We turn the corner now in our study of the letter of James from the angle of James absorbing and passing on the wisdom of his brother, Jesus.
then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for
the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the
autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As
you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard
of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought
about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
The context is the oppressive behaviors of the rich farmers; the context is the suffering of the poor laborers; and the context is James’ stern warning of God’s judgment. In that context, James’ mind immediately moves to a theme in his letter: “Be patient!”
What are the alternatives? In the context of oppression, suffering, and the threat of God’s judgment, the alternatives are anger: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore,
get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly
accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (1:19-21). And violence: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight” (4:1-2).
James’ wisdom, absorbed from Jesus through the cross, is patience.