Who Were Jesus’ Brothers?
If all Christians are priests, why do Catholics assert a ministerial priesthood that is fundamentally separate from the universal priesthood? It is God’s will that a specific priesthood be called forth from among the general priesthood, and that this priesthood will minister to his people. This idea is practically as old as Moses himself. “A kingdom of priests and a holy people,” God refers to ancient Israel in Exodus 19:6, which St. Peter used to explain the universal priesthood of all Christians.
Peter reminds us that there was a universal priesthood among the people of God in the Old Testament, just as there is a universal priesthood in the New Testament.
In a similar vein, we have a universal “Royal Priesthood” in the New Testament, but we also have an ordained clergy who have priestly power granted to them by Christ to carry out his ministry of reconciliation, as we have seen.
Did Jesus Have a Twin?
If all Christians are priests, then why do Catholics assert a ministerial priesthood that is fundamentally separate from the universal priesthood? The explanation is that God want to call out a specific priesthood from within the general priesthood in order to minister to his people. This notion is practically as old as Moses himself. When St. Peter taught us about the universal priesthood of all believers, he expressly referenced to Exodus 19:6, where God referred to ancient Israel as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” St.
However, the presence of a ministerial priesthood within the universal priesthood was not ruled out (seeExodus 19:22, Exodus 28, andNumbers 3:1-12).
Jesus’ Brother and Sister Names
In the Bible, we don’t have any names that are similar to ours. Women’s names are rarely mentioned in the Bible, unless they had major parts in the story, such as the judge Deborah or Mary the mother of Jesus, who were both mentioned. Consider some of the scriptures that refer to Jesus’ brothers and sisters. While Jesus was still speaking to the multitude, his mother and brothers remained outside the door, waiting for an opportunity to speak with him. Matthew 12:46 As a result of the verses below, we know that Jesus had sisters.
- “How did he obtain all of these things?” you might wonder.
- What is now happening to some of these brothers will be discussed in detail later.
- The number of children he has is not specified in the Gospels.
- Joseph was most likely deceased, and she need Jesus to serve as the home’s head of household.
Regardless of one’s objections, Scripture refers to these individuals as Jesus’ siblings, and for the sake of this essay, we will refer to them as half-siblings.
What Happened to Jesus’ Brothers and Sisters?
Although Mary initially supports Jesus’ work, when difficult circumstances arise, she urges him to step back and return home to care for his family, according to the Matthew 12verse. In the New Testament, we don’t learn anything about what happened to Jesus’ family until much later in the book of Matthew. The New Testament story is dominated by two of Jesus’ brothers, James and Jude, and we know that they play a significant role in it. As we have seen, James and Jude must have had some reservations about Jesus at initially since they arrive with Mary in order to stop Jesus from continuing his teachings.
- Following his conversion, James becomes the pastor of a church in Jerusalem, and he later goes on to write the Book of James.
- A stone or a fall from the Temple tower is used to bring him to his death.
- The Book of Jude, as you would have guessed.
- Beyond the fact that Jude converted after Jesus returned to the Father’s presence in heaven, we don’t know much about his life.
- As far as the rest of Jesus’ siblings are concerned, we know that many of them have converted and gone on to perform missionary travels themselves (1 Corinthians 9:5).
3 Lessons from Jesus’ Brothers
In spite of the fact that we don’t get to learn much about Jesus’ siblings and sisters in Scripture, we may take away a number of important truths from them. First and foremost, Jesus’ relationship with his siblings demonstrates that he fully comprehends every element of our existence. He understands what it’s like to grow up in a family with folks who don’t always agree with you. Even though ancient Israel did not have the same individualistic worldview as we have now, there was nonetheless sibling rivalry and competitiveness between brothers and sisters.
- Second, even Jesus’ siblings expressed skepticism.
- Until after Jesus has ascended back into heaven, James and Jude do not accept him as their Lord and Savior.
