James is the third in this series on the twelve disciples I’m learning from. Ah, James the brother of John (not to be confused with James the brother of Jesus who wrote the Book of James or James the son of Alpaeus). His attention was turned to Jesus when his brother rushed home to tell him about the baptism of the Messiah by John the Baptist. James and John were sons of Zebedee. He and his brother were called to follow Jesus while working with their father in the fishing business.
Mark 1:19-20, ”When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.”
Today, from learning more about James the first thing that stands out to me is found there. ‘Without delay’ it says Jesus called them. Jesus knew He wanted them. He wants me too, and without delay is how He has pursued me.
James was one of the three who saw the Transfiguration (when Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah), and one of the three who saw Jarius’ daughter raised from the dead and joined the Rabbi in the Garden of Gethsemane. He and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to punish a city but Jesus rebuked them.
Luke 9:52-56, And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.
Acts 12:1-3 tells us: “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.” Peter escaped but James was martyred for His faith and ministry, especially his testimony of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah.
All of the first 12 disciples including James saw the resurrected Jesus as witnesses and it angered the authorities when James would preach about it. But James never quit. He never did call fire down from heaven and I think He learned the lesson of grace. He teaches me that mercy is better than judgment and that being a loyal follower of Jesus means you must be willing to lay down your life, not just in physical death, but in daily pursuits.
I am not a Saint, as most of the these twelve disciples might also confess, but I love Jesus and I too am a witness of His death and resurrection by way of how He has changed me and captured my heart.
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