My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honourable name by which you were called?
Comment: Just reading this passage is pretty clear. I will divide it into thoughts by a list…
- James is talking to his brothers and sisters in their common faith in Jesus.
- A wealthy and a poor man come into their assembly and James reiterates how they would commonly in normal society be treated. To the poor man a seat at the back to sit or, if the house was full, a place outside the window to stand and hear, would be offered; for the wealthy they would be led to the front and if no seat is available another one brought in.
- For Christians that poor/wealthy distinction is wrong.
- You are the poor man for whom Jesus died as much as He did for the rich.
- On the whole the persecution which the church was experiencing came from the wealthy and influential.
- Above all it is not in the character of Jesus to treat people as the world does!
Prayer: Help me to love my neighbour as myself!