I have just finished the James Bible study by Beth Moore. I feel like I have said goodbye to a dear friend that I will not see again for a long, long, time.
As I went through the 7 week in-depth study of the book of James I experienced amazement, chastisement, challenges, sorrow, enlightenment, and sheer joy. It was amazing to me to go through such a roller coaster of emotions and yet, it seemed natural as I unpacked and dug deeper into each verse.
James was the half-brother of Jesus, probably the first child that Mary and Joseph had together. James grew up in the shadow of a brother who was fully God and fully Man. When Jesus began His ministry James wanted nothing to do with it. And yet, when Jesus rose from the dead that Sunday morning everything changed.
James was there in the upper rooms on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the believers…He became one of the Pillars of the Early Church…. He was such a powerful leader that when the Jews rebelled against Rome in 66 A.D. Manipulative leaders struck back and had the Pillars arrested. James was martyred approximately 67 A.D.
James was actually said to have knees like camels because he spent so much time on them in prayer. Imagine knees that had become bony, calloused, maybe arthritic over time as James spent his morning, noon, and evening on his knees in prayer. Praying for Paul and Barnabas, Peter, John, the other disciples, the newly converted believers, the Early Church as it established itself in Jerusalem, the epicenter of the Jewish faith.
James didn’t mince words in his epistle. He called believers out on doubt, their tongue, having faith but not having the works that backed it up. He challenged believers to treat people without favoritism. He encouraged them to build into one another and to pray for each other. Pray, pray, pray for each other.
When I finished the study this morning I found myself feeling bummed. I didn’t want it to be over. But then I realized I would do what Beth Moore encouraged us to do in the study. Stay in the Word. Knees to the floor. Eyes to the sky. So that is what I will do.
Maybe my knees will look like camel knees when I am done. If they do, I will be in the best company.