“Mother, I don’t want to go back.”
“James, you know we have to. Somehow your brother is not with the group. He must be back in the city. We must go back to find him.”
“James, don’t be disrespectful to me. He is your brother.”
“You and father never spank him; never yell at him; you treat him like he can do no wrong.”
Mary and Joseph’s eyes meet and both of them wonder if it is time to tell ten-year-old James about his older brother. Joseph bends to one knee, looks into his first born’s eyes and says: “James, there are things about your brother that you are not old enough to understand. One day, your eyes will be opened and you will know why things are the way they are.”
The boy looks to the ground, moves some dirt around with his foot. “Yes father.”
Three years later, Joseph and James are at work in Joseph’s wood shop. James seems to have something bothering him.
“Who broke the hammer?”
“Why don’t ask Jesus?”
“If he broke the hammer, I’m sure he would have told me.”
“Father, I don’t understand and I’m tired of it.” The young teen stops talking, a little bit fearful.
“Whenever something breaks, whenever something has gone wrong, whenever someone disobeys; you and mother never ask Jesus about it, and you never blame him for anything. You always come to me or Joses or Simon or even little Judas or one of the girls but you never go to him.
Father I’ve heard the talk around town, how mother was with child before you two were married. Do you not punish him because he is not yours?” Wishing he had stopped his tongue before it ever go started, James waited for his father’s response.
“Sit down James.”
Joseph pulls over a chair, wraps his muscular carpenter’s arm around his son, “Son, do you remember what the prophet Isaiah tells us of a virgin having a son.”
“James, Isaiah is speaking of your mother and your brother. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.”
James looks at Joseph with mystified eyes. Even as virtuous as his parents are, believing that there was some sort of sin in their past would have been easier to believe than this. “My brother, Jesus is the Messiah?”
“Yes, James he is.”
“May I be excused father?”
James rises to his feet, walks to a nearby Juniper tree, sits and stares into the heavens that his brother created.
Years later, James is now a man and with his mother, sisters and other brothers following he shoves and pushes his way through the crowd. “Stand aside. We are his family. I am his brother; move over; I have his mother, sisters and brethren with me. We desire to speak to him; step aside.”
“Mother, it is no use. We will never get in there. We will have to wait for . . . ”
“James is that you?” Comes a voice from inside the room where Jesus speaks.
“Yes, it is I. Mary and the rest are with me. We need to speak to Jesus.”
Looking in through the door way James and the family see a man stand upon a table and yell, “Master, behold, your mother and brethren stand without, desiring to speak to thee.”
“Who is my mother? And who are my brethren?”
Jesus points to the assembled crowd, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
James’ face turns red, his fists clinch, he spins looking at Mary, “Woman, do you hear that? He does not acknowledge us! He asks who we are and claims others as his family. Who does he think he is?”
Time continues to pass, now, James gazes into the sky that his brother made, sitting under the same Juniper tree he sat under the day Joseph told him Jesus was the Son of God. Memories of their childhood, how Jesus never did do anything wrong, his life, the miracles, the sermons, his crucifixion and now rumors of his resurrection pour through his mind like a waterfall. Could it be true? What they say could it all be true?
James recognizes the voice. Still seated he turns and looks into the eyes, of not just his older brother, but of his Saviour. James collapses to his face. “Yes, my LORD.”
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