Over the past month, it has been a pleasure to preach out of the book of James. What I love about James is that his teaching is so practical, and as he teaches, James uses many examples and illustrations to explain his lessons. In fact, in the first 18 verses of chapter 1, James has already given us at least three illustrations:
- Verse 6 – the doubting man is like the waves of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
- Verse 7 – the doubting man is a double-minded man – he wants to have a foot in two different camps.
- Verse 8 – the rich man who does not acknowledge God is like the grass and the flowers, for they both will fade away after the scorching of the sun.
But if we think about it, James’ teaching reminds us of another teacher in the Bible. In the gospels, there was another man who would always use illustrations and stories to get his point across. Do you know who this person is? It is none other than James’ half-brother, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Think about it…whenever Jesus wanted to make His point in teaching a lesson, He would always give us a story or an illustration. For example:
- When Jesus taught us about God seeking the lost, He said this was like a shepherd looking for a sheep (Luke 15:1-7) or a woman looking for a coin (Luke 15:8-10).
- When Jesus wanted to teach about the gospel going forward in the world, He said it was like a sower going out to sow his seed on four different types of soil: hard, rocky, thorny, and good soil (Matthew 13:1-23).
- When Jesus wanted to teach about mercy and how to live the Christian life, he told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
- When Jesus wanted to teach about the Judgment, He used the illustration of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).
Indeed, Jesus was the master story teller and illustrator. And in much the same way, his half-brother James picked up on this style of teaching. And as we move forward in James, the illustrations will continue to come. Get ready to talk about looking in a mirror (1:23), the clothing that a person wears (2:2), the example of Abraham (2:23), the bit in the mouth of a horse (3:3), a rudder on a ship (3:4), a
mist that vanishes (4:14), the steadfastness of Job (5:11), and many, many more.
Wishing you all a blessed Christmas,