It’s Alright to be Less, to make Jesus Great (Saint James Palace London)

Sunday July 1, 2018

It is wonderful to take a walk in London. It’s as if you are walking on a Biblical lane. I know nothing beats walking in Israel, Turkey, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Iran among other places mentioned in the bible too. But why would I go there when I have not exhausted myself reading the Bible through the landmarks of London? I would like to take you to Saint James Palace. It is in Central London not far from Buckingham Palace. It is the oldest palace in the United Kingdom. Kings and queens of England used to live here for more than 300 years.

It is situated on the former site of a medieval hospital for leprous women. A religious foundation dedicated to Saint James, The Less. Henry VIII acquired the hospital and its grounds in 1531- 1536 and turned the former hospital into a palace. Today, the State Apartments of Saint James Palace are sometimes used for entertaining incoming State visitors and is home to several members of the Royal Family. Prince George was christened here in 2013.

The Three Biblical James

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Proverbs 22:28 KJV. This is one attribute of the United Kingdom that I admire so much. Though thousands of years have passed, the landmarks their forefathers had set up are respected and remain intact up to the present. In the Philippines, there are some politicians who keep changing the names of landmarks to serve their own purposes. I wonder if it is a display of inferiority complex or narcissistic complex. It is not practical and not biblical at all. Maybe another hindrance for our continuous growth. I wondered who noticed to whom the hospital and the palace were named after.

Saint James, The Less. Who is he?

Modern Christianity emphasized much about the contribution of Peter, Paul, John, Abraham, David, Joseph and Daniel. Maybe there are some who are tired of hearing about Paul and Peter that they even criticized these two hall of famers of faith in a negative way. I am glad that there are some who give credit to lesser biblical characters whom I believe that in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ, are of equal rank to famous hall of famers being mentioned and preached about so often. Now I am saying this not to appear smart but to highlight the spiritual history and biblical virtuosity of Londoners. They named the most senior palace for Saint James, The Less. The New Testament mentioned about three persons named James with appropriate distinction as; The Less, The Great and The Just (also called the righteous). The first two James are the original Apostles chosen and sent by Jesus Christ and the third one is the half-brother of Jesus Christ. Let us know a little bit about them one by one.

James, The Less James the son of Alphaeus and Mary (sister of Mary the mother of Jesus Christ our Lord). That made him a cousin and apostle of Jesus. He preached, he healed and cast out demons like any other apostle. He is called James, the Less not to belittle his importance in the ministry of Jesus but to denote younger or smaller in size than the other apostle named James the Great. “And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere. Luke 9:6 (KJV)”. When the twelve disciples were sent to preach and heal the sick, they reported to Jesus what they did. It means all of them including James, the Less. It didn’t say all the eleven did what Jesus sent them for except James the Less. In effect he did great as the others did. It is a great encouragement to everyone. If you share your faith about Jesus it follows that the sick will get healed wherever you are. You don’t have to stand in a huge stage and preach. Just do it and you will have it done even on the streets.

James, The Great

James and John are brothers, both sons of Zebedee and Salome (sister of Mary the mother of Jesus). That makes them cousins of Jesus just like James, the Less. Both descendants of a priestly family, they were fishermen like Peter. James, John and Peter were Jesus’ closest friends and disciples. They were privileged to see the deity of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. They saw Jesus’ face which shone like the sun and his clothes become white as the light. They were surnamed Boarneges which means The Sons of the thunder. Their behaviour at the beginning of their ministry when Jesus was not received in the village of Samaria, showed arrogance that they asked Jesus if He wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven and consume those who did not receive Him. They were so full of confidence to say that because Jesus was standing next to them. But we all know that during crucifixion they left Him to die on the cross (except John). In this outburst, Jesus rebuked them and said, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them”. That is the intention of Jesus Christ coming to earth, to save humanity. There is hope for the arrogant and hot headed here and there, if we are willing to subject ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus. We can do great things just like what brothers James and John did.

James, the Just

Jesus had earthly siblings; James, Joseph, Jude, Simon and unnamed sisters. Virgin Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus Christ no question about that. But she never was a perpetual virgin because after she gave birth to Jesus, she and Joseph lived a normal married life and out of that relationship children were born, all named above. Yes, Jesus had earthly cousins at the same time he had earthly siblings through Mary. Even if she was not a perpetual virgin it doesn’t change the fact that she is still “Blessed among women” because from her womb Jesus came out. It is out there 21 st century folks, in different bible translations, the internet, on YouTube and ancient literature available in public domain. Help yourself to receive the truth and reject falsehood.

How does it feel to have a perfect, righteous brother in the family? I could imagine that Jesus was the favourite of Joseph and Mary. Obedient, responsible, washing the dishes without murmuring. Cooking food if Mary was sick, helping Joseph cut wood and so on. I could only imagine some bad days for Mary and Joseph nagging to their other children and saying, “Why couldn’t you be just like your brother Jesus?” I believe that family setting and scenario could be the reasons his siblings didn’t believe him when he preached. They even provoked him and called him mad for what he was saying. They couldn’t believe that their brother who was doing ordinary household chores in his humanity was truly the Son of God. Familiarity breeds contempt. That is why the original disciples of Jesus were all Galileans except Judas, but, none of them was his earthly brother. Everything changed after Jesus’s resurrection. He showed Himself to His skeptical brother James. And from that day on James became a humble follower. The first Senior Pastor of the first Christian Church in Jerusalem while the apostles were sent to preach the gospels to the end of the world. A church that promotes equality and unity, that the rich should not be treated as VIP’s but equal to the poor brethren.

It is another proof of how former Londoners knew their bible well, that honoured Saint James called the Less through the oldest Palace in one of the oldest monarchies in the World.

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