James: Brother of Our Risen Lord
A Resurrected Life
I. INTRO TO JAMES
- James, the brother of our Lord, is one of the more interesting characters in the New Testament because of the relationship that he had with the Lord Jesus. I am excited to talk about James this Easter morning!!
- Ask yourself, “What would it have been like to live in the same house and grow up in the same family as Jesus?” “What was it like for His brothers and sisters?” “How was it living with a brother who is the Incarnate God?” “How was living with a perfect person?”
» Maybe we see ourselves in James…
- James Lived with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, His Brothers and Sisters.
- Jesus started His public ministry at 30, so most likely up to that time they lived and worked together as carpenters.
- James was Married: “Don’t we have the right to bring a believing wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does?” 1 Corinthians 9:5
- James became the Spokesman for the brothers and the sisters and likely the one most active in voicing an attitude of criticism and unbelief, as we read about in John 7. “Jesus’ brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!’” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. John 7:3-5
- James an Unbelieving Brother: He lived in Doubt of Jesus! He was hostile to Jesus. James had known Jesus for 30 years, but He didn’t believe in Him.
II. The first easter
- A Miraculous Change takes place with James:
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. 13 When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). 14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.” Acts 1:12-14
- “Brothers of Jesus”: James, Simon, Joses and Jude . They were there. They had come to believe in Him as Messiah and Lord.
- How did that Happen? What turned them from being skeptical, envious, jealous and critical, to being believers? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 15,
“…Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-7
- What a Moment? Paul writes, “he was seen by James” that Stunning reunion became the moment of James’ conversion, when He saw the risen Christ, his brother, Jesus.
- James, the stubborn, skeptical, second-born son of Mary, comes all the way to saving faith. He puts his Trust in his older half-brother, the Lord Jesus Christ!!
III. Easter Changes Everything:
- Because of Jesus’ Resurrection
- James Became a Pillar in the Church. After the inauguration of the church on the Day of Pentecost, when the church was born, the twelve apostles scattered to preach. You know the story of the book of Acts.
- First it’s Peter and John, and then the rest of the apostles are scattering and preaching. What about the church? Who’s taking care of the church?
- Well, it fell to James to become the preeminent leader of the church in Jerusalem. He played a vital role for the church in Jerusalem. “In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church…” Galatians 2:9
- 3 years after Paul’s conversion, Paul went secretly to Jerusalem to meet with the leaders of the church: “I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother.” Galatians 1:18-19
- When Paul wanted to tell the church that he had been converted, He went right to the leader of the church, James. “The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present.” Acts 21:17-18
- When Peter was miraculously released from prison, Peter instructed the believers, “Tell James and the other brothers what happened” Acts 12:17
- James was the First Pastor. We don’t think of that often, but James was the first pastor of the first church. He moved from being a Doubter, to being the leader. Unlike the twelve apostles who left Jerusalem to take the gospel through the world, James never left. He stayed with the church he loved, and he led that church faithfully for thirty years until the day he was killed.
- James wrote the First Book of the New Testament. Written in the early 40’s it was the first, & Galatians was most likely second.
- James died a Follower of Jesus: According to church tradition, five years after that visit of Paul, around 62 A.D., he was martyred.
- When the Roman governor, the Roman procurator Porcius Festus, died, there was a gap in leadership, during this time the Jewish high priest began to exercise his hostile powers against Christianity. He had James arrested and He was accused of breaking the law, the law of Moses; he was convicted; he was sentenced to die. He was thrown off the edge of the temple and then stoned and then beaten to death by an angry mob. And that’s the end of the life of James.
B. Because of Jesus’ Resurrection
- James life was completely Changed. James was redirected on another Path. Maybe some of us need some new direction.
- James found Real Love. “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
- James was Used by God. “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you!” James 4:7-8
- Because of Jesus’ Resurrection
- We can be Part of the Story. “When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me…” Acts 15:13-21.
- James was a transformed person of God, that can happen to us as well. We just have to believe in James’ brother Jesus and we will find a whole new life and a new story!! “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Jesus (John 10:10)
- We can Walk Together with our Lord, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16. And become the kind of Christ followers, like James, who live there lives for their Savior and Love Each Other.
- Jesus Appears the James: In a marvelous act of divine grace, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to James in profound Mercy , dispelled his doubts and fears, and saved him. And when he appears in the history of the church in the book of Acts, he is a man without fear who is a slave of his older brother, who worships Jesus as his Lord and Savior. And his loyalty to Jesus is so Strong that he willingly gave his life as a martyr for his older brother.
- God used him in amazing ways. And, we know, the Lord is in the business of doing that with the most unlikely people, including us, including you. And the story will never be fully understood until it’s complete. Today may be the day that you become part of the story, the day you find Jesus and really live out the Story of Easter.
- Maybe today is your Easter. Like James your whole life can be changed by the Resurrection. If you have been thinking about becoming a Christian, today would be a wonderful day to do so.
Let’s all bow our heads…
C – Confess that you are a Sinner and that sin has separated you
A – Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior
R – Repent of your Sin. Be willing to offer up your sins to the Lord.
E – Engage. Engage in your new Christian. Tell someone about it.
Seek someone who can help you walk in the Faiht.