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 say “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?
In the books of Acts, we read James is a leader in the church and not just a leader but apparently the leader of the church 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? Paul offers the 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 encounter appears to have changed James forever. What wonderful act of reconciliation took place during that meeting for James to recognize, that all what Jesus spoke about was 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 lives will change. 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 seems to be going poorly. But more importantly, Jesus said He will 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 have simple encounters with our family, our neighbours and our colleagues, we should pray that our lives are noticeable to them, that they ask us “what is different about you?” We may get to talk about Jesus, or we may not, but we can pray that encounter sparks interest in Jesus. We know that Jesus can 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 so we also can continue to be changed.