James – Brother of Jesus


        My name is James. I grew up in Galilee in the town of Nazareth. I had an older brother Jesus, three younger brothers, and three sisters. My father Joseph provided for us with his carpentry work. Of course, all of us were busy caring for the garden and animals.

        I remember well when I was eight and Jesus was twelve. We all went to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. I hung out with my cousins along the way--running ahead and falling behind as we explored the countryside.

        On the first night’s stop on the way home, Jesus was missing. All of us looked among our relatives, but we could not find him. I was scared because I didn’t want to lose my big brother who was so good to me.

        Daddy told all of us children to stay with our cousins for the rest of the journey home. He said that Mother and he were going back to Jerusalem to find Jesus.

        My anxiety continued for a week as I waited for their return. The most exciting day of my life was late one evening when I could see three figures in the distance stirring up dust on the road from the south. As they came closer, I recognized Daddy, Mother, and Jesus. I ran to meet them. I assumed that Jesus was in big trouble, but I couldn’t tell that Daddy or Mother were mad. Maybe they were just glad to be home.

        Daddy and Jesus returned to their work in the carpenter’s shop. As Mother resumed her task of directing the work of the children, she seemed more pensive than I remembered, like she was pondering something in her heart.

        Not long after the birth of Simon, the youngest, Daddy died. Jesus stepped up to run the carpenter’s shop. My oldest sister Bernice, the one next to Jesus, helped mother with the younger children.

        Years later when all the children could help provide for the family, Jesus moved to Capernaum to begin his missionary work. We did not understand what he was doing, so we went to Capernaum to ask him. I remember when someone told Jesus that his mother, brothers, and sisters were outside, Jesus told the crowd of disciples surrounding him, “You are my mother, brothers, and sisters.” I felt hurt that he would say that. It was a matter of time before I understood that he truly loved all of God’s children.

        After Jesus had completed three years of ministry, the Pharisees conspired to have the Romans put him to death on a cross. Of course, we were devastated. On the third day he arose from the dead, and then I knew that he was Christ, the Son of God.

        Over the ensuing years, a Pharisee name Paul met Jesus on the Road to Damascus and was transformed. Paul told the Gentile world about Jesus the Christ.

        I headed up the Jewish Christians in the Jerusalem church. Paul returned from his missionary journeys to talk with me and the other leaders of the church in Jerusalem. Paul preached “Justification by Faith.” Having grown up with Jesus, I felt it was important to add works, so I wrote, “Faith without works is dead.”

        Christians have adhered to both teachings. If only one person understood Jesus’ message better because of my insight, then my life was not in vain.


James 2:26; Matthew 12:46-49


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