From ancient times, the New Testament letter of James was attributed to James “the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19). If so, we can be sure that, together with Jude (Jude 1:1), he didn’t grow up thinking of their older brother as the Savior of the world (John 7:5). Only after Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:7) would he think of himself as a servant of the exalted Lord (James 1:1; 2:1).
Interestingly, though, James doesn’t promote and distinguish himself as someone who grew up in the same house as Jesus. Instead, he treats his readers like members of the family and urges, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way . . . . If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (1:2, 5 NLT).
Later in the letter, we learn that James is speaking of a wisdom that offers a different way of responding to the insults and inequalities of life. After addressing problems surfacing among followers of Jesus, he writes, “Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:16–18 NLT).
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