They had been promised “joy!”  They had been promised “a new life!”  But they had problems, not unlike our own. Finally Jesus’ relative, James, came to speak to them. And the drama began…
Runyeon sets the famous letter within the context of the early church…  It was only 12 years after Jesus, a time when almost all Christians were also Jewish… But there was growing tension in Jerusalem, between Jewish “Christ-ians,” who thought Jesus was the Messiah, and their friends who didn’t…

Finally, a Jewish Christian leader named Stephen was called before the High Court, accused of blasphemy, and stoned to death. The news spread like wildfire. Many Jewish Christians scattered to towns outside Jerusalem, to avoid persecution.

But they found new problems there. They couldn’t find jobs. Their children were sick. And their leaders were fighting. They began to doubt that God was with them after all. They didn’t know what to do.

Then: Jesus’ relative James arrived. He had been their teacher. He knew them. And he spoke words they would never forget.

The characters…

Runyeon portrays James as a man of deep emotion and wit, who speaks with wisdom to the troubled members of the church: the scandalized elders…the workaholic trader… the know-it-all teacher… the pampered aristocrat…the humble poor…the incurable gossips…the angry activist…the worried parents…and, of course:

we ourselves.

—Or have we forgotten we have our own parts to play in this story?

For information on how to bring JAMES to your church…




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