Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
That’s pretty much all we get to know about how James, the brother of John, and one of the three most notable disciples of Jesus, died. Some texts say he was beheaded, and that he was the first disciple to die because of his belief in Jesus, but that’s it.
The next 16 verses tells the amazing story of Peter’s miraculous rescue by an angel from the same prison where James had just been held.
James was executed.
Called coursely out of his prison cell one day…
And was sliced with a sword.
But not Peter.
No, an angel came to save him.
I’m a huge Peter fan, in that his personality is alot like mine. So, if there’s hope for him, there must be hope for me, too, you know? So, of course that story encourages me!
But when I read this the other day, I was so saddened by the stark difference between the stories of these two best friends of Jesus.
One gets this great miracle!
The other just dies.
I imagined Peter’s family loudly celebrating his unique rescue….
And the joyful noise of that, disturbing and deepening the overwhelming grief going on in James’ home.
Didn’t James’ family wonder why Peter got the miracle, but not their James?
Why did God choose to save Peter…
But not James?
“Why not OUR boy, Lord?”
“Didn’t you love him as much as you loved Peter?”
A year after God gave me a miracle in my own life, my first cousin, Scott, died of a double aneurysm in the brain at the age of 40.
I wondered, and even felt guilty about, why I was spared, and he was taken.
Don’t we all kind of wonder what God is doing sometimes?
“Why did you heal HIM from cancer, but not my mom?”
“Why did you save THEIR marriage, but not ours?”
” Why did you spare THEIR child, but not mine?”
“Where’s MY miracle?”
“Where’s MY angel?”
Wow. I just don’t know.
What I do know, is that God has an infinite number of ways to show up and do amazing things in our lives, just like that angel did. And sometimes, we might miss what He is giving us, doing for us, or doing IN us, because we think or want it to look like it does for OTHER people.
James was special. And Jesus did love him!
He DID want the very best for him, as He did Peter.
He just didn’t want the miracle to look the same.
James got to be in heaven BEFORE Peter and John, his “assumed favorites “. He got to be the very first person who Jesus loved during His time on earth to see Jesus AGAIN, on the other side!
Still a miracle!
Look, if you’re expecting the miracle you’re waiting on to look even a LITTLE like it does for your friends, chances are, you will miss YOUR miracle.
A woman was telling me about a time she was visiting her son and his family in another state. She said that they decided to take a day trip to a museum together. The son and his mother had hours of really great conversation, just the two of them in the front seats of the car. She remembered thinking what a special time it was for her.
Two days later, her son suddenly collapsed and died.
She told me she could now see that the precious time she had with that son on that road trip was a special gift, a miracle, from the Father.
She knows it.
She sees it.
I pray we would be able to see the miracles, too.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hand.