Epistles (Letters)

The Epistle of James

Gospel 8- The Good News of James

James is the second book after the epistles to the Hebrews that mostly is focused on faith. James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ who was both raised with his siblings in Nazareth had the first-hand knowledge about Jesus, regarding his behavior, attitude, character, and maturity.  Nobody else can claim that knowledge except those that lived with the Lord Jesus under one roof. If someone else would claim that they knew Jesus, especially those years when the Bible was silent about him, is a false claimant. No other human being knew Jesus more than the members of his household. James together with his three other brothers Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and a sister kept the silent years of young Jesus in private and was respected.

Jesus’ family was in opposition during the early days of his ministry. For the unbelief, in return Jesus said: “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Mark 6:4, Matthew 13:57, Luke 4:24, and John 4:44. Randomly we would see 4 gospel come together as one. James finally believed in Jesus and was convinced and got converted by the resurrection of the Lord. In 1 Corinthians. 15:7; Paul tells that the Lord Jesus appeared to James after the resurrection.

James led the church in Jerusalem until his violent death in AD62, he believed nothing in Jesus more than he is his brother. Actually, in In John 7:3-5, Jesus’ brothers mocked Him. Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” “ For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”  This is after the sign of his supernatural power; healed a man who had been disabled for 38 years, fed 5,000 men, and walked on the water, and these miracles happened near the end of Jesus ministry and close to his death by crucifixion- John 5:2-9; John 6:5-14; John 6:16-21.

John 6:16-21 – NIV Bible – When evening came, his disciples went down to…

John 6:16-21 – NIV: When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set o…

James was one if not the most doubtful in the household about that Jesus being the Son of God as he claimed.  James and Jesus grew up together, played together, slept and ate together and many more things that they did and shared in 12 years, and if we would include Jesus’ silent years which give a total of 30 years. These years were enough experience and evidence that James could have gathered to defend his unbelief.  However,  James went further calling Jesus a madman; “When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.” Mark 3:21 WEB. No one would think their sibling was God. Maybe gifted but not God.   

In the early days after the resurrection, James became the leader of the church in Jerusalem and was acknowledged by the Jews with reverence and called him James the just. James was finally martyred for his faith by being pushed off the pinnacle of the temple.  James believed that his half brother as written in John 1 “The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14—World English Bible (WEB).

And so he began his letter, like this, James 1:1 James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ… 2 Count it all joy, my brothers when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without any doubting…

James’ good news is about faith with work.  I encourage you to read the whole chapter 2…faith without work is dead. If money doesn’t grow on trees faith doesn’t grow without work either.

James 2:14-26—14 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him? 15 And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you tells them, “Go in peace. Be warmed and filled;” yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works”… 26 “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so, faith apart from works is dead.” —World English Bible

If you do not have faith, do you expect to receive what you need from God? It is impossible to please God without faith— Hebrews 11:6.

To God be the glory.  God is all in all

Bishop Joseph

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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