James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. (ESV)
James introduces himself to us as a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a time in his life when he would not have introduced himself in that way. James was the brother of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine being Jesus' brother? It must have been hard for him to believe that his brother was the Son of God.
 For not even his brothers believed in him.
James had a change of heart. God saved him and he devoted his very life to the work of the ministry of the Gospel. He was the leader of the Church at Jerusalem, and we find out from the historian Josephus that he was martyred in AD 62. James went from an unbeliever to a martyr. His devotion to the Lord Jesus is a beautiful picture of the love and power of God.
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion. The twelve tribes is a reference to ancient Israel. But, at the time of James’ epistle, were there still 12 tribes left? The Assyrian Empire carried off the 10 Northern tribes in 722 BC. They never returned, but were scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire. There were still remnants of Jews all over the Roman Empire.
In addition to the scattered Jews from the Assyrian Empire there were Jews that were scattered by the Romans. Some Jews were taken to Rome as slaves. Others were scattered by persecution. What a heartbreak it must have been to be taken away from your home. And yet, though these Jews were scattered, they were not forgotten. James had a message for them. And he has a message for us.
As you take this verse by verse trip through the book of James picture yourself as a dispersed Jew. You have not been forgotten. God loves you and has a message for you.