There was more than one James. James and John were the sons of Zebedee. But often the name James is mentioned in spots where it makes no sense:
1 Corinthians 15:3-83 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
Acts 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.
Peter…described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
The author of James was Jesus’ half brother James
Jesus likely had four brothers and two sisters.
His brothers did not believe in Him.
John 7:5 “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”
From Jesus’ resurrection on, James gave himself entirely to God and soon became an important figure in the early Church. His role was so important that Peter told others to report to James of his miraculous release from prison (Acts:12:17; Galatians:1:19). He apparently became the overseeing pastor of the Jerusalem church, because in Acts:15:13-21 we see him making the final declaration during this early ministerial conference.
The apostle Paul, after his conversion, met with Peter and James before seeing any of the other apostles (Galatians:1:18-19). Later we see James advising Paul, and Paul then acting on that advice (Acts:21:18-26).
Notice how James describes himself in the opening of his epistle…
New International Version (NIV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
…and how he describes Jesus…
Chapter 2 – “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ”
He could have introduced himself as the brother of Jesus. Why is this significant?
James became a believer because of the resurrection
He saw Jesus alive. This changed everything.
The book of James is a lot like the Sermon on the Mount
James sounds a lot like his half brother.
– Faith = Action (reaction to antinomianism?)
– What actions should we take?
Faith and Deeds
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Mainline American Christendom is sliding toward this view – that if you have faith, your actions don’t matter.
STAR WARS = The quasi-Buddhist knockoff version.
Yoda: …a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will… Luke: … Is the dark side stronger? Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive. Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad? Yoda: You will know… when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, NEVER for attack.
Two Kinds of Wisdom 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Three things you could talk about:
– James the brother of Jesus – why he didn’t believe at first, why he believed later.
– Faith = action.
– Two kinds of wisdom (read James 3:13-18, discuss)