- We may take consolation from Jesus’ example, knowing that even his own family did not stand by him during his trial.
- This might provide encouragement to those of us who have family members who have not yet made a commitment to Christ in their life.
- Both of them are New Testament authors that compose books for the New Testament.
- That exemplifies real dedication.
- In the end, many of us are stubborn and stubbornness can stand in the way of developing a positive relationship with others.
Perhaps, like Jesus’ half-brothers and half-sisters, they will come to understand the magnificent lovingkindness of our Lord.
When it comes to our siblings, we should ask God for patience and prayer.
Sources She is a multi-published author and a graduate of the professional writing program at Taylor University, where she studied creative writing.
As a writer and editor, she has worked for a number of different publishing firms as well as periodicals, newspapers, and literary agencies, and she has worked with writers such as Jerry B.
Her modern-day Daniel trilogy, published by IlluminateYA, is now available.
Her inspirational adult novel Picture Imperfect, which will be released in November of 2021, will also be released.
This page is a part of ourPeople of Christianitycatalog, which tells the tales, explains the meaning, and highlights the significance of well-known figures from the Bible and throughout history.
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Did Jesus Really Have Half-Siblings?
Jesus had at least four brothers, according to Matthew 13:55: James, Joseph (sometimes referred to as Joses), Simon, and Judas. James was the oldest of the brothers (also referred to as Jude). Matthew 13:56 indicates that he had at least two sisters, which is consistent with the plural form of the word “sister.” Despite the fact that the Greek term for “brothers” and “sisters” does not necessitate that someone be a blood related, it is most likely that these six persons are the offspring of Joseph and Mary and half-siblings of Jesus, according to tradition.
Why Is This Question So Controversial Among Christians?
Mary’s eternal virginity is at the heart of this debate, which has raged for more than two centuries. It is possible that Mary is eternally a virgin, in which case Jesus would have no biological relations. This offers the potential of Jesus having half-brothers and sisters if Mary remained a virgin until the birth of Jesus, but then began having sexual intercourse with her husband Joseph afterward. Because of Jesus’ virgin birth, Joseph was not his biological father, therefore they would act on his behalf as step-siblings.
- In the first place, it is important to note that Jesus’ siblings were offspring of Mary and Joseph after Jesus was born (referred to as the Helvidian view).
- Third, they were first cousins of Jesus, which was a great honor (the traditional Roman Catholic view).
- It is true that the Greek terms for “brothers” and “sisters” can be difficult to distinguish from one another, but there existed a word for “cousin” in the Bible.
- It is interesting to note that they are never referred to as Jesus’ cousins throughout the New Testament or the first two centuries of Christian history, which is surprising.
Why Are There Objections to Jesus Having Half-Brothers?
The dogma of Mary’s permanent virginity is the primary source of opposition to Jesus having half-siblings in the first place. From the early church through the Reformation, this idea was embraced by a large number of people. It is Matthew 1:25 that is important since it says, “but (Joseph) did not have sexual contact with her until she gave birth to a son.” “And he gave him the name Jesus” (CSB). In this case, the term “until” is at the core of the debate. This term signifies the conclusion of a span of time in a chronological sense.
Matthew 2:15 states that they remained in Egypt “until Herod’s death” (CSB), which is the identical term that is used in Matthew 1:25 and Matthew 2:13 as well.
The New Testament states that Mary remained a virgin until the birth of Jesus, but it makes no mention of whether or not she continued to be a virgin beyond this time.
Early Christian writings such as the Gospel of Peter (which was not actually written by Peter), the Protoevangelium of James (which was not actually written by any James in the New Testament), and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (which was not actually written by the Apostle Thomas), all of which date from the second century, appear to support this point of view.
There isn’t enough information to make a definitive determination on whether or not these youngsters are Mary’s biological offspring.
In the passage cited above, Matthew 1:25, it appears to indicate that Mary only remained a virgin until the birth of Jesus.
The way this line is written establishes a stronger connection between Mary and Jesus’ half-brothers than it does with Joseph.
