You know, in church and mostly in scriptures such as the New Testament, we only hear about Jesus but Mary and Joseph had other children too. Two of them in particular are highlighted in the New Testament and they are James and Jude. Both are half-brothers to Jesus and they became believers in Him as well as leaders in the church.
It is hard for us to realize that even though He was the firstborn son of Mary, that she actually had some other children too. James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem before his death and he wrote the book of James too. I a preaching this Sunday, tomorrow, from the first chapter of James and he has some interesting advice for us as Christians. Particularly about how we exercise our faith in Jesus and learn to be more like Him.
Even though he is referred to as the half-brother of our Lord, they were raised together just like any other children. To the community, they were brothers since few people knew about the Parentage of Jesus being the Son of God. Only his parents who raised him and Elizabeth and Zachariah and John knew Who He was prior to His resurrection. In spite of some of the “books” which were written about His life as a boy, which were false by the way, Jesus did not create small animals and bring them to life to play with. These books are nonsense and fantasy, nothing more.
James teaches us today that we must bear up under persecution and testing in our life to prove our faith in Him. Just as gold is purified when it is in the fire, we are brought to our best when we use our faith to strengthen our walk with Him, especially when we are under stress because of the world we live in. We are expected to exercise our faith just as we exercise our muscles, making it stronger and more durable in times of trial. Therefore, when trials do come we will be able to bear up in faith and lean on Jesus and His strength for our support.
Jesus did not say that we wouldn’t have trials in this life, He said when trials come and when you fast, be of good cheer because He has overcome the world and its troubles. We are to have faith in Him and lean on His strength and the wisdom from God’s Word, not on our own strength and wisdom. Jesus will give us the strength and the ability to get through our trials, whatever they may be, as long as we have faith in Him.