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What you braggin' about? Who you boatin' about?

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BY DAN CUMINGS

Mildred Bible Chapel youth pastor

How often have you or I had the chance to walk into a gathering where we were unknown? No faces were familiar and it appeared you didn’t know anyone at the gathering.

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A favorite way to break the ice would be to greet someone by saying, “I am a good friend of (name of host of the gathering).” Maybe you would say, “I am the brother of the person who this party is for.” Then top it off by bringing people over to your famous brother and introducing them.

I think back to the days of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. He had a brother who really used his relationship to the president to cause trouble for many. Many popular or famous people will always have those who get a special kick out of identifying with them; so they could be popular or famous also. We like to “drop” names to our own benefit.

Recently, I read the opening verse to the book of James and the book of Jude — two small books toward the end of the New Testament. I had already discovered that these two men were brothers and were half brothers of Jesus. All three had Mary as their mother. I imagined that one of them would bring up their brotherhood with Jesus when they began their writings.

But, a surprise awaited me.

Let me hasten to communicate a little bit about this “brother” of theirs. Jesus was born in a lowly manner though announced by angels to shepherds close by. Jesus had magi visit his house when he was 2 years old, bringing very expensive gifts for the newborn King.

After age 30, Jesus began to teach throughout the entire land of Israel. His miracles included raising dead people to life, healing sicknesses up close and from afar, walking on the sea, and feeding 10,000 to 15,000 people from a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread.

Jesus gave up his life by allowing others to crucify him and then three days later He raised himself from the dead. Many times Jesus stated clearly that he was God. Jesus lived a spectacular life.

So, now for the surprise I found in the books written by James and Jude. James began his book this way, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ …” (James 1:1). Jude began his book this way, “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James …” (Jude 1).

Oooh, did you see Jude bringing up that he was a brother of James? But, wait, what did they both say about their older brother, Jesus? They both acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, God’s anointed one to take away the sins of those who would believe that Jesus was God and to provide eternal life for those who would believe in His name.

Both of them went further by announcing that they were “servants” of their half brother, Jesus. Their purpose in life was found in doing everything that Jesus asked them to do. They had become humble followers of Jesus, the Son of God.

Who do you boast about knowing? Who do you brag about? Maybe you would join the Apostle Paul when he said: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal 6:14)

It appears that James and Jude agreed with Paul and lived out their lives that way.

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