Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact #5

Jesus had at least four brothers: James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon (see Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56). That Jesus had a brother called James is a fact supported by archaeology and non-biblical historian Josephus. An ancient bone box dating to the first century was found with the inscription: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. As it is well known, Josephus also mentioned James, he said “the brother of Jesus who was also called the Christ, whose name was James”. As such the historical existence of James is well-attested.

Even though James was the brother of Jesus, there is no evidence that suggests that he was a follower of Jesus before the crucifixion, or believed that Jesus was who He claimed to be. In fact we have evidence that proves that James, like his brothers, thought Jesus was a mad man. In Mark, Jesus’ family (probably including James) says about Jesus: “He is out of his mind” (3:21). In John we are told that “even his brothers did not believe in him” (6:7). One important thing to notice about James is that he was a faithful believer in Judaism, as attested by Paul, a fellow believer in Judaism at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion (see Galatians 2:12). So there is no doubt that James didn’t believe in Jesus before He was crucified.

We know that James wasn’t a believer in Jesus’ before the crucifixion, but we have evidence that James became a leader in the Christian church after the claimed resurrection of Jesus. In Paul’s visit to Jerusalem, we are told that he met the elders of the church which included James (Acts 15:12-21, Galatians 1:19). Hegesippus, an early second century historian, says “James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles”. The explanation for James’ conversion to Christianity and ascendency to the leadership of the church is because of the claim that he had an experience of the risen Jesus. Paul says Jesus “appeared to James” (1 Corinthians 15:7). We also know that James went on to be a martyr for his belief in Jesus, whom he believed was resurrected from the dead.


1 Comment »

  1. emeth said

    This might interest you. New Archeological findings in Jerusalem related to the resurrection

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