Did You Know?
Sometimes when reading the New Testament, you can get confused about who is being spoken of because of several people having the same name. For example, two of Jesus’ disciples were named “Judas.” In order to differentiate them, John called the non-betrayer “Judas…not Iscariot” (John 14:22). There were two apostles named “Simon,” both of whom were called by surnames—Simon Peter, and Simon the zealot.
The fact that there are three prominent followers of Jesus named “James” necessitated that there be some kind of identifying marker given to distinguish them. One was called “James, the son of Alphaeus,” one was “James…the son of Zebedee,” and of course there is James, the brother of Jesus. But he is called “James the less” in Mark 15:40. (Note: some scholars believe it is speaking of James, the son of Alphaeus, but I believe the evidence better supports the brother of Jesus. More on that Wednesday, though.)
The word “less” in that verse is the exact same word used to describe Zacchaeus in Luke 19:3—little in stature.
So Mark describes the brother of Jesus as “Little James” or “Short James.” (poor guy)
Did you know?
-Bradley S. Cobb