Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament epistle written by James unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first chapter of this New Testament book. “James, a bondservants of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings” (James 1:1).
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect complete, lacing nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a doubled-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8).
“Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man will fade away in his pursuits” (James 1:9-11).
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a king of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:12-18).
“So then, my beloved brethren , let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself in spotted from the world” (James 1:21-27).
When you come to the epistle written by James you will find an epistle that was written unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad. This is something incredibly unique when you take the time to consider how this epistle comes directly after the epistle written unto the Hebrews. The previous epistle was written unto the Hebrews and was entirely and altogether centered upon the beauty, the wonder, the majesty and the splendor of Jesus. The epistle written unto the Hebrews was one that not only presented the Lord Jesus Christ as being seated at the right hand of the Father which was in heaven but also as our faithful and merciful High Priest. It is impossible to read the epistle written unto the Hebrews and not encounter the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the beauty and wonder of the Lord Jesus Christ and how He was supreme and better than anything that is in the heavens, than anything that is in the earth and anything that is under the earth. One cannot read the epistle written unto the Hebrews and not encounter the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the beauty, the wonder and the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ who took upon Himself the form of human flesh and blood for the purpose of temptation, for the purpose of suffering and for the purpose of dying as a sacrifice and offering for our sin. This epistle was not written unto Gentiles but was written unto those who would have had a working knowledge of the Law together with all its statutes, precepts, commands and decrees. This epistle was written to those who would have had an understanding of the requirement of the sacrificial system and that which was ordained and appointed by the living and eternal God through His servant Moses atop the mountain the wilderness.
As you come to the epistle written by James you will find it was written unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad—perhaps throughout Europe and throughout Asia. If you take the time to ready and study the New Testament book of Acts you will encounter the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the Jews being present in virtually every synagogue wherein the apostle Paul would himself journey during his apostolic journeys. You cannot read the New Testament book of Acts—specifically the apostolic and missionary journeys of the apostle Paul—and not encounter time and time again when the apostle Paul would first preach the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the Jews first. Time and time again within the New Testament book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul contending and alleging within the synagogues of the Jews that Jesus was indeed the Christ and that He suffered in the flesh, died upon the cross and was raised from death to life. Beginning with the thirteenth chapter of this New Testament book of Acts you will find the apostle Paul journeying to the various cities within Syria, within what is modern day Turkey and what is also modern day Greece. Throughout each of the missionary journeys the apostle Paul went in and in various cities the apostle Paul journeyed and came unto you will find him ministering and preaching unto the Jews the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and that He is indeed the Christ and the Messiah.
With this being said it is imperative we recognize and understand there were countless times when the unbelieving Jews who were hard of heart would despise and reject the word and preaching of the apostle Paul. There were countless times when although the apostle Paul would preach the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the Jews in the various cities, towns and villages he journeyed there were those Jews who despised and rejected the word and message he preached unto them. In fact if you take the time to read the words which are found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find an incredible amount of language concerning the Jews and their rejection of the Messiah. What’s more is you will not only find the rejection of the Messiah when He came in the form of human flesh but you will also find the reality of the Jews rejecting the truth about the Messiah when it was preached through His apostles and through the spiritual body which was His church. In the four New Testament gospel narratives you will find a powerful picture of the religious Jews rejecting and despising the Messiah who had come in the flesh and not recognizing who it was who was present among them in the flesh. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is perhaps one of the greatest examples of the rejection of the religious Jews of the Messiah who had come in the flesh for they continually persecuted and even sought to kill and put Him to death. IN fact I would dare say the New Testament epistle written by the apostle John provides us with the most complete picture of the religious Jews rejecting the Messiah who had come in the flesh while the New Testament book of Acts presents us with a full and complete picture of the religious Jews rejecting the preaching of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the ninth chapter:
“I tell you the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen” (Romans 9:1-5).
“But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, In Isaac your seed shall be called. That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even b our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, The older shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated” (Romans 9:6-13).
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He who says to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy and will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show my power in you, and that my name may be declared in all the earth. Therefore He has mercy on whom he wills, and whom he wills he hardens. a you will say to me then, Why does he still find fault? For who hast resisted his will? But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea, I will call them my people, who were not my people, and her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there they shall be called the sons of the living God. Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. For He will finish the world and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth. And as Isaiah said before: Unless the LORD of Saboath had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah” (Isaiah 9:14-29).
