In the New Testament there are at least 5 names of James. It is sometimes very confusing, which James we are talking about. It is because James is very popular name in those days in Hebrew culture. Now there are five well known names of James as we read “the four gospels”. It is our necessity to distinguish those 5 names. Some of the names James found in the disciple’s group disciples of Jesus Christ and some of them are not disciples of Jesus. Even the James who wrote the epistle of James was not the disciple of Jesus.
Now let us look at those five names: –
(1) James the son of Zebedee Mt 10:2, 17:1; Mk 3:17; 5:37.
Since there were many James in those days. In order to distinguish where they belong to: -they put their names and father names. Likewise here James, son of Zebedee. Here, this James was the member of Jesus. We will open Mt 10: 2-3. There are twelve names of the disciples of Jesus. Now you have Zebedee there. Son of Zebedee how many of them? James and who? John. So you just mark your bible. There are two sons. Zebedee had two sons. Very famous sons. One is James the other one is John. Now here, who would be the older? Why? Because James name comes the first. We assume James was the older brother of John so this James was not the James who wrote “the epistle of James” His father Zebedee was very wealthy fisher man. Mk 1 : 20 Lk 5: 11, shows that this man had haired people under him. That indicate he was not a poor fisher man In lake Galilee. So there were two boys James and John came from a wealthy family. Got it? Do you want know more about James? This James had the third highest position person among the 12 disciples Mt 10: 2; Mk 3: 17 Lk 6: 14; Acts 1:13. This bible references shows that his name comes always third. So we assume that he was the third highest man among the 12 disciples, and also he was the first martyrdom among the 12 disciples an Acts 12: 2. (Acts 12 : 2 was the AD 43 event ). (Bible verse 12: 2 keep).
You highlight that James the brother of John. So this James was the first martyrdom among 12 disciples. Stephen was the first martyrdom in Jerusalem church. Stephen was actually was the first martyrdom in the Jerusalem church in AD 33. You remember that? 10 years later in AD 43 another leader James the brother of John was killed by sword by Herod Agrippa I.
(2) James : – son of Alpheus (Mt 10 : 3, Mk 3 : 18, Lk 6:15, Acts 1: 13).
What we know about this James is he is the member of 12 disciples.
(3) James: – the less James (Mk 15:40) would you turn Mk 15;40 we will see what bible says. (copy verse) James the less. James we do not know but what we know is Mary the mother of James a less. So James a less means, I will say very small James may be short person not tall or that must be his nick name. His mother name is Mary who loves the Lord so much. So we do not know about this name James what we know is James a less.
(4) James: – James the brother of Jesus. (Mt 13:55, 56) copy verse. I don’t need to explain about this James I have given you much information of this gentle man.
(5) James: – James the father of Judah who was a member of disciples of Jesus. ( Lk 6: 16, Acts 1: 13). This Lk 6:16 acts 1:13 had a list of the disciples. (Copy verse). James the father of Judah. Who is the disciple here? Judah. But there were two Judah name in the 12 disciples. One Judah is this father of James. So we do not know the James and the other Judah is what? Judah Iscariot who betrayed Jesus. You see here two Judah. All you have to know is this; there are at least 5 James recorded in the New Testament. So whenever you read the gospel you should be able to distinguish which James we are talking about.