We’ve been continuing our journey through the week studying about James, the half brother of Jesus, and how his life bears witness to the fact that the resurrection changes everything. James is initially portrayed in the gospels as somewhat skeptical of Jesus being who He said He is. John 7:5 says, “For not even his brothers believed in him.” As Jesus half brother, James had a front row seat to Jesus’ life. Could you imagine what that must have been like? Did James compare himself to Jesus the way we compare ourselves to our siblings? Did James feel like it was impossible to measure up? Did James feel like he was always in the background?
But something happened…something changed in James between the gospel accounts that we have and the letter that he wrote to the scattered Christians of the early church… Something happened that changed the trajectory of James’ life forever. As Paul is wrote about Jesus post resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:7 we read, “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,” So many questions arise from this scene… Why was James singled out? What did Jesus say to His brother? What did James think about as he saw his brother who had been dead, now alive again? Where does one go from here?
What happened to James was something so significant that by the time we get to his letter, we read about the way that he defined and introduced himself in James 1:1 as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.” Not only did James describe himself as a “servant of God” but also of “the Lord Jesus Christ”… He actually named Jesus as his Lord. James was transformed by the power of the resurrection of Christ… The implications of Jesus resurrection from the dead were astounding for James, and they are astounding for us as well. The truth of the resurrection of Jesus was the most important, life altering reality that James knew…and it changed everything. So the question we’re left to wrestle with for ourselves is; “If Jesus is alive, then how will we live differently?”
Yesterday evening we were all given a length of red string. The string was given to represent our lives… seemingly never long enough, a defined length with a beginning and an end… Tonight he challenge was given for us to take the opportunity to ‘tie our lives to the heart of the Father.” In the main session tonight, students had an opportunity to take a tangible step toward Jesus by stepping out and tying their string to a heart that was positioned in front of the stage. The isles were packed with students stepping out in faith during our closing time of worship… some for the first time grasping, as James did, the power of the resurrection to change everything… and now because of that truth we seek to follow James encouragement in James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Together we seek to live in the life altering reality of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, knowing that this changes everything.