Some ninety years after 80-90 AD, when Luke finished writing Acts of the Apostles, another follower of Christ, named Hegesippus, decided to write a similar chronology and bring things up to date. He wanted to include some incidents that Luke did not record. It ended up filling five volumes.  But over time copies were unfortunately lost from Near East libraries. But in a portion of the fifth volume, the only one to survive, Hegesippus tells a chilling story about one of the leading apostles still living in Jerusalem right before the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. This apostle was approached by some priests, scribes, and Pharisees to help them out because so many of their comrades were becoming converts to Christianity. They asked this venerable Christian teacher, whom many Jewish leaders highly respected, to do something to stem the tide of their fellow Jews becoming Christians.  They asked him to go to the Temple area, climb up some 45 feet in one of the pillars above the Holy of Holies, look out the window where he could be easily seen and heard, and say something that would stop this erosion of their ranks.

Oddly enough, this close follower in the Anointed One agreed. When he reached the pinnacle someone who climbed up with him got everyone’s attention on the court below and with a loud voice yelled like an interrogator, “Oh, righteous friend, in whom we are able to place great confidence; the people are being led astray after this Jesus, the crucified one. So, tell us, what this Way is all about, and this Jesus?” This venerable Apostle did not hesitate, but cupped his hands around his mouth and called out his answer. “What can I say about Jesus the Anointed One, seeing that He sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, and will return in clouds of glory?”

Many in the Temple court below were so persuaded by this Apostle’s boldness that they began to glorify God and cry out, “Hosanna in the highest to the Son of David!” The scribes and Pharisees realized that their plan had backfired. Now, even more, may turn to Christ as the Messiah. So, they ordered that this Apostle be grabbed, and without thinking threw him out the window onto the ground below. When they climbed down, they found out that not only wasn’t he dead but had gotten to his knees. So, they picked up stones to finish the job. When they did, this servant of God folded his hands and prayed, “O Lord God, Father, I beseech you to forgive them, for they know not what they do.”[2] So, who was this early martyr for the cause of Christ?  He was none other than Jesus’ own brother, James the Just. The question for us is this: if confronted with the same situation today would we be as brave as James and give our all for Him who gave His all for us? – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Luke 4:9 – “The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.” (NIV)

[2] Ibid. 23:34

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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