by Grace Hunter

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

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 Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers 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 15:1-8 NIV

In I Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul gave a succinct description of the gospel and listed many of the people who saw the Resurrected Jesus. Paul also mentioned that many of these witnesses were still living at the time Paul wrote the letter of I Corinthians. These witnesses could be contacted and interviewed by the Corinthians and other fellow Christ followers of the time. Let’s take a closer look at James, the brother of Jesus, considering our topic of doubt and faith.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, his brothers accompany Jesus’ mother Mary to the home where Jesus was currently ministering. “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind,’” Mark 3:20-21 NIV. Jesus’ family did not understand at this time who He was nor what His ministry was about. Jesus’ siblings certainly had doubts about Jesus.

Jesus’ brothers and sisters are mentioned by name in both Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. In both lists, James is listed first and thus is assumed to be the oldest of Jesus’ siblings. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, before the crucifixion, Jesus’ siblings are not listed as being a part of Jesus inner circle, or even a part of the greater group of Jesus’ disciples.

We can only assume from this that James had doubts about Jesus being the Messiah, the Savior of the Jews. However, take a close look at Acts 12:11-17,
Acts 15:13-21, and Acts 21:18. An incredible transformation had occurred. Now, after Pentecost, James was a leader of the church in Jerusalem. Clearly, Paul also considered him a leader of the church at large.

What changed? Paul tells us that the resurrected Jesus appeared to James. This made the difference. Just as it does with us. When we bring our doubts to the resurrected Jesus, it makes all the difference for us as well.

Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.