Lesson 3: James: One of the Inner Circle
Each of the Apostles was important servants who were chosen by Jesus. Each of them had a purpose during their lifetime. They were equally responsible, “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:10-11). However, three of them, James, Peter and John were chosen to be in Jesus inner circle and were present at major events while the others were not.
Three Monumental Events
The Transfiguration was a display of God’s glory in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ (Mt. 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). Peter cites the Transfiguration as historical proof of the true gospel of Christ (2 Peter 1:16-18). A cloud overshadowed Jesus during His Transfiguration. This has symbolic as well as historical significance. It is a subtle reminder of the Exodus and the appearance of God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24), when God also spoke from a cloud. At the same time, symbols of the Second Coming of Christ are present in the Transfiguration account. Jesus will come with the clouds and be revealed as God’s chosen one. The Transfiguration concluded with God’s voice speaking from the cloud, which marked God’s presence (Ex. 40:34-38).
The second event, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, demonstrated the power of Jesus over death. Before Jesus entered Jairus’ house, the little girl died. Jesus reassured Jairus and entered the house with James, Peter and John. Taking her hand, Jesus restored her to life, showing his power over death (Luke. 8:49-56). Carson states, “By itself the miracle did not prove Jesus to be more than a prophet or an apostle (cf. 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:17-37; Acts 9:36-42) ... Jesus made vastly greater claims [then being a prophet]; so for Matthew the miracle showed that Jesus’ authority as the Christ extended even over the dead.”
The third event was Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane. Gethsemane was the “garden where Jesus often went alone or with His disciples for prayer, rest, or fellowship, and the site where He was betrayed by Judas on the night before His crucifixion.” The four gospel writers focus special attention on Jesus’ final visit to Gethsemane just before His arrest and crucifixion. After the Last Supper, Jesus returned there with His disciples for the final instructions and a period of soul-searching prayer. All the disciples were instructed; but only James, Peter and John went to Gethsemane with Jesus to pray (Mark 14:26-32).” An important lesson can be learned from Gethsemane. Jesus, no less than His disciples then and since, faced the temptation of Satan. He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15) James, the Son of Zebedee, was not only chosen as one of the “inner circle apostles” who witnessed the “three monumental events”; but, his other important accounts included: seats of honor request; and the...