What Was The Dispersion?
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Greetings. (James 1:1)
One of the themes of the book of James is that his audience was suffering persecution, and we
know this because of the word Dispersion. Dispersion is just a fancy way of saying that God’s
people had been scattered all over the world because of persecution from the ruling government.
He also calls the people the 12 tribes. This is another way of saying, “God’s people”. In the Old
Testament, God’s people came from Jacob and his twelve sons. Those twelve sons became the
twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. God chose them to be his special people. They were called
to be a light to the nations. Unfortunately they failed miserably at this. God judged them by
using the wicked nations of Assyria and Babylon to kick them out of their land.
But God had promised to one day make a people for himself. Today this is the church. James
wants his audience of Jewish Christians to know that they, as followers of Jesus, are God’s
people and play a vital role in the continuation of his Kingdom. In this sense, all believers are
part of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Read 1 Peter 2:9
In this verse, like James, Peter is writing to the church.
1. What words does he use to describe God’s people?
2.How do those words make you feel?
3. In light of who Peter says we are, what is the one thing we are supposed to do as his people?
Our Father, thank you that you have made us into your people, the church. Thank you that you
have given us a special status as those who have been forgiven, changed, and filled with your
Spirit to proclaim to the world the truths about you. Help us by the power of your Spirit to do
this in such a way that gives you the most glory possible and us the most joy. In Jesus’ name,
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