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The ACTS OF JESUSwas all about the early gatherings around Jesus and his kingdom, it seems right to continue in the early days with the earliest of books written to the believers at that time. Remember that in the early “church or synagogue” of Jesus, there were more Jews than Gentiles. I like to call them Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles. One of the earliest books written to these believers (primarily to the Messianic Jews) was JAMES.
JAMES was most likely written by the apostle who presided over the leadership group of Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. We saw him in Acts 15. This is one of four James’ mentioned. It was written between 48-50 A.D.
The book is filled with the most practical issues of walking with Jesus and walking with one another. It’s the Proverbs of the New Testament. I see the entire book’s theme as faith in action-I call it FAITH IS A VERB. You see, faith works when life doesn’t. There is also an interesting play between faith and works that is introduced in this book.
Let’s get into it:1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
James, one of the early apostles, was maybe the chief apostle.This letter from James is written specifically to the twelve tribes who are dispersed. This refers to those Messianic Jews who lived outside Palestine, scattered around the world among the Gentiles. There were 2 great dispersions-the eastern and the western. The first was when 10 of the 12 tribes were carried away by Assyria and in the time of the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.). The other was the western dispersion that happened during the reign of the Macedonian, Alexander the Great (early 300’s B.C.). This placed Jewish communities throughout the world in large numbers in some areas where they were united in their synagogues. This gives better understanding to why Paul felt the need to travel all over in his mission trips. He knew of these communities throughout the world who would be interested to hear the messages of the kingdom of God and Jesus, the Christ (Messiah).
As we move through the early writing of the book of James, we’re going to be in touch with the earliest, practical teachings of Jesus that spread throughout the global Jesus movement. To me, it’s important to understand what was most important to them at that time. SO, let’s get to it!