Did Jesus Appear to His Brother James After His Resurrection?

The Background

James was the brother of Jesus and a prominent figure in the early Christian church. Before the resurrection of Jesus, James was not a believer in his brother’s teachings (John 7:5). However, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, James became a leader in the church and wrote the book of James in the New Testament.

The Evidence

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul lists several appearances of Jesus after his resurrection. One of those appearances was to James:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. “

This passage is significant because it shows that Jesus’ appearance to James was widely known among early Christians.

The Implications

If Jesus did indeed appear to his brother James after his resurrection, it has several implications. Firstly, it would have been a powerful witness to James who had previously not believed in his brother’s teachings. This may have been instrumental in his conversion and subsequent leadership role within the early church.

Secondly, it would provide further evidence for the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. If even skeptics like James were convinced by an appearance from Jesus after his death, it lends credibility to the idea that something truly miraculous happened on Easter Sunday.

The Debate

Despite the evidence in 1 Corinthians, some scholars still debate whether Jesus actually appeared to James after his resurrection. One argument against this idea is that James is not mentioned in any of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances. However, it’s important to note that the Gospels are not exhaustive accounts of everything that happened during Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances.

Additionally, some scholars argue that the “James” referred to in 1 Corinthians may not actually be James, the brother of Jesus. However, this argument is weakened by the fact that James was a common name at the time and it is unlikely that another James would have been so well-known among early Christians.


While there is still some debate surrounding whether Jesus appeared to his brother James after his resurrection, the evidence from 1 Corinthians suggests that this was indeed a widely accepted belief among early Christians. If true, this appearance would have had significant implications for both James’ life and for the credibility of Jesus’ resurrection itself.