To James With Love

I spent the first three months of this year on a long, leisurely stroll through the book of James. I have to say, he wore me out a little bit. There are 54 commands in 108 verses. James gave me a lot to think about. And a lot to put into practice. As the Bible Project video puts it, “The goal of James isn’t to teach theology. It’s to get in your business and challenge how you live.” Ouch!

I found that James also had his own unique way of putting things among the Bible writers. He used 54 words in his letter that aren’t used anywhere else in scripture. (Yes, I looked up all 1745 Greek words in James. I’m a nerd.)

I couldn’t help but wonder if James finished his letter with a hint of an autobiographical sketch. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, little brother James had wandered from the truth, not believing in Jesus as the Messiah. The end of his letter seems abrupt, perhaps because the words were so close to his heart.

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: whoever turns a sinner away from his error will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20

James’ “someone” was Jesus Himself, appearing to James after the resurrection. Jesus brought James back and he would always remember the day that he, a sinner, was turned away from his error. James would never forget the day he was saved from death and his multitude of sins was covered over by the blood of his brother, his Savior, Jesus.

As I close my notebook on James, I thought I’d end with a short note of thanks.

Dear James,
Thank you for your letter, full of practical guidance. I appreciate your spirit of humility which comes from wisdom. You could have made yourself into a bit of a celebrity, having lived with Jesus all those years. You could have written a “tell-all” best seller about what He was really like. But instead, you kept the spotlight on Jesus and gave us instructions on how to live in order to give Him the most glory. You loved the church – that poor church in Jerusalem that struggled so much. You never quit, even in the face of persecution from the power-center in the Jerusalem temple. Well done.
Good-bye for now, but your words will continue to take root and hopefully produce good fruit. I have hidden many of your words in my heart and will continue to meditate on them.
I’m looking forward to meeting you one day, James.
With Love,

9 thoughts on “To James With Love

  1. Our Bible study group did a study of James two years ago. Your reflection on what you experienced motivates me to bring out the notebook and review what I learned as it is foggy. Thank you for your insight and manner of which you learn and share so others can be thrilled. No nerd, just a wonderful, curious and studious woman!

  2. Pingback: Dear Amos | a small drop of ink

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