In fact, Joseph (Mary’s husband) isn’t even mentioned by name in the text. As a result, these are most likely Mary’s offspring, as well as Jesus’ half-brothers and half-sisters.
What Do We Know about the Half-Siblings?
James was the most well-known of Jesus’ half-brothers and sisters. James the son of Zebedee, the brother of John, is not to be confused with the person named James here (seeMatthew 4:21). According to Acts 12:2, James the son of Zebedee was killed at a young age in the history of Christianity. A number of times in the New Testament, Jesus’ half-brother James is mentioned by name. Besides the passage from Matthew 13:55, we know that Mary and Jesus’ brothers (most likely included James) went to Jesus when he was ministering to the people (Matthew 12:46;Mark 3:31;Luke 8:19-20).
- Because the terms “brothers” and “disciples” are distinct, it is most likely that these are the sons of Mary, half-brothers of Jesus, and most likely include James as well.
- Clearly, the term “brothers” does not apply to persons who are members of Jesus’ society but are connected biologically, as the passage above indicates.
- According to the evidence, James turned to Christianity sometime after the events of John 7 and before the events of Acts 12.
- In Galatians 1:19, the apostle Paul refers to James as Jesus’ brother.
- Most evangelical academics think that the Letter of James was written by Jesus’ half-brother, James (seeJames 1:1).
- There is less information available concerning Jesus’ other half-siblings.
- They are mentioned in 1Corinthians 9:5 in the context of traveling gospel ministers: “Don’t we have the right to be accompanied by a believing woman, just as the other apostles, the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas did?” (CSB).
James’ brother, Jude, asserts himself to be the author of the book, who is most likely the half-brother of Jesus.
While several hypotheses for the identification of Jude have been advanced, none of them appear to be more plausible than the possibility that he is Jesus’ half-brother.
Even though they claimed to be farmers in the vicinity of Rome, the veracity of their narrative has been put into question.
The controversy over whether or not Jesus had half-siblings is inextricably linked to the dogma of Mary’s eternal virginity, which is discussed below.
Joseph and Mary had at least six children following the birth of Jesus, according to the most logical interpretation of the biblical narrative, including at least four males and at least two girls.
Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/MichaelTruelove.
Croteau (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of New Testament at Columbia International University, as well as Associate Dean and Director of the Ph.D.
The following books are among his many publications: Urban Legends of the Old Testament (co-authored with Gary Yates, B H, 2019), Urban Legends of the New Testament (B H, 2015),Tithing After the Cross (Energion, 2013), and You Mean I Don’t Have to Tithe (Energion, 2013). (Pickwick, 2010).
Did Jesus have any brothers, sisters or siblings?
Throughout history, there has been great debate about the precise nature of their link to Jesus and his apostles. Consequently, the issue remains: Did Jesus have siblings? There have been three main points of view put forward: They have been identified as (1) Jesus’ actual siblings/brothers, that is, half-brothers, sons of Joseph and Mary (and therefore younger than Jesus); (2) His stepbrothers, that is, children of Joseph by a previous marriage (and thus all older than Jesus and not His blood relatives at all); (3) Jesus’ cousins, either on the mother’s side or on the father’s side, depending on who you believe.
Where exactly was Jesus’ birthplace?
Three views about Jesus’ siblings
Some adhere to the first viewpoint, arguing that it is the most natural way to interpret the multiple allusions to these brothers, as well as the most evident intention of Matthew 1:25 and Luke 2:7. Second, those who believe in family ethics claim that younger siblings should not be permitted to mock or otherwise interfere with an older brother in the same way that Jesus’ brothers ridiculed Him (see Mark 3:31; John 7:3-4). Moreover, they argue, Jesus’ decision to entrust His mother’s care to the apostle John (John 19:26-27), rather than to one of His brothers, clearly shows that Mary did not have any other children.
