Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights without whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:16-18)
The greatest joy every Christian mother desire is the desire to spend eternity with their children. That’s the greatest desire every Christian father has as well.
James, in our Epistle reading today, calls us “beloved brothers.” (vs. 16)
We share a heavenly Father with James, the Father of lights without whom there is no variation and or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the Word of truth. (17-18).
But it is especially interesting to hear this title, “beloved brothers” especially from James.
The James who calls us “beloved brothers” is the same James who shared a womb with Jesus.
James, Mary and Joseph’s son. James, the younger brother of Jesus.
James was a good man, but James rejected Jesus. That’s every Christian mothers’ worst nightmare.
Not even his brothers believed in Him (John 7:5).
Though Jesus preached the Word of truth, James continued to reject. He even once was quoted as saying along with his other brothers, (Jesus) is out of His mind. (Mark 3:21)
But half-brother and Lord Jesus was patient with James. After receiving all of God’s wrath for all who we like sheep who have gone astray, and receiving God’s anger for all who reject His Word of promise and command either sometimes or all the time, Jesus died with the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” for his brothers’ sake and Mary’s sake and your sake and your childrens’ sake.
Jesus rose again on the third day and appeared to many, including His half-brother James, because Jesus is the Good Shepherd who keeps searching for His lost sheep who have rejected their Shepherd. And by this appearance and Jesus’ Words to Him and gift of the Holy Spirit, James believed the Jesus He grew up with was also His Lord and His God.
Mary and Joseph gave birth naturally to James and thus she gave birth to a sinner who by nature rejected the Word of truth and the Father who gave it.
That’s you and me, too and all our children and our mothers as well. Flesh gives birth to flesh.
But Jesus kept preaching to His brother and this Word of Truth also gave new birth to James. God’s Word also made James a spiritual brother of His Lord Jesus.
“Beloved brothers,” Jesus keeps giving His Word to us.
His water and Word – this promise is for you and for your children.
His Word of truth that creates faith, makes mothers, fathers, and you children of God and keeps us as children of God.
Mary must have slept easier after James’ conversion.
Church history has James becoming the most important pastor for the Church in Jerusalem. He happily humbled himself to become a servant of his older half-brother. That’s what he calls himself in the beginning of his letter, James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1).
This servant of the Lord Jesus would die for His confession that Jesus is Lord.
One father in the faith tells that James was led up to the pinnacle of the temple, the very place Jesus was tempted by Satan to throw Himself down, and James was told by the Jewish leaders,
“Control these opinions about Jesus, whom many are erroneously claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God. Tell us, who is this Jesus who was crucified?”
James responded, “Why do you ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He Himself sits in heaven, at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and shall come again on the clouds of heaven.”
As the Christians in the crowd yelled and cheered on the bold confession of their pastor in the face of danger, James yelled out “Hosanna to the Son of David.”
At those words, the Pharisees and scribes yelled, “Liar,” and threw James down from the pinnacle of the temple.
The fall did not kill him, so they began to stone him, and James turned and knelt down, “I beseech You, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” With those words on his lips, he died. With those words, he lives with Jesus and Mary and all “beloved brother” loved by that Heavenly Father. (Hegesippus, Book 5).
The Christian is not bound to confess that story as God’s Word. It’s historical, but it’s not in the Bible.
The Christian though is bound to confess that God’s Word changes people, converts people, keeps seeking all who stray.
God’s Word turns people to the truth, forgives people, and emboldens them to confess Jesus is Lord even to the point of death, and even in the face of death and lies to pray for their enemies’ conversion and forgiveness.
That’s the Word that James says brought us forth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. New creations of God to be His and like Him to others.
That’s the Word that James preaches to us that says, Know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
That’s the Word that the Holy Spirit uses to convicts you of your sin today when you hear that and know that too often you have been slow to hear God and others, quick to speak and make excuses and judgments, and all too often way too quick to anger.
When mothers and you as children of mothers are convicted of the their sin, God is using His Word. The Holy Spirit is working. But He’s not done.
The Spirit also uses that Word to declare all mothers, and all children of mothers – you righteous because Jesus went to the Father. You are righteous for the sake of Jesus Christ. Be quick to hear that!
Be quick to hear that Word that judges the devil, not you, Jesus said. He is the liar. You are not condemned. You are forgiven. The devil will not win. Jesus will and He has you with Him.
Be quick again to hear that Word that James says is implanted into you again today and is able to save you as you receive it meekness. Do not rely on yourself. Humble yourself before almighty God and receive again the Word which exalts you to being His child, pure and holy.
Dear mothers, dear children of mothers, dear Christians created by God’s will, drink deeps from the wells of salvation of that Word.
And be quick to hear that Word that allows many Christian mothers and fathers to rejoice in as it causes them to look forward to an eternity spent in full joy with their children – beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and also of James the brother of Jesus and of each other. Amen.