Wednesday, June 13, 2012

James: Mercy Triumphs – Week Seven – On the Way Home

Chairein! (Ky Rain)

Homework: What a way to end a study! This week’s homework gave us our final glimpse of James in Scripture and spoke about the dilemma of the Jerusalem church in accepting the offering that Paul collected from the Gentile churches in Asia. We learned about James’ death and the aftermath of his murder. And I was completely moved by Day Five after studying all of what I mentioned earlier in the week. Mercy Triumphs is definitely one of my favorite Bible studies.

Melissa’s Articles: In the first of this week’s articles, “Theology of the Collection”, Melissa discusses the dilemma of James and the Jerusalem Church in receiving the gifts collected for the poor by Paul from the Gentile churches. Gentiles sharing the spiritual blessings of Jews have a responsibility to minister to them. Paul believed that the Gentiles “owed” the Jews for their spiritual heritage.

“So, Who Took the Reins?” is a fascinating article about who succeeded James as the bishop of the Jerusalem Church after his murder. This article also taught me that historian Hegesippus’ information is not always reliable because of his tendency to sensationalize, which reminds me to be like the Bereans and check my sources and their information.

The title, “The Legacy of James,” says it all. This final, emotional writing declares that James left a legacy of righteousness that touches hearts, souls and minds even today. He left a legacy of Christianity blended with Judaism in harmonious beauty. Like Melissa, I too want to so absorb Jesus’ teaching and live it out that I remind people of Christ even when I’m not talking about the Bible. That’s the gift that James has given to me. And it has changed my life.

Writing James: We already completed this assignment last week. What has been accomplished in my life as a result of writing the book of James? First, let me explain that I am using writing as a memorization tool as well. I’ve been typing what I’ve memorized so far each day to help solidify it in my mind. This exercise has helped me know the book a bit better. It also put me in the position of James, who wrote the letter, himself. I was able to sit and reflect on his thought processes as he wrote by writing it, myself. This has been an incredibly rewarding way to spend my time. I will definitely use this technique to study other letters.

Memorizing James: The memorization process continues. Currently, I have memorized James 1:1-3:4. At this rate, I should complete the project about a month sooner than the 5-month time frame that Beth suggested. My plan was to film my recitation and post it on this blog. By the time you read this, I hope at least pieces of it are already available for your viewing pleasure.

Now that all is said and done, where do we go from here? I so loved the experience of getting to know James and I relish a new perspective on Jesus through James’ eyes. So, I believe I will now study the words of another of Jesus’ half-brothers, Jude. I’ve studied it before, but I believe that this freshened viewpoint will only open his words up even wider to add another dimension to the portrait that has been painted of my wonderful Savior!

Video Segment: A powerful lecture ends this life-changing study as Beth discusses the end of James’ letter to the scattered tribes. Painting a potent picture of James at the time of his Big Brother’s death, the student can almost feel the restoration that took place in his life when Jesus appeared to him after the resurrection. Personally, I cannot wait for my Heavenly Father to queue up that video! As always, it’s sad to see a study end, but I will definitely take many lessons away from this one.

God bless you, Beth and Melissa!

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