Their relationship as cousins on Mary’s side is predicated on the unconfirmed identification of “Mary, the wife of Cleophus” with Mary’s sister (John 19:25; Mark 15:40), as well as the unsubstantiated relationship between “Clopas” and Alphaeus (John 19:25; Mark 15:40).
Jesus’ brothers, sistersmother
Several of Jesus’ siblings are reported as joining him and his mother to Capernaum following their marriage at Cana (Matthew 19:9). (John 2:12). The next year, Mary and these brothers are mentioned as attempting to have an audience with Jesus (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21). A few chapters before the conclusion of Jesus’ public career, His brethren are recorded as asking Jesus to demonstrate His Messiahship, which they themselves had questioned (John 7:3-5). Their conversion is obvious from the fact that they are portrayed in Acts as joining with the disciples and others in “prayer and supplication” before to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–3).
Paul makes the implication that they were all married (1 Corinthians 9:5).
Also widely held to be the case is that James the brother of Jesus was the spiritual leader of the early church in Jerusalem (see Acts 12:17; 15:13).
Who Was James, Jesus’ Brother?
Following the marriage at Cana, Jesus’ siblings are reported as joining him and his mother to Capernaum (John 2:12). Later on, Mary and these brothers are described as requesting an audience with Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21). As Jesus’ mission draws to a close, the Scriptures record His brothers and sisters imploring him to demonstrate His Messiahship, something they too were skeptical about (John 7:3-5). Their conversion is obvious from the fact that they are portrayed in Acts as joining with the disciples and others in “prayer and supplication” before to the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–3).
As Paul suggests, they were all married at the time (1 Corinthians 9:5).
Aside from that, it’s widely assumed that James the brother of Jesus served as the leader of the church in Jerusalem (see Acts 12:17; 15:13).
According to Paul’s account of his travel to Jerusalem, during which he claims to have only seen Peter and “James, the Lord’s brother,” this appears to be verified (Galatians 1:18-19).
What Does the Bible Say about James?
Following the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ siblings are reported as joining him and his mother to Capernaum (John 2:12). Later, Mary and these brothers are reported as requesting an audience with Jesus (Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21). The disciples, at the conclusion of Jesus’ public career, are reported as asking Jesus to demonstrate His Messiahship, which they themselves had doubted (John 7:3-5). Their conversion is obvious from the fact that they are portrayed in Acts as joining with the disciples and others in “prayer and supplication” prior to the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:13-14).
Many critics believe that the author of the epistle of Jude, who refers to himself as the “brother of James,” was one of these brothers (Jude 1).
According to Paul’s account of his travel to Jerusalem, in which he claims to have seen just Peter and “James, the Lord’s brother,” this appears to be verified (Galatians 1:18-19).
James is expressly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:7 as one of the people to whom Jesus appeared after His Resurrection. James thinks that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who has come to redeem people from their sins after witnessing his dead brother walking and talking to him. He does not announce himself as Jesus’ brother or as the leader of the church when he subsequently writes the Epistle of James, but rather as “James, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” as he does in the book of Acts (James 1:1).
James is one of the 120 people who are filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which marks the beginning of the Church (Acts 2:1-4).
Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/Ben White
James Was a Wise Leader
James is especially mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:7 as one of those to whom Jesus appeared after His Resurrection after His death and resurrection. James thinks that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who has come to redeem people from their sins after witnessing his dead brother walking and speaking to him. He does not announce himself as Jesus’ brother or as the leader of the church when he subsequently writes the Epistle of James, but rather as “James, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” as he does in the Gospel of Matthew (James 1:1).
During Pentecost, which is the day the Church is established, James is one of 120 individuals who are infused with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
James is completely dedicated to serving Jesus the Risen Lord and His Church from the time he first experiences Him in Person. Thanks to Ben White on Unsplash for the photo!
