Jesus’ Brother James and the Resurrection
by Ryan Leasure
Lots of different arguments exist for Jesus’ resurrection. One of the more persuasive, in my estimation, comes from Jesus’ brother James. While other lines of evidence receive more attention, e.g., women eye-witnesses to the empty tomb, the disciples’ willingness to face persecution, and the resurrection appearances, I believe James’ life provides yet another compelling argument.
JAMES DIDN’T BELIEVE INITIALLY
Scripture doesn’t tell us much about James in his early years. We know he was Jesus’ younger brother, grew up in his same household, and had the closest interaction with Jesus one could possibly have.
Despite the close proximity, the Gospels tell us that Jesus’ own brothers didn’t believe that he was the Son of God. After witnessing the large crowds who followed Jesus, Mark 3:21 reports, “And when his family heard it, they went out to seize [Jesus], for they were saying, He is out of his mind.”
Additionally, John 7:5 admits, “For not even his brothers believed in him.” It’s hard to mistake what the Gospel authors report here. Jesus’ closest family members — James included — were skeptics. And who can blame then?
Anyone ever involved in a sibling rivalry can no doubt sympathize with James here. Imagine being the younger brother of Mr. Perfect! Think about the animosity he must have felt every time Mary and Joseph compared him to big brother. Talk about middle-child syndrome! It’s not hard to see why James would have rejected his brother’s claims. After all, if my older sibling said they were divine and the promised Messiah, I would think they were crazy too…