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Intro to James [Scripture Log]

Hi friends,

Join my scripture journal through James. It’s one of my favorite sacred text I memorized five years ago and have recited a few dozen times to various audiences. James’ voice is passionate and sincere, straightforward and overall encouraging. I keep thinking he is part German because he speaks so directly with little “fluff” or political correctness. He is Jewish of course, writing to a Jewish audience. And he is the half brother of Jesus. 

I would love a more detailed account of Jesus’ early family life. If James lived in modern times the would probably have a multiple book contract offers for the inside story. Alas, Jesus arrived before Instagram and Amazon and we have to sit on our curiosity.

Jesus had four brothers (James, Joseph, Simon and Judas) and at least two sisters. They (and their attitudes 🙂 are featured in a brief scene in Mark 3 where Jesus has become popular and is teaching (or healing) inside a house and his mother and brothers are outside calling for him.  While everyone is flocking to him, his own family seems annoyed. Apparently he has violated family code, at the very least their expectations and they have come to set him straight. Actually they think he’s lost his mind. (vs 21) and they’ve decided to ‘restrain him’. (Are they carrying ropes?) It’s intervention time.

They soon discover you can’t restrain God or even boss him around. Obviously don’t believe he is divine, hence the desire to control him. Jesus’ only submission is to the father so he feels free to set a boundary. He not only denies their request but redefines family. Whoever is here in front of me, whoever aligns himself with God, is my family, he tells them. This used to sound kind of rude to me. As a people-pleaser I wanted him to go out and listen to them and and make peace with his family or at least make them feel better. Again we lack details. I am curious for more. Did they stick around? Leave. Did he pursue them later to explain? It’s our only scene with James in the gospels as far as I know. The truth so close to home and so utterly uncontrollable and non-compliant was hard to swallow. Note: Jesus is not a people-pleaser.

Despite redefining family, Jesus makes arrangements for his mother to be cared for when he died. Presumable he held no hard feelings against them but I am sure their lack of support or understanding for his mission was hurtful. After his resurrection Jesus appears to a number of people. One of them is James. (1 Cor 15:7) Again, this is all we get. No further details on this encounter. Knock, knock,  your brother is here. (I think Jesus had a sense of humor)

We do know (from history) that James became a major figure in the early Jesus movement- a well respected leader of the church in Jerusalem. He was known as James the righteous who prayed until his knees got callouses.

So James introduces himself, in his letter to displaced, illiterate Jews not by pulling the brother card but by calling himself a slave (bondservant) of Christ. And he consider his recipients brothers and sisters.

James seems to have come full circle. He believes in the divine and submits to a greater path. His understanding of family is expanded and he is done telling God what to do. He will encourage his new family instead. So dips his pen in ink and begins his letter:

“From James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings! My brothers and sisters….”

Scripture Log is my non-scholarly, free write journaling through the book of James. Follow along by subscribing to my blog and share your thoughts and comment below.

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8 Replies

  1. Cecelia

    I will join the journey!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Awesome!

  2. Rose

    Would enjoy traveling this journey with you.

    1. Astrid Melton

      Cool. Let’s do it!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Sweet. I’ll try and post a few times a week.

  3. Debbie Jenne

    I’m on board as well.

    1. Astrid Melton

      Great!

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