Jesus’ Brother Was a Radical Advocate
It is a source of great emotion for James, who throughout theEpistleof James frequently calls for justice for the destitute. Approximately one-quarter of the book is devoted to advocating for and supporting the less fortunate, denouncing favoritism based on money, and addressing the wealthy about their greed, indifference, exploitation, and arrogant arrogance, among other things. Other than Jesus Himself, there is no other figure in the New Testament who speaks so extensively against social inequity.
- “Now listen up, you affluent people; cry and howl because of the suffering that is about to fall upon you.
- Corrosion will testify against you, and your body will be consumed by it like fire.
- During your time on Earth, you indulged in luxury and self-indulgence.
- Not only does James encourage compassion and care for the poor, but he also elevates and glorifies them.
- Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/Everste
As he did at the Jerusalem Council, James passes over the long-winded greetings and blessings and gets right to the point in the first verses of theEpistleof James. The fact that you are facing challenges of various types should be considered pure delight, dear brothers and sisters.” (See James 1:2.) When a pastor exhorts his congregation to trust God despite of their circumstances, to be faithful and pure, and to humbly submit to God, the heart of the pastor may be heard beating in his words.
In this letter to individuals who are “scattered throughout the nations,” James provides solace to those who are suffering by pointing them toward the everlasting perspective of the Bible.
For James, unity in the church is a top priority, as evidenced by his repeated exhortations to Christians to refrain from judging one another (James 2:12-13, 4:11-12), control their tongues and tempers (James 1:19-20, 3:2-12), and put aside the envy and selfish ambition that cause disorder, conflict, and quarrels (James 3:12-12).
- At the time of James’s last historical appearance in the Bible, he is celebrating over the Gentiles who have become members of God’s family and counseling Paul on how to reconcile divisions within the Church.
- James saw that Paul was not advocating that Jews should abandon their Jewish identity when they place their faith in Jesus.
- This uncertainty and divide can be resolved by James suggesting that Paul demonstrate that he still considers himself Jewish and adheres to the Law of Moses by engaging in a purification ceremony and paying for four other men to do the same, as suggested by James (Acts 21:17-26).
- His example of leadership exemplifies James 3:17-18 in action.
A harvest of righteousness will be reaped by peacemakers who sow the seeds of peace.” Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/kovop58
How Did Jesus’ Brother James Die?
The death of James is not mentioned in the Scriptures. James, the leader of the early church in Jerusalem, is likely still alive and serving as the book of Acts’ last chapter, which concludes with Paul under house arrest in Rome. The historian Josephus dates James’ death during a period of transition between two Roman rulers, indicating that he died around the year 62 AD, which is a likely date. By this point, James has earned himself a number of nicknames, including James the Just, Oblias (a Greek phrase that translates as “bulwark of the people”), and Old Camel Knees (a moniker that refers to his age).
Matt Erickson writes that Hegessipus, a 2ndcentury Christian, wrote that James was often found alone in the temple on his knees begging God to forgive the Jews and that he spent so much time on his knees in prayer that his knees “became hard like those of a camel.” Hegessipus also wrote that James spent so much time on his knees in prayer that his knees “became hard like those of a camel.” His behavior provided proof that he believed what he stated in James 5:16 regarding prayer.
- His trust would be put to the test in due course.
- It is this that concerns the Jewish authorities, who implore James to address the throng.
- The people are befuddled and are following a dead guy by the name of Jesus.
- “He is seated at the right side of God in the heavenly realms, and he will return on the clouds of heaven.” Many of the people are convinced right then and then that Jesus is the Resurrected Lord, and they begin to praise Him right there and then.
- “Oh my goodness!” they exclaim to the crowd.
- However, he is not killed, and as a result, the leaders begin stoning him.
- He prostrates himself before God, pleading with him to forgive the Jews.
- What exactly are you doing?
- Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/Annie Spratt.
Was James One of the 12 Disciples?
