Many years ago there was a man named James and he happened to be the (half) brother of Jesus. He didn’t become a follower of Jesus until after he saw Him raised from the dead (I’m sure that probably convinced a lot of people). Shortly after the he saw the risen Jesus, James was elevated quickly. After a sermon where Peter preached, 5,000 people decided to become followers of Jesus and a church quickly formed. James was chosen to be the 1st pastor of this church. Shortly after, a Council was assembled to help guide and give wisdom to this new movement, James was added to this very select group of people. James was what we would have considered a “Big Deal” in the 1st church.
Unfortunately, not everyone was happy with this new movement. Rome felt extremely threatened and sought to extinguish it as quickly as possible. They took Christians and burned them at the stake. They threw them into arenas where they were eaten by animals for sport. James most likely knew and loved many who had been killed for their faith. In response to those who were hurting, he wrote the letter we call “James.”
It’s his introduction that gets me. He could have opened with “My name is James and I’m the pastor of the largest church in the world,” but he didn’t. Or maybe, “I’m on the Jerusalem Council and you need to listen to me,” but he didn’t do that either. Instead, he introduced himself in a way that humbles us all, “James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ …” Want to help the hurting?, become a servant. James didn’t want to be recognized by the titles given to him by men, but to be known by the greatest title ever given by God, a Servant.