The Ascension of Jesus
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of[c] James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
Gary: His brothers?? Immediately after the alleged Ascension, [all?] the brothers of Jesus were praying with the early Church??
Think about it: If James the brother of Jesus had just recently converted to Christianity due to an appearance of the resurrected Jesus, wouldn’t you expect this fact to get a little more attention by the author of the Book of Acts? But no. No mention of a recent appearance to a brother of Jesus nor any mention that the future bishop of Jerusalem had just converted due to this appearance. What better proof to convince dubious Jews of the bodily resurrection of Jesus than to proclaim from the roof tops that a skeptic brother of Jesus, a brother who had previously considered Jesus to be a nut case, had recently received an appearance of the bodily resurrected Jesus and had converted to “the Way”? But nope. No mention of these events.
The fact that the “brothers” of Jesus (sounds to me like “all” of Jesus’ brothers) are mentioned almost like an after-thought in this passage, devoting themselves to prayer with the leading men of the early Church, suggests to me that the brothers of Jesus had been believers in the messianic teachings of Jesus for quite some time. Why else would their participation in such a significant event in the history of the Christian Church be mentioned so casually?
This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he was already a believer!
Update 02/18/2020: I believe that the last sentence of the post above would be better worded to say:
This is evidence that if James, the brother of Jesus, did claim to have received an appearance of the resurrected Jesus as Paul in the Early Creed of First Corinthians 15 claims, he may have already been a believer!
In summary: According to the author of Acts (chapter one) all the brothers of Jesus were already believers within weeks of Jesus’ death. Why? Why were they all believers? Answer: We don’t know. But what is odd is that if all their conversions were due to a recent appearance of Jesus, there is no mention of this fact anywhere in the Book of Acts. Even if one of the brother’s, James, claimed to have received an appearance of Jesus, we have no evidence that any of the other brother’s claimed to have received an appearance. This strongly suggests that the majority of Jesus’ brothers converted to Christianity for reasons other than an appearance experience. If most of Jesus’ brothers converted for other reasons, then it is possible and plausible that James converted for other reasons. Therefore, this is evidence that it is possible that James was already a believer prior to his alleged appearance experience. The claim that the conversion of James is an example of a skeptic conversion is unfounded and based on conjecture. We have no evidence why or when James converted.
End of post.