Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Portrait of a Disciple (James the Great)

                I had the privilege of knowing Jesus of Nazareth better than most during his time here on earth.  I was able to spend three intimate years alongside this incredible man.  It’s was crazy, he just stopped by one day and said “follow me”.   Why would this man specifically choose me and my brother John to leave everything behind, our job, our future; basically all the security in our lives just to follow him?  There was something so different yet astonishing about him that we didn’t think twice.  So we dropped everything and followed him.   We had no idea what we were about to encounter.

                One time I remember taking a walk with him up the mountainside when all of a sudden he was transformed before our eyes.  What we saw didn’t seem real, but there was no other explanation for it.  His face began to shine like the sun, his clothes became dazzling white and then out of nowhere appeared Moses and Elijah.  They began to talk to Jesus.  Peter, John and myself were terrified.  Could this really be happening?  Before we knew it, a cloud enveloped us and a voice that could only be the voice of Father God himself said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.”  Needless to say, after an experience like that; I not only listened to every word he said, but I made every effort to apply what he said to my life.  

                I could no longer retain the zeal that was within me for this man.  He truly was the Son of God.  I witnessed it with me own eyes. Although, at times it may have come across to strong.  Once I may have asked permission from Jesus to send fire upon a Samaritan village.  They treated us terribly and at first I thought they deserved it, looking back I realize they hadn’t met this man Jesus before, they didn’t know the way they were treating others was wrong.  Almost as if they were blind to their actions, having never been shown what is true and noble.

                Why would he choose me to share with and experience the most important part of his life on earth?  Why did this perfection of a man want me, a shameful person by comparison to be one of his closest friends?  At times I must have embarrassed him with my selfishness and lack of compassion for others.  Yet, he never scolded me, never once condemned my actions.  Instead, he lovingly showed me how be a better person.  Looking back, I see now that it was his desire to help change me and teach me how to honor God in everything I do.  I see now that the zeal I once had for him caused damage, yet he helped mold that zeal into a useful tool for his Fathers kingdom.  

                History tends to identify me as “James the Great”.  The truth is I am nobody great.  Make no mistake; it was Jesus who was great.  Therefore, anything attributed as “great” in my name, I owe it all to Jesus.  Without him I was nothing.  It was only until I walked with him, talked with him and learned from him that I was able to be of any value in this world.   It was his friendship and love that transformed me into something to be greatly used for his purposes.

                However, the question still remains within me.  Why?  Why did he choose me?  What did he see in me that was of any use to him?  I don’t believe I’ll ever know for sure, but none-the-less, I considered it an honor and a privilege to live life alongside of the man who came to save the world.  

 - James son of Zebedee

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