This week I’ve been in the book of James. This epistle is only five chapters so I have read it a few times — each time discovering something new. But my mind keeps going back to one thing. It is the first part of the first verse. “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…”
The reason this introduction is so compelling is that James is the half-brother of Jesus. He very well could have said, “I am James, the brother of Jesus.” To some degree we have all done it. Everyone wants to be associated with greatness so we name drop and do other things to tell others that we are great too. But not James. He simply identifies himself as a bondslave of Jesus. By characterizing himself as such he is saying that his worth has no value apart from the Lord. In other words, he is nothing and Jesus is all.
But, there is something else too. The very fact that James makes no reference to his earthly relationship to Jesus is an indication that there is another kind of kinship that overrides any earthly one . In Matthew 12:46-50 we are told that Jesus was talking to a large crowd when someone came to inform him that his mother and brothers were outside wanting to speak to him. Jesus did not immediately stop what he was doing but rather pointed to his disciples and said, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?…”Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” I suspect that James was there when Jesus said this.
So, if submission to the Lordship of Christ is what makes family, two questions come to mind: (1) How am I treating my family? Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (2) Am I experiencing family the way God intended? If I am not, could it be that I have not fully submitted to the Lordship of Christ?
My prayer today is that God give us the grace to put this established order of family in practice in our lives, and in our churches. And, like James, may we seek only to be identified by our submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.