How do you know for sure Christianity is true? What if you’re just accepting what you were always taught just like everyone else in the world? One of the most powerful proofs of the Christian faith to strengthen your faith and destroy doubt is James 1:1.
“James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (James 1:1 Author’s translation).
Jesus’ Brothers Didn’t Believe
If you aren’t having great success reaching someone in your family with the gospel, don’t beat yourself up too much. That happened even to Jesus.
“Even his own brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:5).
“When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘he is out of his mind’” (Mark 3:21).
Jesus’ brothers continued in their unbelief until Jesus died—and even after his resurrection.
Jesus had said, “They will kill me, but on the third day I’ll rise from the dead.” Everything happened exactly as Jesus predicted. They killed him, buried him, and on the third day, lo and behold, the tomb was empty, just as he had said. But even then, James still didn’t believe.
Say what you will about James, but one thing is for sure—he wasn’t gullible. He was an intelligent man and as skeptical as they come. Not even all the miracles of Jesus whole ministry were enough to persuade him. Nor did the empty tomb, though it had been under Roman guard. This wasn’t just skepticism. It was stubborn, dig-in-your-heels refusal to believe.
But then something happened. Something more convincing than all Jesus’ miracles put together. It was a series of events that rattled James to the core and turned his life on a dime. And not just James. All four of Jesus’ brothers became believers. In the first verse of his book, James refers to Jesus as the Lord. And in Acts 1:14 James is among those risking their lives to gather with Jesus’ followers for worship.
What was this event that not even a world-class skeptic like James could deny?
“… Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).
Imagine James is sitting in his house. There’s a knock at the door. He opens it to find, standing before him, his “crazy” big brother.
“Jesus? No way! Is that really you?”
“Look at my scars. Touch them. I told you I would rise from the dead, and here I am. Ask me any question from our childhood. It’s me.”
I don’t know if that’s how it went. Did James throw his arms around Jesus? Did he drop to his knees like Thomas? Did he stand in stunned amazement trying to process what he was seeing? We don’t know. What we do know is that it changed James forever.
Many Convincing Proofs
Jesus spent almost a month and a half providing many convincing proofs that it was really him (Acts 1:3). Then in Acts 1:9 he ascended into heaven before their eyes. James became a devoted worshipper of Jesus and never looked back.
Even secular, unbelieving scholars admit that transformation happened. They don’t believe Jesus did miracles and they don’t believe he rose from the dead. But still, the majority of non-Christian scholars admit that Jesus’ tomb was empty on the third day, and when that was verified, the Apostles and Jesus’ brothers still did not believe. But forty days later, they did.
How could this be explained if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead? Could it be that they all got together and colluded to invent a new religion by lying about a resurrection? No. People don’t die for something they know to be a lie.
Could it be they wanted to believe it so badly that they imagined it? No. Every bit of historical evidence we have shows none of them expected it and they were resistant even when presented with evidence.
One of the most compelling, irrefutable proofs of Christianity is the transformation of the Jesus’ brothers from die hard unbelievers to men who would lay down their lives to worship Jesus and proclaim his resurrection from the dead.
The critics of our day might be highly educated, but they are 2000 years removed from the events. Are we to believe they know better what happened than James, who was there?
A Perfect Life
The conversion of Jesus’ brothers not only proves the resurrection, but it also tells us a lot about Jesus and the kind of life he lived. Think about your own siblings. Is there any chance you could be convinced one of them was sinlessly perfect from birth?
All that would have been required for anyone to disprove Jesus’ claims would be to point out one single sin. One moral misstep over the course of his whole life, and his entire case collapses. And not even Jesus’ brothers could come up with a single one.
Let James 1:1 Fortify Your Faith
One of the main purposes of James’ book is to help us overcome doubt and become more steadfast in our faith (see James 1:6-8). And we need look no further than the opening line, where James calls himself a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you struggle with doubt and you ask yourself, “Why should I believe this is true?” consider James. Why should you believe it? Because James believed it. If anyone was in a position to know if it was true, it was James.
There is more than adequate proof that Jesus is who he said he was. But that proof is more than just information. The proof carries with it a moral mandate.
If someone proved to you that George Washington lived, you could ignore that information if you wanted to. But if they proved that your wife or child was being attacked, the moment you have that information, you have a moral responsibility to act. Ignoring it would be evil.
The truth about Christ is like that. It’s a piece of information that makes demands on you every moment of the day, because the truth about Jesus is that he is Lord. And if he is Lord, he must be obeyed, honored, trusted, and loved.
Take a moment to think through the implications of this in the decisions you will be making over the next 24 hours.