James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the New Testament book of James. It’s an incredible call of obedience written from a very humble voice. This fascinates me! When we contemplate the childhood of Jesus and James, we can very quickly realize that the book of James may be the most intimate reflection of our Savior. Out of all the books of the Bible, the author of this book knew more about Jesus than other writers. Sure, Jesus was tight with all his disciples, but no one else knew what Jesus looked like first thing in the morning when He rolled out of bed. No one shared family chores and other household responsibilities. No other author went to the same family reunion year after year, hearing the same story from Aunt Elizabeth… not that they had an Aunt Elizabeth, but you get my drift.
I am blessed by having two older brothers. Both of them I love tremendously, one of which I admire and wanted to emulate. There was a time in my life that I did everything my older brother did. He played an instrument, so I played that same instrument. He shopped at a particular store, so I shopped at that same store. He went to a certain college to study a particular subject, so I went to that same college and considered a subject very similar. This is the case for many siblings.
The other side of the spectrum are siblings who can’t stand being in the same room with one another. They’re always fighting over toys, attention, etc. They work hard to get the other in trouble. They make fun of one another. There’s little connection and there’s little desire to be like the other.
Which scenario is most likely the case between Jesus and James? We don’t know. But, in either case. These boys grew up with one another – either following or fighting. In either situation, you know your sibling intimately. You know their likes or their dislikes. You know what drives them, or what drives them crazy. You know how to lift them up or pull them down. You’ve fought over the bathroom in the morning, you’ve had late night conversations about the meaning of life, you’ve supported each other by going to one another’s sports games, you’ve ate at the same table for years.
Due to the sibling relationship between Jesus and James, we can conclude that James knew Jesus more intimately that any other disciple or New Testament writer. That certainly makes this book very appealing. If we want to know Jesus intimately, we need to read the entire book of the Bible, but a great place to start might be with his brother.