The death of James is not mentioned in the Bible. The Book of Acts, a chronological record of the events of the early Church, concludes with Paul in house imprisonment in Rome, and it seems likely that James is still alive and leading the church in Jerusalem. Joshua placed James’ death amid a period of transition between two Roman rulers, indicating that it occurred about the year 62 AD, according to the historian Josephus. By this point, James has earned himself a number of nicknames, including James the Just, Oblias (a Greek phrase that literally translates as “bulwark of the people”), and Old Camel Knees (a moniker that refers to his age).
The author, Matt Erickson, writes that Hegessipus, a 2ndcentury Christian, wrote that James was frequently found alone in the temple on his knees begging God to forgive the Jews, and that he spent so much time on his knees in prayer that his knees “became hard like those of a camel.” Hegessipus also wrote that James was often found alone in the temple on his knees begging God to forgive the Jews.
- It was just a matter of time before his faith would be tested.
- It is this that concerns the Jewish authorities, who implore James to address the throng.
- It appears that the populace is befuddled and that they are following a dead guy named Jesus.
- “He is seated at the right side of God in the heavenly realms, and he will return on clouds of glory.” Numerous individuals are convinced on the spot that Jesus is the Resurrected Lord and begin worshiping Him right there and then.
- People are yelling, “Oh no!” as they pass by.
- The leaders, however, do not succeed in killing him, and they begin stoning him as punishment.
- Kneeling before God, he begs for forgiveness for his treatment of the Jewish people.
” as the stones continue to smash his body. What exactly are you up to these days? “The only one who cares about us is praying!” James is killed when a launderer takes a club that was previously used to beat clothing and hurls it at his head. Credit: Unsplash/Annie Spratt for the image.
The Legacy of James
The life of James demonstrates the significance of the Resurrection. A skeptical skeptic is transformed into a loyal disciple after witnessing the resurrection of the crucified Jesus on the cross. His leadership of the Church in Jerusalem is an example of just, uniting, and steady servant leadership, and he should be commended for it. The purpose of the Church is shaped by the teachings of the Book of James, which include unity, fidelity in prayer and testimony, purity, endurance in the face of adversity, and compassionate care for one another and the poor.
- Photograph courtesy of Getty Images /rudall30 Jeannie Myers is a freelance writer who lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she enjoys the beauty of nature.
- Reading, camping, singing, and playing board games with her children are some of Jeannie’s favorite pastimes.
- Jeannie Myers is a freelance writer who lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she enjoys the beauty of nature.
- Reading, camping, singing, and playing board games with her children are some of Jeannie’s favorite pastimes.
Did Jesus have brothers and sisters (siblings)?
QuestionAnswer More than a few verses in the Bible make reference to Jesus’ brothers. A visit by Jesus’ mother and brothers is recorded in three different Bible passages: Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31. The Bible teaches us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, according to the book of Matthew (Matthew 13:55). Although the Bible says that Jesus had sisters, they are neither named or counted in the book of Matthew (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, Jesus’ brothers accompany him to the feast, while he remains at home.
- James, according to Galatians 1:19, was Jesus’ younger brother.
- Some Roman Catholics believe that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins, rather than his siblings.
- While the word can apply to other relatives as well, its conventional and literal meaning is a physical brother in the traditional sense.
- If they were Jesus’ cousins, why were they so frequently represented as being with Mary, Jesus’ mother, if they were Jesus’ cousins?
- It is also possible, according to a second Roman Catholic theory, that Jesus’ brothers and sisters were the offspring of Joseph from a prior relationship.
- There is a difficulty with this because the Bible makes no mention of Joseph being previously married or having children before he married Mary.
- No scriptural basis exists to assume that these siblings are anything other than the biological children of Joseph and Mary, as is commonly believed.
- “And he named Him Jesus,” the Bible says (Matthew 1:25).
In God’s Word, there is a clear and unequivocal teaching on the subject of marriage. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) Is it possible that Jesus had brothers and sisters (siblings)?
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What Happened to Jesus’ ‘Brothers’?
