Have you ever wondered where James (the gospel writer and brother of Jesus) was during Jesus’ earthly ministry? Was he one of the brothers mentioned in Matthew 12:47, where we read, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” Was he one of the family who comes to take Him away because they had thought “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21b.) Did James hear Jesus say, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” and know that he pointed to His disciples and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers? For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (from Matthew 12:48-50). Did he hear those words and take them as a rebuke and then shut himself off from Jesus and the truths He had to share?
In the book of Acts, we read that James is a leader in the church and not just a leader; but the church leader in Jerusalem. What affected James such that when we read about the first gathering to address church matters, James is the one who responds with direction and authority? Does Paul offer a hint in 1 Corinthians 15:3–7, where he records that after Jesus’ resurrection, He visits James? There is no record of what was said between them, but that simple conversation and encounter appear to have changed James forever. What extraordinary act of reconciliation took place during that meeting for James to recognize what Jesus spoke about and what was the truth.
There is power in the name of Jesus, and even the most seemingly insignificant encounter can be life-changing. Once someone meets Jesus and recognizes what He offers, their life changes. Once someone chooses to follow Him, Jesus awakens them to a different perspective of the world and guides them to His kingdom. Jesus did not promise that His followers would have a life of ease and luxury but shared that we will have an encourager with us as we go through life. He said that He would be with us during difficult times when life seemed to be going poorly. But more importantly, Jesus said He would be with us so that we could live life fully and so we could become loving and compassionate and see the world around us and change it, especially for those in need.
When we pray for our family, our neighbours and our colleagues, we should pray they have an encounter with Jesus. We know that Jesus will initiate a life-changing transformation in them. We should pray that they have a simple conversation with Jesus so that He can speak truth into their life. We should also pray that we can be part of this simple conversation to continue to be changed.