"While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh." —2 Corinthians 4:11
James' mom asked Jesus to give her boys a promotion and seat them at His right and left hand. Jesus told them they didn't know what they were asking and questioned them if they could drink of the His cup (Mt 20:22). " 'We can,' they said. He told them, 'From the cup I drink of, you shall drink. But sitting at My right hand or My left is not Mine to give' " (Mt 20:22-23).
The cup Jesus was referring to was the cup of suffering and death. So James as well as John unknowingly agreed to suffer and die. Jesus would take James up on his offer, but first James had to be prepared. Jesus took James with Him to see Jairus' daughter raised (Lk 8:51). He took him up Transfiguration Mountain (Lk 9:28). James still wasn't ready. He indicated he wasn't when he wanted to kill the Samaritans (Lk 9:54). He could not fathom dying for the enemy instead of putting the enemy to death. Jesus took him to the garden of Gethsemani (Mt 26:37). James fell asleep in class (Mt 26:40ff).
But through the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and especially through the coming of the Spirit, James learned the way of the cross. He was the first apostle martyred. He drank the cup; he was beheaded because of his faith in Jesus (Acts 12:2).
Prayer: Jesus, teach me to die, teach me to love.
Promise: "Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed." —2 Cor 4:10
Praise: St. James was blessed by God to be witness to the Transfiguration of Jesus and ultimately was blessed with the gift of martyrdom.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2005
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