Thursday, April 7, 2011
Martyrdom of James, the brother of Jesus
James was the half-brother of Jesus and the writer of the book of James found in the New Testament. He was called James the Just because of his righteousness and devotion. This James is not the James mentioned in an earlier blog, who was one of Jesus's closest followers. Nevertheless, this James had great authority and leadership, and his blood is part of the seed of the church.
One of the greatest statements by James was this. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." James 4:8-10.
Based on Acts 12:17, Acts 15:13-29, and Acts 21: 18-24, it seems he was leader of the Church at Jerusalem, but this fact is not completely proven. According to the Jewish historian named Flavius, Ananus the high priest ordered James to be killed by stonings. However, an early Christian writer named Hegesippus says James was cast down from the Temple tower. He was not killed by the fall, so a club was used to smash his head in. It is unknown as to what type of club it was, whether it was a hammer for blacksmiths or a club to beat clothing. This most likely occured in the year A.D. 66.
James, may your past service for Christ continue to bear fruit in this present age.