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James - The Justice

James the Just (not to be confused with James the brother of John) is mentioned very infrequently in the Gospels. He is believed to be the Disciple known as “James, son of Alphaeus” and also a brother of Jesus. Despite this close association, however, James the Just did not rise to prominence during Jesus’s life. In fact, James and his other brother, Jude, were early skeptics of their brother’s ministry before becoming two of His twelve Disciples. Only as the Early Church began to take shape did James start to shine. As the elected leader of the Jerusalem Church, James presided over important councils and decisions. He was respected for his wisdom and – as his moniker suggests – his sense of justice. During the Council at Jerusalem, it was James who made the final judgment that Gentiles do not need to be circumcised to be saved. Like a wise Justice who discerns the meaning and purpose of the law, James made his determination only after carefully listening to others and using his Reason to interpret scripture.

The Apostle Paul called James one of the three “pillars” of the Church, and it is clear that James was well-respected as someone who gave structure to the Church by serving as an anchor to Jewish Tradition. Whenever Paul was in Jerusalem, he went before James to report news and receive guidance. In his advice as well as his writing, James the Just stands out as someone who emphasized adherence to the law as a complement to salvation through grace. For someone who started out as a skeptic, it is remarkable how James came to learn that belief is not purely an intellectual exercise of discerning the truth, but a process of living out the implications of that truth through good deeds. It is from James that we receive the blunt reminder that “faith without works is dead.”

If you are a Justice like James…

You are a systematic and incisive thinker. You voraciously ingest information and apply sharp logical analysis to produce sound insights and strategies. You are focused and determined, and you let little stand in the way of achieving your goals. You tend to end up in charge of newly formed groups, not because you seek power, but because you understand what needs to be done when others do not.

However, like James, your unbending logic may be a bit too biting.  Your blunt style may alienate your audience, even if your insights are correct. You may also be overly skeptical of supernatural explanations until you have ruled out all other possibilities. You can overcome these tendencies, though, if you allow yourself to rely on the wisdom of those who came before you. On the shoulders of Tradition, you can become an inspiring leader that others can rely on.

Role: The Justice

Primary Aspect: Reason (Bull)

Secondary Aspect: Tradition (Man)

Living Creature Symbol: Minotaur

Temperament: Extroverted

Introverted Counterpart: Luke

Female Counterpart: Deborah

Complementary Disciples: John, Peter, Matthew, Philip


Listen to our podcast episode on James (above) and check out our podcast page for more Disciple Types goodness! Also available on iTunes, Google, Spotify and Stitcher

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