James was the half-brother of Jesus. James had three other full brothers as well as sisters. His other brothers were Joseph (Greek for Joses), Simon, and Judas. James while growing up and during Jesus life did not believe or accept Jesus divinity, nor did he accept Jesus authority as the Son of God.
James’ conversion is recorded for us in 1st Corinthians 15:7, which states that Jesus appeared to James after His death and resurrection. After His resurrection Jesus was first seen by the woman at the tomb, Peter and the twelve apostles. Jesus was then seen by over five hundred brethren at one time, after which He appeared to James. After these events James not only became a believer in Jesus, but also became the leader of the Jerusalem church. James leads the church at Jerusalem during difficult times, including persecution. In the book of Galatians chapter one, verse nineteen we read that James was considered by many to be one of the apostles. And some suggest that he was appointed as a replacement for James the son of Zebedee. The brother of John, who had been martyred by the Romans. Church history and the early church fathers state that James was appointed the first Bishop of Jerusalem by the Lord Himself and the other apostles. We know for certain he presided over the first Jerusalem council, which we can read about in Luke’s letter which we call the “Book of Acts.” During that council it was James who was called upon to determine the final behavior for Gentile believers to adhere to as followers of Christ.
James called himself a, “slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ!” James helped to resolve a lot of Jewish-Christian issues during the development and growth of the early church. James because of his love for God and his love for Jesus and for the Jewish people continued to follow the Jewish laws and customs. He did this in order to help bridge the gap and bring his fellow countrymen to faith in Christ. Because of his pious life, austere lifestyle and his continuing study of the word of God, he was given the name, “James the Just.” His love for Christ helped him to love others and treat others as the word of God gave him wisdom. According to the historian Josephus in the year 61 A.D. there was a Jewish uprising after the death of the procurator Festus. It was during the period between the death of Festus and the appointment of his successors that the Jews rebelled and killed many of the Christians including James. Eusebius states that James was stoned, then thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple, then beaten to death with clubs. It was shortly after this in 70 A.D. that the Romans destroyed the Temple, put down the rebellion and expelled many Jews from Jerusalem and Palestine. The destruction of the Temple was foretold by Jesus as he walked out of the city of Jerusalem and His disciples asked Jesus about the end times.