“What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 9:30-33).
Consider the following words which a re found in the tenth chapter of the same New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the first verse:
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, The man who does those things shall live by them. But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who will descend into the abyss? (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (That is, the word of faith which we preached): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Romans 10:1-13).
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, LORD, who has believed our report? So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish. Nation. But Isaiah is very bold and says: I was found by those who did not seek me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for me. But to Israel he says; All day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Romans 10:14-21).
Here are the following words which are found in the eleventh chapter of this same New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, LORD, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life? But what does the divine response say to him? I have reserved for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day. And David says: Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always” (Romans 11:1-10).
“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and have some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in. Well said, Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel unto the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for from this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins. Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all. Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first vine to Him and it shall be repaid to Him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:11-36).
The words which we find within these chapters in the epistle the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome are incredibly unique when you take the time to think about them for they bring us face to face with the rejection of Israel toward the Messiah and the Christ. I have already written that when the Messiah and Christ did in fact come in the flesh the religious Jews together with their religious leaders despised and rejected the Messiah and Christ who was present among them. You cannot read the four gospel narratives—and specifically the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John—and not encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the religious Jews rejection of the Messiah despite the fact that He came unto His own in the flesh. What’s more is that when you read the words found in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find the apostle writing how Jesus the Messiah and the Christ came unto His own and His own received Him not. That which adds even more weight to this is when you consider the fact that the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah prophesied of the coming of the Messiah and Christ—and not only of the coming of the Messiah and Christ but also of the rejection of the Jews toward Him. In the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah we find this ancient Hebrew prophet detailing and describing in great detail the suffering of the Messiah and Christ. Moreover you will find the ancient Hebrew prophet Isaiah describing how the Jews would themselves despise and reject the Messiah who would come in the flesh. Despite the fact the Messiah and Christ would indeed come in the flesh the Jews would reject and despise the Messiah when He came in the flesh.
I am absolutely convinced it is necessary for us to recognize and understand the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding this rejection of the Jews toward the Messiah and the Christ. The first and opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John together with the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah provide us with a great picture of the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah and the Christ despite the fact that He came unto them in the form of flesh and blood. The Messiah and the Christ would indeed come in the flesh and take upon Himself the seed of Abraham and yet there were many from the seed of Abraham who despised and rejected Him. Not only this but there were many who persecuted and even sought to kill and destroy the Lord Jesus who had indeed and had in fact come in the flesh among them that He might bring unto them the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of when reading these passages of Scripture for when you come to the epistle written by James you will find him writing to the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad throughout the regions of Europe and Asia. This is truly amazing when you take the time to think about it for when the apostle Paul was writing the epistle unto the saints which were at Rome he quoted the words which were found in the Old Testament book of First Kings when the LORD declared unto Isaiah how He had reserved seven thousand who had not bowed their knee to Baal nor kissed him in worship.
The apostle Paul deliberately and intentionally used this reference to illustrate that there would indeed be a remnant among the house of Israel in the earth who would indeed receive and accept the Messiah and the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. In fact the apostle John would declare that those who despise and reject the Messiah, those who deny that He came in the flesh, those who deny that He is the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father are such who are operating under the spirit of the antichrist. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament as well as the words which are found in the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah:
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne out griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone stray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall or power in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. Because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sin of man, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
“IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, he who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. NO one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:1-18).
