by John Barnett

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First Church of Jerusalem (10 of 38)
John Barnett

The courtyard seemed to overflow with people. Spilling into the entrance halls they stood excitedly sharing with one another. Up at the front end of the palatial home was a small platform and a chair. Welcome to Jerusalem AD 38. Jesus had ascended to Heaven from the Mt. of Olives, just across the Kidron Valley, only 5 years ago. Here in the massive home of Nicodemus the church met for quiet and private worship and instruction.

Off to the right of the chair used in teaching was a man kneeling. That was old camel knees, James, the oldest living half-brother of Jesus. Camel knees was a nickname for his habit of always getting on his knees when he spoke to Jesus. James had such a reverence for his now exalted family member. As he had scorned Jesus for most of his early days, he worshiped Him now.

With a hush the crowded saints began to look intently to the front, James was rising and soon his message would ring through the ornate halls, around the quiet pools of water and past the fountains to reach the ears of every one assembled. James had arisen to the ranks of the apostles. He had come to faith at the Crucifixion of Christ and had a personal visit from the exalted Lord. He had submitted himself to the apostles teaching, fellowship and the breaking of bread. He never wavered in the initial persecutions. He was constantly at each time of worship, always on his knees whether it was on the rocks, stones or tiled floors. His reverence for the exalted Son of God was complete.

As the apostles moved out to Judea and Samaria he stayed at home. As they gave the gospel to the Gentiles he was faithfully a part of the church at Jerusalem. Gradually he was recognized by the saints and apostles as the natural choice to lead the Jerusalem assembly. He had known Christ Jesus the longest. And now, he knew Him as intimately as any. So he served the church at Jerusalem. And what a church it was . . .

Across the front ro ...

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