James - A Servant of God
Open with me to the first book written in our New Testaments, the book of James. To best help us start this study I did a personal interview with James this week. Please listen as he talks to us today.
My name is James; I am a servant of God and of my big brother while He was on earth - Jesus Christ. I was not always such a follower of Christ. Let me tell you my story . . .
I grew up in a devout Jewish home with a saintly mom, a sickly dad (who died when I was young), three brothers, two sisters and a PERFECT HALF BROTHER. What a difficult thing it is to live with the Son of God. I never got along well with my oldest brother. He was always right, He was never wrong, never bad, and He was never mischievous or impatient. He never argued, stewed or fought. He was kind, humble, generous and hard working. He seemed to never sleep. Whether or not he worked late in dad’s carpentry shop. He always was up before the family. In fact He would come in just before breakfast each morning from outside. We could tell He had been out there quite a while. Mother always would just look at Him with such wistful and wonder filled eyes.
When He spoke which was seldom compared to us whose words filled the small house in Nazareth. When we sat at table so well made by Jesus my big brother, His words seemed to sweep all of us along. He always was so amazing, saying things that defy explanation. He was so profound and yet easily understood. All us boys would leave the table saying “Yeah, that just what I would have said.” Although we could not resist His wisdom, we hated His words. The older we got they pierced our souls and irritated us to the bone!
I remember the last day He was home. It was the day the small door leading to the carpenter’s shop closed for the last time. Gone would be the hours of wonder filled talks the local folks had enjoyed with the kindest man they ever had met. No more would the wide eyes of children be seen looking wistfully off as stories from the Scriptures of David and Elijah and Moses came alive. When He taught it seemed to all of us that He had been there and had witnessed those events Himself and knew those heroes of our faith personally.
I remember that day when our meek and lowly Carpenter brother headed toward the Jordan, He had to wind His way through the crowds. Our cousin John the Baptist was preaching at the River’s edge to people gathered from all over the Land. A group of scowling Pharisees were standing off to the side as the Baptist’s fiery words aimed at them told of their utter viper like lack of contrition that was excluding them from his baptism of repentance. Looking back at the crowds John was struck by the serenity of One confidently striding to the waters edge. As he looked into the eyes of my brother he experienced what we had growing up with Jesus. For John the Baptist it was the first time in any man he had seen such purity, such holiness and living truth. To us watching it was almost funny, immediately the same lips of the Baptist that denied the wicked and proud Pharisees now were disqualifying himself. In the presence of Jesus John saw his own sinfulness. But after a protest, John yielded to His Master that day and baptized the Christ.
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