The words we find here in these passages of Scripture present us with the incredible reality that although Jesus came unto His own and manifested Himself as the Messiah and Christ they would despise and reject Him. There were countless religious Jews who despised and rejected Jesus and His claims to be the Messiah, His claims to be the Son of the Father and His claims concerning being greater than and before Abraham. Within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find—perhaps more than any other gospel—powerful realities concerning the religious Jews’ rejection of Jesus as the Messiah and the Christ. The religious Jews could not wrap their minds or hearts around the idea that Jesus was indeed the Son of the living and eternal God nor that He was before Abraham. The Jews did not believe the words which He spoke concerning the Temple being torn down and being raised up again in three days thinking He was speaking of the physical and natural temple and not the physical temple of His body. The New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John must needs be carefully considered when coming to the epistle written by James for this epistle demonstrates that despite the rejection of many of the religious Jews toward the truth of the Messiah there was in fact a remnant of those who received and embraced Jesus as the Messiah, as the Christ and as the Son of the living God. In fact, I am convinced we must needs consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts for the one presents us with the truth surrounding the Jews’ rejection of Jesus in person as the Messiah, as the Christ and as the Son of the living God while in the other book we find the Jews rejecting the preaching of Jesus as the Christ, as the Son of God, as having suffered in the flesh, as having been crucified and as being raised from death to life. Oh consider if you will some of the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“…So the Jews answered and said to Him, What sign do you show to us, since you do these things? Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then the Jews said, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days? But he was speaking of the temple of his body. Therefore, when He had been raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His. Name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man for He knew what was in man” (John 2:18-25).
“And that day was the Sabbath. The jews therefore said to him who was cured, It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry tour bed. He answered them, He who made me well said to me, Take up your bed and walk. Then they asked him, Who is the man who said to you, Take up your bed and walk? But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, See you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because he had done these things on the sabbath. But Jesus answered them, My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. Therefore the jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:9-18).
“The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, I have come down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God; he has not seen the Father. NMost assuredly, I say to you, He who believes in me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will rise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever. These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can understand it? When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by my Father. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:41-66).
“But when His brothers had bone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He? And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, He is good; others said, No, on the contrary, He deceives the people. However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:10-13).
“Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this man has done?” (John 7:30-31).
“Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, Truly this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him” (John 7:40-44).
“Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59).
“But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself. His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, He is of age; ask him” (John 9:18-23).
“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, How long do you keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you> My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works I have shown you from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me? The jews answered, saying, For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God” (John 10:22-33).
“But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them” (John 12:37-40).
Within each of these passages we come face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the rejection of the Messiah and Christ by the religious and unbelieving Jews. It is clear from each of these passages of Scripture located within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John that the religious Jews could not accept the truth that Jesus was indeed the Son of the living God and even that He was the Messiah and Christ who was to come. There were numerous times when the Jews persecuted Jesus while there were other times when they actually sought to kill Him. On at least two occasions we read of the Jews taking up stones to cast at Jesus that they might destroy Him and put Him to death. The New Testament gospel—perhaps more than any of the other gospel narratives—presents us with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the Jews’ rejection and despising of the Lord Jesus Christ. The jews could not believe, accept, nor receive that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and the Christ and that He proceeded from the Father. What’s more is that in the twelfth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John the apostle appeals to the same words the apostle Paul appealed to concerning the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah and the Christ. The apostle John quoted from the prophet Isaiah—specifically the opening question of the fifty-third chapter which asks “Who has believed our report?”—when describing the Jews not believing in the Lord Jesus. Despite the many works and miracles Jesus performed among them the Jews did not believe, receive nor accept Jesus as the Christ nor as the Son of the Father which is in heaven. This is something we must recognize and acknowledge when coming to the epistle written by James for he would write unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad, thus indicating that despite the rejection of the Jews during the days of Jesus there would be a remnant of Jews at the time of this writing who did in fact believe on the person of the Lord Jesus.
Before delving into the epistle written by James unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad through Asia and Europe we must needs consider the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts. Within the New Testament book of Acts we encounter the rejection of the religious and unbelieving Jews. During the days of the apostles and the early church the Jews would not reject the Messiah Himself in the person and flesh but rather they would reject the teaching and preaching of the apostles and early church concerning Jesus being the Messiah, being the Christ, being the Son of the living God and having come in the flesh. In fact as early as the ninth chapter of this New Testament book of Acts we begin seeing this rejection of the jews toward and against the preaching of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the fourth and fifth chapters of this book we find and witness the rejection of the preaching of and preaching in the name of the Lord Jesus by the religious leaders in Israel and Jerusalem, however, as you continue reading this New Testament book you will find a number of examples of the rejection of the religious and unbelieving Jews toward the preaching of Jesus of Nazareth and His being the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God and having come in the flesh and suffering, being crucified and being raised from death to life on the third day. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the ninth chapter of this New Testament book:
“Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests? But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that Jesus is the Christ. Now after many days were past, the jews plotted to kill him. But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket” (Acts 9:20-25).
