Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Yeshua in the Counting of the Omer part 5: His Brother James

The period of time on the Biblical Calendar known as the Counting of the Omer is the 50 day period from the day after the regular weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  In Christian circles this holiday is known as Pentecost but is little known beyond recognition as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.  But this Feast has great significance in the life and ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) and in the lives of his disciples including those of us who follow Him today.  Yeshua was very active during this time teaching and preparing His disciple to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.

Yeshua met with many people during the forty days from His resurrection to His ascension. Only Paul mentions one of the people He met with.

1 Corinthians 15:6-7 NKJV 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

We have just this one mention about Yeshua appearing to James. But we know that from this visit, James’ whole life changed. Before Yeshua crucifixion, scripture implies that Yeshua’s immediate family was not supportive. We read that He had four brothers and at least a couple of sisters.

Mark 6:3 NKJV 3 "Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" And they were offended at Him.

In one place, the scripture tells us they seem to think He was a little crazy.

Mark 3:21 NKJV 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind."

Even as late as the fall just before His crucifixion, His brothers didn’t believe that He was the Messiah. When it was time for the Feast of Tabernacles, His brothers mocked Him about His identity.

John 7:3-5 NKJV 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. 4 "For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

After their scornful words, they went up to Jerusalem for the Feast. Yeshua went up after them.

John 7:10 NKJV 10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

This means they were in Jerusalem when Yeshua declared He was the Living Water. They were there when Yeshua healed the man born blind. They were there when Yeshua declared Himself openly. They would also have been in Jerusalem when He was crucified; we have record of His family observing the Passover even when Yeshua was a boy. They weren’t there at the crucifixion, though. Yeshua’s mother is there but Yeshua gives her into the care of the disciple John not into His brothers’ care.

John 19:26-27 NKJV 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

So, how do we know this James that Paul mentions wasn’t the apostle James, the brother of John? Paul probably never knew the apostle James. We read of James’ death just as Paul (Saul) first returns to Jerusalem after his conversion on the road to Damascus.

Acts 12:1-2 NKJV 1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

Herod arrested Peter just after he had James killed. An angel came and rescued Peter from the prison. Peter went to the house of Mary the mother of John (Mark) where the believers were meeting to pray for his release. Peter told them how he was delivered and instructed them to tell James.

Acts 12:17 NKJV 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren." And he departed and went to another place.

James the brother of John was already dead. This is a different James. This James, along with Peter, became a leader of the Jerusalem church. This James is the one Paul first met with when he went up to Jerusalem to discuss the issue of Gentile salvation.

Galatians 1:18-19 NKJV 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.

We can only imagine the meeting between Yeshua and James. How did James react when he saw Yeshua? Did Yeshua appear only to James or to His other brothers as well? Was James one of the 120 believers who were together in the temple when the Holy Spirit fell on them? We do know that at least one other brother of Yeshua believed in Him after His resurrection. Not only did James write an epistle but so did his brother and Yeshua’s brother Jude (Judas). We do know that James did not presume on his relationship as the brother of Yeshua. In his epistle, he describes himself as a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua haMeshiach).

James 1:1 NKJV 1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.

As James writes his letter, he uses the word brother or brothers eighteen times. James is very concerned about his fellow believers, his brothers in Messiah; he writes as a pastor to his congregation. He concludes his letter with a reminder to all believers as brothers to guard and protect each other.

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

Did James see himself in his own admonition? Did he see himself as the sinner who had wandered from the truth and who Yeshua turned back? We do know that during this time of counting the Omer up to the Feast of Weeks Yeshua was preparing His followers. He was getting them ready to receive the Holy Spirit and lead His congregation. One of those He was preparing was His own earthly brother James.

The days of counting the Omer are passing quickly. Very soon, the disciples won’t be able to wait any longer. They just have to go up to Jerusalem. What will God and Yeshua do next?

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed,
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Please visit our web site at www.moedministries.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

You must include your name, city and state at the end of your comment. I do not accept comments from any one who identifies themselves as anonymous. All comments are moderated prior to appearing on this blog.