Desposyni

April 1, 2013
by Lori Ciccanti

1 Corinthians 15:6-7 – 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, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (NIV)

Recently, I watched a fascinating documentary, hosted by the 700 Club, which discussed the biblical and historical record of Jesus' brothers and other family members. The name given to them in the Greek is "desposyni", meaning "the Lord's family" or "belonging to the Lord". According to the Scriptures, Jesus had four half-brothers, who were known as "James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas" (Matthew 13:55) and at least two sisters, whose names are not mentioned.

Interestingly, during the course of Jesus' ministry, the Gospels plainly tell us that the Lord's brothers did not believe in Him. But Galatians 1:19 specifically mentions "James, the Lord's brother", referring to him as an apostle. Therefore, we can be sure that he saw the risen Lord. Contemplating these thoughts, I found the eyewitness testimony of James most intriguing.

In today's text, Paul said that many who had witnessed the resurrection were still alive at the time of his preaching. Anyone with any doubts about Paul's report could have interviewed those individuals for their own satisfaction. Personally, I would have loved to talk to James because of his unique background. Evidently, like Paul, he did not accept the Lord until after the resurrection.

So, with a little imagination, I wrote the following questions as if I were going to interview James:

  • James, tell me why you didn't support your brother's earthly ministry. Mark's Gospel indicates that at some point, your family was convinced that Jesus needed psychological help. What was the basis for this concern?
  • What were you and your brothers thinking when you tried to persuade Jesus to go to Judea where his enemies were waiting to take his life? Looking back, do you think that jealousy played a role in your unbelief? What other obstacles may have stood in your way?
  • Describe your encounter with the risen Lord. How did that experience affect your life?

Jesus said, "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:35 NIV) By God's grace, James truly became one of Jesus' desposyni as Christ's resurrection transformed his life forever. Not only is he believed to be the author of the book of James, but also he became the most influential leader in the Jerusalem church until his martyrdom around 62 A.D. James is remembered for his powerful prayer ministry; many nicknamed him "camel knees". He was also known as "James the Just" because of his exceptional character.

Now that you have heard James' amazing testimony, in what ways has the resurrection impacted your life?

Prayer: We praise You, Lord, for the witness of James, Your brother and faithful servant. Use his life as an example and inspiration to us as we seek Your presence in our daily lives. Renew our spirits with the hope and power of Your resurrection through the blessed gift of eternal life. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks Lori for sharing.


    Lori, thank you for sharing this devotional with us about James and the disciples. I loved your interview questions. Praying all is well with you and yours. Blessings.


    Again I thank you!!!! I lived in Delaware for many years and wish I could have met you. You help make the Bible alive. I hope you teach a Bible study.
    (Fl)


    Lori – Your whole devotional causes me to think and ask about other occurrences found in found in the Bible: why are they there and how does that impact my life; and, in turn, those that I interface daily in my life. This makes me realize that I need to take time to evaluate and delve into Jesus’ other family members. I loved your technique in writing your questions in the form of an interview. Great piece of writing.


    Dear Lori,
    Happy Easter.
    Thanks for the thought.
    Blessings,
    (England)


    Thank you Lori,
    For a new look at the disciples of our Lord. You gave valuable insight to James for which I, and I am sure, your readers are grateful. Your questions were equally applicable to many of your readers, I’m sure.
    Enjoy your Easter Monday.
    Blessings.


    Hi Lori!
    For James, Christ’s Resurrection changed everything.
    For anyone who believes the Resurrection and confesses Christ, it does the same.
    Thank you for writing carefully, about the JOY of knowing our Lord.
    The LORD Bless you and keep you.


    Lori,
    You have given me some new history regarding Jesus’ Family. I like how you used the questions you would like to of asked James if you could interviewed him (great approach).
    In my Bible group, I told my Christian brothers that this last week I felt closer to God then ever. My prayer was to give Him praise for the sacrifice of His Son for my sins. His resurrection gave a rejoicing feeling all day and I asked the men how we can keep this “feeling” throughout the year.
    Thanks again for your writing.

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