Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who Was James the son of Alphaeus?

If you are a Bible scholar, or learned the little song in Sunday School years ago, you know that he was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He may in fact be the most obscure disciple, as the only times he is mentioned in Scripture are in the four lists of disciples found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts.

Reading MacArthur's Twelve Ordinary Men, I came across this series of quotes concerning James the son of Alphaeus:

"If he ever wrote anything, it is lost to history. If he ever asked Jesus any questions or did anything to stand out from the group, Scripture does not record it. He never attained any degree of fame or notoriety. He was not the kind of person who stands out. He was utterly obscure. He even had a common name.

"...His lack of prominence is even reflected in his nickname. In Mark 15:40 he is referred to as 'James the Less.'

"...Eternity will reveal the names and the testimonies of these, like James the Less, whom this world barely remembers and knows nothing about.

"...In any case, we can be certain that he became a powerful preacher like the others. He surely performed 'the signs of an signs and wonders and mighty deeds' (2 Corinthians 12:12). And his name will be inscribed on one of the gates of the heavenly city." (pp. 170-173)
The moral? God can use even the quietest, most obscure, diminutive people to do mighty works for Himself. If you have ever felt that you do not "have what it takes" to do the Lord's service, remember that all of the disciples were ordinary men, and some of them even easy-to-overlook ordinary men. And God used them mightily!

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