Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Resurrection and Jesus' Brothers

Stott's reading this morning (p. 293 in Through the Bible Through the Year) notes that Jesus' brothers are among those who, with the remaining apostles,"the women[,] and Mary the mother of Jesus," had "all joined together constantly in prayer" during the period between the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 1:14)  I had never understood what happened to turn the brothers around, as the last time we see them before this point is during Jesus' pre-Calvary ministry.  They were then apparently in opposition to him (Luke 8: 19-21) and did not believe in him (John 7:5).

Stott notes that "they had finally come to faith because of the private resurrection appearance that Jesus had granted to James the Lord's brother (1 Cor. 15:7)."  Here is that reference in context:

5:1 Now I want to make clear for you,   brothers and sisters,  the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance   what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive,  though some have fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 15:8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also.  [NET Bible; my emphasis]

The following note to 1 Cor. 15:7 is in my NIV Study Bible, as to James:

"Since this James is listed in addition to the apostles, he is not James son of Zebedee or James son of Alphaeus (Mt. 10:2-3).  This is James, the half-brother of Jesus (Mt 13:55), who did not believe in Christ before the resurrection (Jn 7:5) but afterward joined the apostolic band (Ac 1:14) and later became prominent in the Jerusalem church (Ac 15:13).  It is not clear in Scripture when and where this appearance to James occurred. "

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