The goal of this series is to study the group of 12 young men who spent approximately 3 years with Jesus, from the time of his baptism until his resurrection. We’ll look at their character, their transformation, and their relationship with Jesus and learn from their lives.
You can read the full preface to this series to see how I have defined discipleship and see a timeline of how the disciples met Jesus and followed him.
No, not that James…or that one!
Just to be clear, we are not talking about:
1. James, son of Alphaeus, who was another of the disciples of Jesus.
2. James, the author of the Book of James, who was the half-brother of Jesus who only professed faith in Christ after Jesus rose from the dead.
3. James Bond.
The James we ARE looking at was the brother of John, the two sons of Zebedee. He was a disciple, fishermen, brother, and loyal friend.
James was one of the first Christian martyrs when he was killed with the sword by the order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea, during a time of persecution of the early church. (Acts 12:1-3). Only one disciple escaped dying for his faith and that was, ironically, his brother, the Apostle John.
3 Powerful Lessons from the Life of James
1. God Can Use The (Not So) Cool Kids
The disciples that Jesus called were likely not very popular in society, especially among the religious leaders. Their occupation, however, provided a critical need for the society. Fish! Fish was a major industry.
These were not polished, refined men with amazing speaking skills. They were likely looked down upon by the elites of Israel since their hometown was Capernaum. They would have been on the low rung of society in their day, but God has a history of calling and using men and women who people think very little of!
Paul even called James, John, and Peter pillars of the early church (Galatians 2:9)!
2. God Transforms Us
John and his brother James were, in the beginning, hotheads. When Jesus and the disciples went to a Samaritan city, they were rejected by the local residents, angering James and John. What was their reaction to the people rejecting Christ?
“Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven and consume them” (Luke 9:54)?
This was not likely the only time that they lost their tempers, showing that they could be rash and impulsive.
James was not above making mistakes, but this didn’t stop him from being transformed into a pillar of the early church. James was completely changed by the power of the Holy Spirit!
He was impulsive, outspoken, easily provoked to anger, and highly impulsive. But, like John, who became known as “the apostle whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23), he became a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and was forever changed.
God will use our mistakes and faults for His glory!
3. Jesus Longs For Us To Be The Privileged Ones
James was honored with a favored position by Jesus. He was, with his brother John and Simon Peter, one of three men in Jesus’ inner circle.
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Three times James, John, and Peter were invited by Jesus to witness events no one else saw.
- The raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Mark 5:37-47)
- The transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-3)
- Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-37)
Pick me, pick me!
Like Peter, James, and John, we need to cultivate a hunger to be close to Jesus, knowing that He desires to be close to us!
Preview of the Next Disciple:
I hope this has opened your eyes to the fact that James was a real man. He wasn’t just a character on a few pages of the Bible. He was real and there’s so much we can learn from him.
Next, we will look at Judas. Which one? You’ll have to visit next week to find out!
What do we know about Judas and what lessons can we learn from his life? You can find out this and much more in the next post.
Wait! Don’t Leave Without Saying Hi!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Below is a place for you to say hi, what you thought about the post, and ask any questions you may have. And yes, I’ll respond! In fact, I’m looking forward to interacting with you! So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment below!
*For related reading about the disciples/apostles of Jesus, please visit my friend’s page here.
Check Out the Rest of the Series
Also published on Medium.