Look at James and Hebrews

James talked about enduring trials, but what kinds of trials was James talking about?  I found this in Hebrews and thought that it was applicable to what we are discussing.  It is important for us to understand that faith results in actions.  Sometimes these actions are quite sever.  However, going through these trials build us up in Christ and gives us the endurance needed to run our race well.  Below is a table that shows some people in the Old Testament who were tested.


Two things of note.  First, in Hebrews 11:29 the author briefly mentions when Israel crossed the Red Sea. Now something that may be overlooked in the casual reading of this little verse… each individual had to make a decision to trust God and pass through the waters.  Any one who would have stayed behind, even though they would be “elect” of God would have died at the hands of Egypt (the World system). Those who truly believed God and used that faith to move forward were spared death.  Without faith in God they would have never moved. 

  
Second is the entirety of Hebrews 11:35-40 shows the trials that others before us have had to go through.  These things they endured not only demonstrated their faith, but; gave a benefit for us. Without these martyrs we would not have examples of what faith looks like in action.  We would not have the benefit of being able to trust in the Lord without seeing the faithfulness of God in their sufferings.  We could even go so far as to say that without the trials of the faithful who have gone before us, we would not know God.  Why then do we go through trials.   

Hebrews 11:17-33

FaithWhoAction
By
Faith
AbrahamOffered Isaac in obedience of faith and trust in God
By
Faith
IsaacBlessed Jacob and Esau’s future trusting the promise of God
By
Faith
Jacob When dying Blessed his sons future trusting the promise of God
By
Faith
JosephCommanded his bones be brought out of Egypt; believing God
By
Faith
Moses’ ParentsHid him 3 months without fear
By
Faith
MosesRefused to be a son of the Pharaoh’s daughter
By
Faith
MosesForsook Egypt
Through
Faith
MosesKept the Passover in obedience through faith
By
Faith
Moses and IsraelPassed through the Red Sea in obedience through faith
By
Faith
Joshua and IsraelFell the Walls of Jericho by obedience to the Lord
By
Faith
RehabReceived mercy salvation
Through FaithVarious JudgesSubdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, etc… all through obedience in faith

Take some time this week to search out these examples and see what these saints did because of their faith.  If we believe that Jesus is the Lord and stand in that faith, then we will receive trials.  Trials are a good thing. Trials help us to grow and mature in our faith.  Trials help us to trust more on the Lord and his promises.  Trials help others to trust in the Lord and give an opportunity for others to learn how to respond in trials, and to encourage their own faith and endurance.

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Death of James

Brother of Jesus, Leader of the Church of Jerusalem

James the brother of Jesus was not a believer of Jesus as the Son of God until after Jesus was resurrected.  James was a devout man who was also known as James the Just.  Clement of Alexandria and Hegsippus both wrote epithets that refer to James as the Just. He was a devout man who demanded the respect of both Christian and Jewish leaders. 

Once converted, James is believed to have worked, in the early church at Jerusalem, with the Apostle Peter (Cephas).  The Encyclopedia Britannica explains the James the brother of Jesus may have been a natural fill-in for the martyr James of the son of Zebedee (Acts 12:2). James appears in the book of the Acts of the Apostles to have been an influential member of the church Council in Jerusalem.  Paul the Apostle received council from James when he returned to Jerusalem.  Paul lists James and Cephas at pillars of the church in Jerusalem.  Peter also when he had been released from Prison in Acts 12 told them to go and tell James.  Peter’s singling out of James puts an emphases of the importance of James to the church in Jerusalem.  

James died around 62 A.D.  Christian Historians put his death in Jerusalem where he was martyred for his faith in Jesus as the Son of God.  Eusebius, a 4th Century Christian and historian chronicles 3 different sources of the death of James.  Clement of Alexandria, Hegesippus, and Josephus all have a different version of the martyrdom of James.  Hegesippus’ version is the one Eusebius judges as most correct.

  1. AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent. (24) Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest. [i]

Tradition holds that James was brought to the temple and confronted on whether he believed that Jesus was the messiah.  James’ stance of belief that Jesus was indeed the Son of God infuriated the Sanhedrin and James was pushed of a high place of the Synagogue and then stoned.  It is reported that James prayed for his attackers in the same way that Jesus did, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  Then his head was caved in by a club. 

James the brother of Jesus had once doubted Jesus as the messiah.  He probably felt at one time that he was crazy and was ashamed to call him his brother.  This James who believed and followed the Law of Moses to the last dash and the last dot of ink had given his life for his belief.  A belief that Jesus is indeed the Son of God who takes away the sins of the world.


[i] “Josephus on James.” Dr. Beth Elise Whitaker, 11 Apr. 2013, pages.uncc.edu/james-tabor/ancient-judaism/josephus-james/.