I love the Word of God, and I love preaching and teaching the Word of God… But the truth is, if I only preach and teach the Word, but do not live out what I am saying, then my words are pointless and meaningless. You see, my actions show what I really believe. I want to break this down so everyone can understand the importance of a life spent living out the Word of God.
I’m going to take the scripture above, and break it down, so that we can begin to come to an understanding of the life the Lord is calling us to live in this passage… In the first verse, James, the author of this letter, introduces himself and tells us to whom he is writing.
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1 NASB)
Most scholars believe that the James who wrote this letter was actually Jesus’ half-brother. Now, wouldn’t you think that James would want to let everybody know that he was Jesus’ brother? I have a half-sister, but when I introduce her to people, I introduce her as my sister. While we both have different fathers, I’ve never thought of her as anything less than 100% my sister. And knowing Jesus, I feel certain that He never treated James as anything less than His brother.
So, if James was the brother of Jesus, why didn’t he introduce himself that way? Here’s another interesting fact… Jude, author of another New Testament letter, introduced himself in this way also:
Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:1 NASB)
Now according to this, Jude was James’ brother, which would also make him Jesus’ brother as well, yet neither of these men made this claim. So the question that comes to mind is why didn’t James and Jude shout from the mountain tops that they were Jesus’ brothers?
Before I share my beliefs about this, I want to be up front with you. When I’m teaching, I want to be accurate and true to the Word of God. I don’t want to lead anyone astray, so when I share my opinion, I want you to know that this is just that – my opinion – and while I believe what I’m about to share, Scripture doesn’t specifically give us the reason why both brothers of Jesus saw fit to introduce themselves as His bond-servants, rather than His brothers.
Having said that, I would like to share my theory with you. When I introduce my sister, I am introducing her as my equal. She is no greater or less than I am.
James and Jude, on the other hand, introduce themselves as bond-servants of Jesus Christ, and in doing this, they make it plain that they are not equals with Jesus. The Greek word for bond-servant is doulos, which means, a slave, bondman, man of servile condition, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests, a servant, attendant, one who gives himself up to another’s will… Wow. James and Jude were saying that they were slaves for Jesus, devoted to Him, that they had given themselves up to His will. Both called Him Jesus Christ, which means the anointed one, Messiah.
James even called Him the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here for Lord is Kurios, which means, he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord, the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner; one who has control of the person, the master, is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master…
You see, in his introduction, James was stating that he was not his own – he belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he honored and revered. Brothers and sisters, we can learn a lot in just that short greeting. James was humbling himself. He was making it clear that he was writing this letter, and living his life in obedience to his Master.
I told you at the beginning of this study that our lives should reflect what we say we believe, so the question that each one of us should be asking at this point is who am I? The way I live reflects who I really am. Am I a servant of Christ? Or do I serve myself? Who is it that I spend most of my time trying to please? Brothers and sisters, our answer to this question will reveal who our Lord really is. Is Jesus my Lord? Or is someone else my Lord? Am I my own Lord?
Brothers and sisters, if the answer to the questions above is anything other than Jesus Christ, we need to repent. For the Lord says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3 NKJV)
Bible study is worthless if we don’t apply it to our own lives. I know a lot of people who know scripture backward and forward, but their lives don’t reflect what they know in their head. You see, knowing the facts about something is not the same as knowing the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) It’s not enough to know the facts about Him. If we want to be free, we must know Him! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 NKJV)
Cheryl A. Showers