For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. I Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV
When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:13-14 NIV
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10 NIV
Today we are looking at the 50 days between Jesus’ crucifixion and the day of Pentecost in James – Jesus’ brother’s life. But to fully appreciate it, a little background is needed. James is listed as Jesus’ brother in Mark 6:1-3, and was not yet a disciple of Jesus when he, his mother Mary and his brothers came to Jesus, “they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind,’” Mark 3:21. So – as Jesus’ ministry progressed – James was not a member of Jesus’ disciples. It is also notable that the only family members mentioned at the crucifixion were Mary – Jesus’ mother and her sister.
After the crucifixion, on the first day of the week, the resurrection occurred and the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus began. The gospels tell us of 9 of these different occasions when Jesus appeared in his resurrected body to one or more people. I Corinthians 15 tells us of 2 occasions not mentioned elsewhere. One of these was to James, Jesus’ brother. “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,” I Corinthians 15:7. Paul was writing a letter to the church at Corinth, and was emphasizing the importance of Jesus’ resurrection and the proof of his resurrection by listing many of Jesus’ post resurrection appearances in I Corinthians 15.
The next mention of James is in Acts 1:14. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Jesus ascended to Heaven 40 days after His resurrection and he told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. What changed? James and his brothers are now listed as being a part of the group of disciples in the upper room, praying and awaiting the coming Holy Spirit. Why do you think James and his brothers are now listed as believers? Could it be that James now understood, believed, and was now committed to following his brother – Jesus – the Messiah?
Paul told us James saw the resurrected Jesus with his own eyes. The presence of Jesus made the difference in James’ life.
How about you? Can you think of a time when the presence of Jesus, an answer to prayer, a time of worship has made an impact on your life? Thank Jesus for His presence in your life.