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The other disciples
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The Brothers of Jesus: Loving the Unbelieving Relative
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JAMES, THE HALF BROTHER OF JESUS
TOPIC DISCUSSED: JAMES, THE HALF-BROTHER OF JESUS. He was known as “James the Just,” and he was subsequently dubbed “camel knees” because he spent most of his time praying on his knees (from Hegesippus, quoted by EusebiusinHist. Eccl. 2.23-24; 4-18). B. James did not become a Christian until after the resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. Mark3:21; John 7:5). After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to him in person for the first time (cf.1Cor. 15:7). C. He was there in the upper chamber with the disciples (cf.
- 1 Cor.
- In Galatians 1:19, Paul refers to him as a pillar of the Jerusalem church (perhaps an apostle; see Special Topic: Send), although he was not one of the Twelve Apostles (cf.
- 2:9; Acts 12:17; 15:13ff;21:18).
- After Jesus’ death, a descendant of Jesus was designated as the leader of the church in Jerusalem, a position that he held for many decades.
- Jude v.
- 2014Bible Lessons International, All Rights Reserved.
Profiles of Faith: James – Half Brother of Jesus
In spite of the fact that James grew up in the same house as Jesus in Nazareth, he was worlds apart from Jesus’ way of thinking during the first few years of his existence. James did not grow up as a Christian (John 7:5). Despite the fact that Jesus and James were born to the same mother, Jesus was not the son of Joseph, as James was, but of God the Father Himself—a reality that would not fully sink in to James’ consciousness for many years afterward. Only after Jesus’ resurrection and subsequent appearance to James and the disciples did James come to a full understanding of who his half-brother had truly been.
Following Jesus’ instructions, as described in Acts 1:4, James led the apostles, the women who had followed Jesus, his mother, and his siblings to the upper chamber, where they prayed and waited patiently for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be given to the church (Acts 1:14).
From the time of Jesus’ resurrection on, James dedicated his life to God alone, and he quickly rose to prominence in the early Church.
As we see in Acts 15:13-21, he appears to have taken over as the governing pastor of the Jerusalem church, and he is the one who makes the final pronouncement during this early ministerial conference.
Following his conversion, the apostle Paul first met with Peter and James before meeting with any of the other apostles (Galatians 1:18-19). In a later scene, we see James counseling Paul, and Paul thereafter following on James’s recommendation (Acts 21:18-26).
The family of Jesus
Christ’s family was large, with four half brothers—James, Joses (who would later write the epistle of Jude), Simon, and Judas (who would later write the epistle of Jude)—as well as “His sisters,” which indicates there were at least two (Matthew 13:55-56). Because the names of Christ’s brothers are passed down to us in their Greek forms, it’s easy to lose sight of how traditionally Jewish Jesus’ family was. Because both Mary and Joseph were descended from the Israelite tribe of Judah, Jesus was a Jew (Hebrew 7:14), and hence the Messiah.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, is a shortened form of Miriam, who was the sister of Moses and Aaron.
As for Jesus’ stepfather, Joseph (Yosefin Hebrew), was ultimately named for the Hebrew patriarch Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob and father of the Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
Another of Jacob’s sons by the name of Simeon, who became the father of one of Israel’s twelve tribes, was Judas (or Jude), whose Hebrew name was Yehudah (rendered Judah in English), which was also by the name of another of Jacob’s sons by the name of Yehudah (rendered Judah in English), from which the wordJewis derived.
James sees the light
Through Jesus’ mission, His half-brother James, along with the other three brothers, failed to show Jesus the reverence that He ought to be shown (John 7:3-5). It indicates that they believed he was not thinking correctly, and they may have wanted Him removed from their residence (Mark 3:21,Mark 3:31-35). James and Jesus’ other brothers treated Him with contempt, which hurt Jesus, who spoke from personal experience when He remarked, “A prophet is only without respect in his hometown, among his family, and in his own home” (Mark 6:4, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).
