James 5.9-12; Psalm 102; Mark 10.1-12
The epistle of St James bears a striking resemblance to the Old Testament books of the genre ‘Wisdom literature’; these books include much of the Psalter as well as Job, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and Baruch. These writings offer the wisdom of sages who direct learners to the path of righteousness and virtue.
It is striking that James makes reference to the Old Testament character Job, the only direct reference to the book of Job in the New Testament. It is from James that we have the proverbial description of ‘the patience of Job’—a quality that the careful reader of the Old Testament might be at pains to dispute!
In counselling patience, though, St James points to the situation of the New Testament church, awaiting the Parousia or return of Christ in triumph but uncertain how long that return would be delayed. Nearly two millennia later, Christians today find ourselves in a similar position. As we patiently await the coming of Christ to judge the living and the dead we reveal Christ to others by lives in which ever-present sin and temptation are only a penultimate word.