Most of us know the value of a wise pastor to whom we can go for advice and counsel, someone whose biblical messages give us daily nourishment and practical guidance, who cares for us and speaks wisdom to our circumstances.
Capernaum was a fishing village where Jesus lived as an adult. It was established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is said to be the home of Saint Peter.
The village was inhabited continuously from the 2nd century B.C.E. to the 11th century C.E., when it was abandoned sometime before the Crusader conquest. This includes the re-establishment of the village during the Early Islamic period soon after the 749 earthquake.
Well, all of us have a pastor like that whenever we read the book of James.
As the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, James was a respected leader in the early
Church; and he became the head of the church in Jerusalem.
In that role he wrote these five chapters to fellow Jewish Christians outside Jerusalem, to those scattered abroad.
James spoke to them as though he were their pastor, giving commands, warnings, wisdom, and instruction.
As we study this epistle, we become equal recipients of its message. In some ways, the book of James resembles Proverbs. It’s pithy, practical, and full of everyday wisdom, and its advice we need.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (Jas 3:17).
True faith, he wrote, is wise and translates into daily action.
If you need a regular dose of wisdom from a beloved pastor, read the book of James and listen to his instructions about dealing with trials, caring for widows and orphans, taming your tongue, and managing your money.
The more we know of this little letter, the more the wisdom of our ways and the integrity of our walk will increase.
The wisdom from above, God’s wisdom, teaches us how to deal with trials, care for the needy, control our temper and tongues, and glorify God by the integrity of our daily lives.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jas 1:22).
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27).