Brothers of Jesus
12 October 2017
Reading: Nehemiah 7-8; Acts 1
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. 13 When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), and Judas (son of James). 14 They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. (Acts 1:12-14 NLT)
When Jesus ascended to heaven, he left his followers with instructions not to return to their homes in Galilee yet, but to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. They returned to the house where they had been staying—possibly the same house where they had shared the Passover together 43 days earlier—and waited. They didn’t wait passively, sitting and staring at the ceiling and each other! They waited actively and passionately—praying together for God’s Holy Spirit to come upon them.
Among those who waited together were the eleven remaining apostles, Jesus’ mother Mary and other faithful women, lots of unnamed disciples of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers. Jesus’ brothers had mocked him and called him crazy early in his ministry. Now they believed. Jesus’ next oldest brother James would, before long, become the lead elder or pastor of the Jerusalem church.
Lesson for me: Don’t write people off just because it takes them some time to get settled into faith. I think it took Jesus’ brother James a while to process everything. When he finally acknowledged that his brother Jesus was truly the Messiah, God’s Son, his faith, his personality, and his wisdom made him a good leader for the entire church. Peter’s personality and enthusiasm helped him be a good apostle-messenger. John’s personal affection for Jesus helped him become the apostle of love.
Faithfully following Jesus and receiving the Gift and the gifts of his Holy Spirit enables each of us to fully become who God created us to be.
Father, May I become what you created and purposed me to be, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. May I use my influence to help others do the same. And may I be slow to judge others, trusting your grace at work in each person’s life. Amen.