JAMES, the “less”

Also called “the younger”


















This James was the brother of Matthew, son of Alpheus.  He was a native of Capernaum a brother to Judas as well as a cousin of Jesus.


We know very little about this disciple.  Interesting to remember that for every general there are 10,000 privates……….so in the case of James “the less”


His mother was one who witnessed the crucifixion and brought spices for the burial and was also at the tomb.


If during his idealistic youth he was a Zealot, he soon forsook the movement and became an ardent Christian.


Scripture background:


Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:14;  Acts 1:13


Questions asked:





Scriptural stories:


He was involved a lot in the ministry of Jesus, but there are no special stories where he is mentioned.  He was at the Upper Room – Acts 1:13


Place of service:


Egypt and Armenia


Place and manner of death:


There are several stories circulating:

One – in Egypt where he was crucified.

Two – in Jerusalem where he was stoned by the Jews for preaching Jesus.

Three –in Jerusalem where he was beaten by a bat and then had his body sawn


94 A.D.


Interesting facts:


.He is often confused with James, brother of Jesus who was not one of the 12.

(There are 3 James – son of Alphas, son of Zebedee and the brother of Jesus.)



Traditional comments:


It is believed that he was a tax collector

He drank no wine

He ate no meat except the Passover Lamb.

He never cut his hair and never took a bath.

He only wore a single linen garment which he also carefully avoided cleaning with water.

So much time was spent in prayer that his knees were hardened like hooves of a camel.

People wanted to touch the hem of his garment when passing in the streets.


James resembled Jesus so much in body, visage and manner that it was difficult to distinguish one from the other.  If this be true then that is WHY Judas kissed Jesus in the Garden.  That was to make sure they arrested Jesus, not James.


He preached at the local synagogues, in private homes as well as the seashore before going on his mission trips.


Shields and emblems:


 Near death, he rose to ask forgiveness for his enemies, who then beat him with a fuller's bat and sawed his body in pieces.