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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Just James

I'm sure everyone that reads this blog is also an avid reader of the Bible. However I was listening to the radio the other day and they where talking about the brother of Jesus Christ, James. This got my wheels turning and a serious need to learn more about the life and times of James Christ.

In October of 2002 a stone "bone box" no more than 2 feet long, made of limestone was found in Jerusalem. These "bone boxes" where used to keep the remains of the deceased from approximately 20 B.C. to 70 A.D. The inscription on the box was in ancient Aramaic and read "James, son of Joseph. Brother of Jesus." Now there are a few questions here. The first is "that Jesus?" the Second is "was he the real brother or half brother?" No one really knows for sure mostly because the reporting rituals of those crazy Catholics can be quite convoluted.

Mosaic law encouraged young couples to have a butt-load of kids thus advancing the race and religion. Now J-Date is carrying this torch. Along these lines Mary and Joseph went at it like bunnies only after Jesus came by way of immaculate conception (yeah right...) Let's get this straight, one day Joseph comes home from his daily grind as a carpenter and is sat down by Mary. Mary has been searching for the words for the past month and a half after Joseph has been teasing her about maybe getting out and to the gym because it looks like she has been gaining a little weight. Mary finally sets the record straight. Letting Joe know that although he has never hit it, she is in fact pregnant. Oh and by the way the baby is his although when Jesus arrives he is described by the book of Revelations as having hair like sheep's wool and dark skin and the Old Testament has him as having milky white skin and hair, essentially a albino. No matter who or what you believe you have to admit the story stands on shaky ground. After getting this news Joe's reaction is to tell Mary to get on the donkey so they can get to Bethlehem from Nazareth to be born before Angels and Shepard's and be exalted as the savior. To which I can only imagine there must have been a huge relief that Joe bought this story. Cheating on your husband in this time period was punishable by  the accepted penalty of death.
Getting back to James. Depending on what you believe according to the New Testament Joe and Mary in fact have a few kids after Jesus. The next being James then Jude, Simon and Joses these are the English translations of the common Hebrew names Yaakov, Yosi, Shimon, and Yehudah. These are mentioned in the Bible under the book of Mathew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 among other exerts. Jame's name is always the first on the list which suggests he was the first.

Now for all you second kids out there let's think about this a little. Brothers can be brutal to each other. However the younger brother typically idolizes their older sibling. Now enter the parents and James comes home from school with some low grades and Mary and Joe can be over-heard in the kitchen saying "how come he can't be more like Jesus?" James constantly finds himself trying to live up to the expectations of his parents and trying to reach the bar set by his older brother. And you can probably bet he was always asking Jesus to carry him around after he read the "Footprints in the Sand" poem

Now James was no slouch himself. In fact has was a prominent figure in the Apostolic Age. His title is "Bishop of Bishops." However he is called by Paul and several others (Galatians 1:9) "James the brother of the Lord" Which I am sure went a long way on the street. You can almost here the people whispering. "See that dude right there? Don't mess with him. That's Jesus little brother." And you know Jesus has street cred with the stigmata marks (holes in the hands and feet) from those bastard Romans.

Then Hegesippus comes along and dubs him "James the Just." Which is cool because now he has a nickname given to him by his peers. Now you know that after the first party James went to and they ran out of wine and he couldn't do the water into wine trick "James the Just" was quickly re-worked to be "Just James." Everyone looking to him to keep the party rocking and there is James just chilling in his sandals. Just prior to this he was getting a little shine from the ladies. He's riding the coat tails of his brother taking crumbs and sloppy seconds. Sort of like Sylvester Stallone's brother Frank. Yeah he is in a few movies and all that but girls are just chilling with him till they get an opening with Sly. In the end they find out Jesus isn't messing with the chicken heads trying to get with him and he strictly rolls with a gang of 12 called the apostles. His crew roams the land just paying it forward and teaching that it's all good. Although there has been a little talk about how Jesus might have hooked up with Mary Magdalen but Catholics and Jew's alike will tell you that's just an ugly rumor. Then why does she get to sit next to Jesus at the Last Supper?

L to R: Bart, Young James, Andy, Pete, Judas, Dirty Mary, JESUS, Tom, Lil' James, Phil, Matt, Thadeus, Simon  
James has a lot to overcome too like the time he was following his older brother and almost drown... "isn't that Jesus Brother James Christ. Yeah, don't get excited it's just James. Everyone including him knows James can't swim. Mom has to throw him a bone every so often to keep him from displaying middle kid syndrome so she asks him to bless the food on the table while winking at Jesus and nudging him with her elbow like "don't worry Jesus we all know whats up." Sort of the equivalent of Phil Jackson giving the ball to Scottie Pippen in the last seconds of a game versus the Clippers instead of Michael Jordan. I mean it's just the Clippers and no one will ever remember this game and Scottie could really use the confidence at this point. If James hooks up with a fine young lady they all scream his brother or his fathers name in bed. You just know that must make it tough to stay hard. Friends of James in the hospital and James comes to visit with a little bouquette of flowers and a get well card. Everyone looking at him like "If you really meant it you would talk to your brother and get me up out of this mess here."

However with all this adversity James keeps on fighting the good fight. And this isn't an easy thing to do with all his detractors. No one wants to believe James is Mary's son. You see in those days Mary is a dime and Joseph is just a carpenter probably around a 7 at best. No one wants to admit that Mary is slumming with
Joe. But Mary sticks with him especially after he bought the whole immaculate conception. James becomes a "made man" and is given the title Head of the Church at Jerusalem.  The Orthodox come up with a doctrine of perpetual virginity which makes Mary with the cherry a virgin for life. Essentially saying Mary did not have any children after Jesus. Mathew however set the record straight from the Protestant side of the story (1:25) saying "Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son" (Jesus.) Basically saying even he bought Mary's story about getting impregnated by the Lord, but after that Mary finally started doing her wifely duties and gave it up to Joseph on the regular. Thus producing 4 more sons.

Now James didn't follow all Jesus had to offer. Actually none of them where really "followers" of his word till after his death. It wasn't till after the Resurrection and Jesus appeared before 500 + people (1st Corinthians 15:7) That James finally got with the program and started dropping Jesus' name. Telling all who would listen that his dead brother was the messiah, the conquering hero who would overthrow the order of things and sit on David's throne. He quickly rapidly became a leader in the growing Jesus Movement, but there was never any question of him replacing Jesus, or becoming an alternative messiah. He was still and always was Just James.

James died as an act of martyrdom. He was sentenced to death by stoning for his apposing views concerning Mosaic Law. According to scribes, James took it like a boss kneeling before those stoning him he prayed "I beseech Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." One of the priests Rechab the son of Rechabim tried to put a stop to it. “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But someone took a staff used to wring out the garments he dyed for a living, and hurled it at the head of the just man. It is said James was buried on the spot and a pillar erected to his memory still remains. James died in 62 A.D.
To this day the Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, Episcopal Church and Roman Catholics all celebrate the life of James. Calling him "Apostle James the Just, brother of Our Lord", and feasting in his honor at different times of the year depending on the faith. However we all now know him as "Just James."

Amen & ...



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