Sunday, April 18, 2010

James the Central Pillar

The disciples said to Yeshua, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”
Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”…………
Saying 12 Gospel of Thomas

It is often debatable that a leadership issue should get such an important mention in this Gospel which is primarily devoted to the spirit empowering messages of Yeshua. Many of us know James as one of the apostles and he also wrote one of the epistles accepted by the church canon. But certain other details are necessary to understand this saying. James was known by two names. He was called James the Just and also James Adelphos (Adelphos in Greek means brother). Why this special mention when there were others who were his brothers
(Yeshua's 'brothers'—James as well as Jude, Simon, and Joses—are mentioned in Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3, Luke 6:14, and by Paul in Galatians 1:19.)

St. Jerome in,
De Viris Illustribus, quotes Hegesippus' account of James from the fifth book of his lost Commentaries:

“After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies”.
This clearly indicates that James was a person of great spiritual stature and was the main pillar on which the next level of leadership had to be built up. This raises the question of Peter and his role. Yeshua, in his short period of propagating the spirit empowering message, had either openly or succinctly created the future leadership and cultivated three apostles.
St. Paul lists James with Cephas (better known as Peter) and John, as the three “pillars” of the Church, and who will minister to “the circumcised” (that is the Jews) in Jerusalem, while Paul and his fellows will minister to the Gentiles (2:9, 2:12).
In his letter to the Jewish Diaspora James’ opening clearly demonstrates his intention that his message is meant for them. “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings..”….
James 1:1

There are three elements that are crucial to spiritual advancement. They are clearly pronounced in Vedic philosophy. These elements are
karma (diligence), bakthi (devotion) and jnana (wisdom).
These three pillars symbolism are the essential elements in every individual’s spiritual life.
Christ chooses Peter as the element of diligence, John as the element of wisdom and the central pillar is James who represents devotion. Devotion means surrender or a state of being that transcends the physical and the mind which are embodiments of the attributes of diligence and wisdom respectively. The “Tree of Life” in Jewish mysticism is again supported on three pillars. The central pillar connects the
Keter (crown) with the Malkhut (domain of creation). The attributes of the sefirots in the right pillar is wisdom and the attributes of the sefirots in the left pillar is diligence. This is the reason Yeshua says “….you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”, signifying the central pillar of a spiritual construct. This is the reason James was chosen to be the first Bishop of Jerusalem.

What we have to take from this saying at an individual level is to aspire to integrate the three elements
karma(diligence), bakthi (devotion) and jnana (wisdom) in our lives.

Love to you all

1 comment :

  1. comparing the prime apostles with karma bhakti and gnagna is very different and appealing!