Matins Devotion: October 23, 2023
What a strange thing it must have been for St. James, to have the Savior of the world as his brother. The man he grew up with, the man he’d known since childhood, the man he’d seen a thousand times who seemed to have nothing special about Him, no majesty that should draw people to Him. Certainly James had heard the stories of Christ’s miraculous birth and His astonishing visits to the temple. But still, how could your own brother be the Son of God? How could salvation come from someone you’ve seen trip and fall, or even belch? How could salvation come from something so familiar, so common, so unremarkable?
This mindset is why, of course, a prophet is without honor in his hometown. It’s why the lowly of Nazareth were filled with bitterness instead of faith when they saw the miracles of Christ. It’s why many of His own family didn’t believe in him. “How dare God shame us by pouring out this gift on someone so close to us, but not us? How dare this common person Jesus expect me to rejoice when I see Him clothed in a glory I didn’t get?”
But after His resurrection, Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to James, His brother, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15. And in His mercy, our Lord took His brother and established him as the first bishop of Jerusalem, blessing James to make bold confessions of the resurrection and to speak the word that gives the righteousness of Christ to all who believe.
So hear the words of James and place your eyes upon His brother, the one He once saw as common but then saw as holy and set apart. Put your eyes on Jesus and see that, through Him, you are no longer common. You are no longer lowly or worthless. Now you are God’s most precious possession. Now the very Son of God has clothed you in His majesty and honor. Now everything He has belongs to you because Jesus Christ, the brother of James, has made the unremarkable sinners into the eternally glorious children of God.