Have you ever wondered what it might have been like to be one of Jesus’ brothers or sisters? How obvious was it that they were different from him? Did he do the same chores, play the same games, and enjoy similar activities? Did the things that he knew and understood set him apart in either negative or positive ways? Did they resemble each other in looks or mannerisms or voice? Except for the incident when he went with his parents at age 12 to Jerusalem for the annual Passover Festival, the writers of the Gospels are completely silent concerning his childhood and adolescence. We simply know that “he grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people” – Luke 2:32.
Evidently, growing up in the same home as Jesus, did not mean that his siblings really grasped the reality that Jesus was not only Mary’s son, but that He was also God’s one and only Son, the long awaited Messiah. In fact, we know from Mark’s biography, that after hearing stories about the miracles that Jesus was performing and the message that he was proclaiming, they wanted to get him out of public view. They, along with some of their neighbors and friends in Nazareth, were “offended and refused to believe in him”. While their cynicism and skepticism kept many of them from faith during the 3 years that Jesus spread his “good news of the Kingdom” and compassionately cared for those who needed his healing touch, that all changed at least for his brother, James, after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The change was immediate and radical. James went from being a scoffer to becoming a respected leader in the church in Jerusalem. He had seen His brother in person and He wanted everyone to not only put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ but to learn how to make that faith visible and real!
For James, deeds of kindness and mercy, words of wisdom and encouragement, respect and reverence for God’s Word, and patience to accept times of testing and trial with joy, were some of the important ways to live so that everyone could see the change that their faith in Jesus had made in their life. It was a dramatic change “from the inside out”.