The Book of James – Bondservant

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“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.” James 1:1

This devotion starts our new series in the Book of James. James was the half-brother of Jesus. James and the other brothers did not believe in Jesus during His earthly ministry. Yet they were with the disciples in the upper room praying with them. After Jesus’ resurrection this convinced James that Jesus truly was the Savior. James became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. In this scripture he tells us that he was a bondservant. The term bondservant in the New Testament was a very different perception of modern slavery. It refers to someone who voluntarily served others. In most cases, it was a permanent role of service. A bondservant was considered the property of a Roman citizen holding no rights to leave the place of service. In many New Testament books, the word bondservant was used in reference to a person’s commitment to Jesus. Most of Paul’s letters begin by referring to himself as a servant of Christ Jesus. James and Jude, half-brothers of Jesus, both refer to themselves as Christ’s bondservants. The apostle Peter called himself a “servant and apostle.”

The importance of these New Testament authors referring to themselves as bondservants should not be overlooked. Despite proclaiming a message of freedom from sin in Jesus Christ, these writers were dedicated to Jesus as their one master. James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was an apostle, and he was the Lord’s brother, yet he mentions not these greater things, but he takes the lowly title, in which, no doubt, he felt the highest honor, and calls himself “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Happy is that man who serves the Lord, whose whole life is not that of an independent master of himself, but of one who is fully submissive to the divine command. We all need to be bondservants of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Today’s Bible Reading: Mark 3:31-35, John 7:1-5, Acts 1:14

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