by Philip Layton
James writes to Christian Jews who were scattered by persecution
- Who is this letter primarily addressed to (v 1)? What were their circumstances and how should that affect our interpretation and use of it?
- How can we ensure that we allow reading the Bible to transform us (vv 22-25)?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
James – My Change of Heart
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (v 1).
I was one of Jesus’ four brothers – the others being Joses, Simon and Judas.
Along with our sisters, we all experienced a happy home life. We all looked up to our elder brother because he was always kind, considerate, and loved us each so much. We ate together, prayed together as a family, travelled together, even played together!
Every year we made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to celebrate the Passover. Once, Jesus spoke in the synagogue. Some of his claims were shocking to me. I couldn’t believe what he was saying.
While we were growing up as children, he never made any claims at all to being God’s Son, the long-awaited Messiah. Why was he now making so many people angry? Why was he calling our leaders hypocrites? I became embarrassed, even ashamed – for the sake of our family, our reputation. Only my mother kept silent. In fact, she seemed to have this knowing glow about her. I couldn’t figure why.
I watched Jesus closely, after he turned 30. He had a small group of followers he confided in. People gathered to listen. Some were healed; many believed. He radiated God’s glory, I must confess. The outcasts were embraced; the sinners were forgiven. But still I found it hard to believe he was the Messiah. Then, he was eventually brought to trial. What had he done that was so wrong? They beat him, even put a crown of thorns on his head. It was terrible.
He was to die. I couldn’t bear to watch it all. But my mother went. He hung on a cruel cross. What pain and agony he bore! Then, soon after his death, he came to me. My brother – resurrected from the dead! I knew it then to all be true. He was God’s Son. He was the promised Messiah. I had a complete change of heart – and I could hardly wait to tell the rest of my family.
I’m so blessed and I’m ready to be tested, even to die for him. And time must not be wasted in telling others of Jesus, my brother, the risen Lord. Will you join me in sharing this great news? Hallelujah!
Beverly IvanyTags: James