The remarkable figure of Elijah.
June 18, 2017
The two great themes of James in his final exhortation are patience, and prayer.
Prayer is mentioned in each verse from James 5:13 through 18.
in verses 19-20 we are to called to look out for one another.
Jewish practices during the time when Jewish believers were expecting their Messiah to return to usher in the kingdom.
We are to pray for one another to be healed of any sickness.
This is the only verse in the New Testament that explicitly commands believers to confess their sins to one another.
The practice of confessing sins originated in the Law of Moses. See Lev 5:5; Lev 16:21; Num 5:7
Here confession of sins was part of a religious ritual for atonement. The confession was public.
John the Baptist baptized the Jews in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.
They did this once, as part of a ritual that prepared them for their coming Messiah.
Jesus did not command people to confess their sins.
1Jo 1:9 contrasts unbelieving false teachers with John and his fellow leaders.
The false teachers said that they did not sin. John and the other genuine leaders admitted that they did sin.
They knew that God the Father had forgiven their sins and had cleansed them from all unrighteousness.
Like James, John also was sent to the Jews.
It makes sense that John would describe a Jewish practice, namely confessing sins publicly.
Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles. He does not call for the practice of confessing sins.
Jam 5:16 is not a legal command to us. However, we can make application for our own lives.
If we have sinned against our brother or sister, the Spirit will guide us to seek to be reconciled.
If we an area of chronic personal sin, we inform a trusted Christian so he or she can pray for us.
These were Jewish practices …
during a time when Jewish believers were expecting their Messiah to return soon to usher in the Kingdom.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
PRAYER IS POWERFUL!!
Bringing in Elijah allows James to once again use the image of rain.
This ties together his teaching on patience with his teaching on prayer.
Second, Elijah performed miraculous healing through prayer.
Third, Elijah’s return would pave the way for the Messianic Age to begin.
And John the Baptist, whom we last saw baptizing Jews in the Jordan River, was the Elijah to come !
Jews who believed that Jesus was their Messiah accepted John as the Elijah who was to come.