“ON the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the thing spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commend us: I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:44-52).
“Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with t he jews, and part with the apostles. And when the violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia and to the surrounding region. And they were preaching the gospel there” (Acts 14:1-7).
“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposed him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe” (Acts 14:19-20).
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three sabbaths reasoned with them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ. And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. But they Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus. And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go” (Acts 17:1-9).
“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed” (Acts 17:10-15).
“When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles. And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshipped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. Then Crispus the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed, and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, Do not be afraid, but speak and to not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. When Galllio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law” (Acts 18:1-13).
“Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been p unified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them. Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing hi in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place. (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, Away with him!” (Acts 21:26-36).
There might be those who would wonder why I would choose to include all this Scripture concerning the rejection of the Messiah and Christ by the Jews when He came in the flesh. There might be those who might wonder why I would include all these references concerning the rejection of the Jews toward the preaching of the word, the gospel and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the apostle Paul. The truth and underlying reality concerning this is that when you come to the epistle written by James unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad you will find that he was indeed writing unto those jews who not only believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ and the Son of the living God but were undoubtedly those who were followers of the Way. Those to whom James wrote this epistle to were not merely jews in general but were believing Jews who had received Jesus and who were given power to become sons of the living God. James wrote this epistle unto the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad which suggests that there was a remnant of Jews who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and were indeed followers of the way. This epistle was not written unto Gentiles who believed but was indeed written unto Jews who believed and were part of a remnant in the earth who believed that Jesus came in the flesh, that Jesus was the Christ and the Messiah, that Jesus was indeed the Son of the living God and that he suffered in the flesh, was crucified upon the cross and rose from the grave on the third day according to the Law and the prophets. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding this remnant of Jews who believed on the Lord Jesus and who did in fact worship and serve Him with their whole beings.
When writing this epistle James would write unto those who were themselves suffering affliction, opposition and persecution as was evident when reading the words found in the opening verses. James begins this epistle by writing unto and addressing brethren and calling on them to count it all joy when they fell into various trials knowing that the testing of their faith produces patience. James would go on to admonish them to let patience have its perfect work that they might be perfect and complete lacking nothing. This is something we must needs recognize and pay attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the days in which we are preparing to enter into. There is a great need for us as the saints of God to not only expect and anticipate suffering, affliction and persecution but to even count it all joy when we fall into various trials. We as the saints of God must needs count it all joy when we fall into various trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience. I am absolutely convinced that in this generation we as the saints of God must needs be those who not only possess patience in the midst of suffering, affliction and persecution but we must also possess endurance. The more I think about the days in which we are headed the more I am being confronted with the truth surrounding the overwhelming necessity of our need for patience and our need for endurance. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this point for in the coming days there is a need for patience—and not only patience but patience that is produced by and through the testing of our faith. Moreover there is a great need for us to possess an inward wisdom which we as the saints of God need to ask of God who gives liberally and without reproach. There is a great need for us as the saints of God to be those who ask in faith for wisdom from the living God not doubting within our heart knowing that he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
If you continue reading the words which are found in this epistle you will find James going on to write and declare that blessed is the man who endures temptation knowing that when he is approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him. This is something which warrants strong consideration on our parts for when we read the epistle written by James we find and encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the need for patience and endurance—both of which come the more we face, withstand and come through on the other side of trials, tribulations, troubles and those things we face within our lives. In the coming days there is indeed a great need for men and women who profess to be the saints of God to be such who recognize and acknowledge they do in fact need wisdom and discernment like the sons of Isaachar who understood the times and knew what Israel ought to do. There is a great need for men and women to be such who recognize that there is a need for patience and endurance for we have indeed been called to stand firm and stand fast in the midst of the affliction, the opposition and the suffering we should prepare and make ourselves ready to face. It is with this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle Peter unto the diaspora. It is the words found in this particular epistle I leave you with that you might indeed be one who is ready and prepared for the days ahead in which we are preparing to enter into as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now, If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:12-19).