Bible Book: James / Jakobus
Chapter: 5
Verse: 7
Verse (to): 11

James 5:7-11

Is this an appropriate Scripture reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent – a Sunday that focuses on joy? One look at the broader passage (James 5:1-15) reveals that James is writing to people who have many troubles. The rich have kept the wages of the labourers back by fraud (verse 4) and some have even been condemned and killed (verse 6). Others are suffering (verse 13) or are sick (verse 14). So it is not strange that James has to admonish them not to grumble (verse 9).

Maybe the reason for assigning this passage to the 3rd Sunday in Advent lies in the call to be patient. In verses 7 and 8 James encourages his readers to be patient. They as Christians can be patient in their tribulations because they know of the “coming of the Lord” (verse 7&8) and that the “Judge is standing at the doors” (verse 9). They have even more reason to be patient: their Lord, their Judge is “compassionate and merciful” (verse 11).
It is in the light of these truths that James is able to declare: “we call those happy who were steadfast” (verse 11 – RSV). Although many translations use the word “happy” in verse 11, the word used in the original Greek does not refer to an emotional state of happiness. This word is linked to the word Jesus uses in the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), and is often translated as “blessed are you”.
Those who have learned to be patient under difficult circumstances will grow towards steadfastness. Through steadfastness we will experience God’s blessings – blessings that include “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, (that) will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7 – RSV).
May God’s blessings be upon you during Advent 2007 – whatever your circumstances may be – and may you grow through patience to steadfastness and to joy in the Lord!
To think about (or discuss): How can we help people who suffer in this time of Advent to find patience, steadfastness and joy?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English