-20 “Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother. Acts 12:6-18 “Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.” Acts 15:12-21 “When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me.” Gal. 2:6-10 “James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.” Gal. 2:12-13 “Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.” & Acts 21:18-19 “The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.” He was "nicknamed" "James the Just" because of his recognized piety, and was said to have "knees like those of camels" because of his much time spent in prayer. Josephus records that James was martyred during an uprising against Christians while Ananus was high priest in 62 A.D. date of writing sometime around A.D. 46 the earliest of all the NT books, the "First letter to the Christians. The letter is addressed "to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" "Twelve tribes," obviously, identifies the readers as Jewish It often sounds more like a sermon preached, the letter was intended to be read publicly at the meetings of the churches to whom it was sent. James' purpose is not to instruct us merely in what to believe but in what we should do because of what we believe. James preserves more of Christ's teaching than all the other epistles combined. He never actually quotes his older brother, but he seems to constantly refer to his teachings as a basis for his own. There are at least 10 parallels to Jesus' sermon on the mount. Some believe that James may be repeating some unrecorded teaching of our Lord.