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May 12, 2012 by William H. Scarle, Jr.

We have been considering that period of history between Passover and Pentecost in the year 30 AD, or that period between Jesus’ resurrection and the founding of the Church.  The first six appearances of Jesus recorded in the Gospels took place in Jerusalem before the Apostles left the city to return to Galilee following the eight day festival of Unleavened Bread.  Two of the ten recorded appearances are personal and are given without any description of the conversation.  We considered Jesus’ encounter with Peter last week.

James, or Yaakov in Hebrew, was a brother of Jesus.  The names of the children of Mary and Joseph are listed in Matthew 13:55.  The sisters are not named.  However the brothers are James, Joseph, Simon and Judas.  He should not be confused with the Apostle James who was a son of Zebedee.  The family of Jesus doubtless had a high regard for Jesus and his ministry, but they were not believers in his authority or in his Messianic office until after his resurrection.  This is evident from Mark 3:21 and John 7:5.  The appearance of Jesus to James is mentioned only by the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15.  The results of the interview are clearly indicated in the Acts of Apostles where we find James as the leader of the Jerusalem Christians.

Whether the family of Jesus attended Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified is an open question.  Mary, his mother, was at the cross.  However, Jesus commended her care to the Apostle John, which might indicate that James was not on the scene.  Or, it may simply indicate that James was not yet a believer.  If he was on the scene this would be an obvious affront, and my judgment is that he was not.  The men likely stayed in Nazareth and saw to the family business.

This would mean that Jesus’ interview with his brother took place in the north along with the appearance to his Apostles by the lake and his appearance to the gathering of the five hundred mentioned by Paul in First Corinthians.  James certainly would have accompanied the Apostles in their return to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost.

James was a firm supporter of Paul and the Gentile mission.  He is seen presiding at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.  After his last missionary journey Paul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem in time to celebrate Pentecost.  On his arrival in Jerusalem (Acts 21) he visits James. The year was about 61 AD.  Shortly after this meeting James was stoned to death at the instigation of the High Priest Ananias.  He authored the letter we know as the book of James in the New Testament.

We have been looking at this period between Passover and Pentecost as a major teaching time for the Apostles and certainly for James.  He would be assuming a major role in the early Church as bishop of the mother church in Jerusalem.  This conversation with his brother would lift their relationship to an entirely new level.  The encounter would equip him for his new responsibilities as a pastor and as a supporter of the global mission of the Apostles.

In his letter to the Church James says (1:5), “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all, without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith.”  James had learned this between Passover and Pentecost.

(Bill Scarle can be contacted at ).