For example, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “Between John and Mary, a bond of fellowship had been established that was even stronger than the bond of blood that Mary had with her own sons, who had up to this point regarded Jesus’ course with disapproval and had expressed no sympathy for his mission.
Nevertheless, upon Jesus’ resurrection, James and his brothers joined the ranks of the believing community, convinced that Jesus was, in fact, the prophesied Messiah and Son of God (Acts 1:14).
In writing his epistle some 30 years later, James demonstrates his humility by referring to himself as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” (James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ) (James 1:1).
He was not eager to brag about the fact that he was a half-brother of Jesus Christ.
Possibly, he was reminded of how brutally he had treated Jesus in the past by rejecting Him on several occasions. James’ brother Jude defined himself in a similar manner, while simultaneously identifying himself as a sibling to James (Jude 1).
The epistle of James
Through Jesus’ ministry, His half-brother James, along with the other three brothers, failed to show Jesus the reverence that He deserved to be shown by them (John 7:3-5). According to their actions, they believed he was not thinking well, and they may have wanted Him removed from their residence (Mark 3:21,Mark 3:31-35). A prophet’s honor was not shown by James and Jesus’ other brothers, which pained Jesus, who spoke from personal experience when He stated that a prophet’s honor is only shown in one’s hometown, among his family, and in one’s own home (Mark 6:4, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).
Specifically, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “Between John and Mary, a bond of fellowship had been established that was even stronger than the bond of blood that Mary had with her own sons, who had up to this point regarded Jesus’ course with disapproval and expressed no sympathy for his mission.
- Nevertheless, upon Jesus’ resurrection, James and his brothers joined the ranks of the believing community, having come to the conclusion that Jesus was in fact the prophesied Messiah and Son of God (John 1:14).
- Probably a significant factor in James’ conversion was a particular appearance by Jesus to him in 1 Corinthians 15:7, which is the only place where it is recorded.
- James spoke to himself as the servant of Jesus rather than as a close relative of the Lord Jesus.
- His rejection of Jesus in previous years may also have brought back memories of how shamefully he had treated Jesus.
Themes of James’ epistle
As a letter to his compatriots, the 12 scattered tribes of Israel (James 1:1), James provided practical guidance on how to live a Christian life. And he reminded them that truly godly service is characterized by active love for others and purity in one’s own heart and actions (James 1:27). The apostle James spoke extensively about patience, including patience in trial (James 1:2), patience in good deeds (James 1:22-25), patience in provocation (James 3:1-7), patience under oppression (James 5:7), and patience under persecution (James 5:8).
- He said that the knowledge that Christ will return to correct all wrongs is the foundation of patience.
- He was a teacher of heavenly knowledge.
- To ask, we must be certain beyond any reasonable question that God will fulfill His promise to bring what we have requested.
- In his letter to the Corinthians, James wrote: “But let him ask in faith, without questioning,” because “he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
- James addressed a matter that is extremely important to him: sin.
- God, on the other hand, despises anybody who does not refuse to oppose it.
- It all starts with want, the desire to possess or engage in behavior that we should not possess or engage in (James 1:14).
When such cravings reach maturity—when they begin to rule us rather than us controlling them—sin results in the ultimate consequence of eternal death as a result of our actions (verse 15).
True religion revealed
With practical advice on how to live a Christian life, James wrote to his people, the 12 dispersed tribes of Israel (James 1:1). And he reminded them that truly godly service is characterized by active love for others and purity in one’s own actions (James 1:27). A great deal was written by James regarding patience, including patience in trial (James 1:2), patience in good deeds (James 1:22-25), patience under provocation (James 3:1-7), patience under oppression (James 5:7), and patience under persecution (James 5:8).
- As he put it, the knowledge that Christ will return to correct all wrongs is the cornerstone of patience.
- A heavenly knowledge was imparted by him.
- When we ask, we must have complete faith in God’s ability to provide what He has promised.
- In his letter to the Corinthians, James wrote: “But let him ask in faith, without questioning, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
- When it comes to sin, James spoke about a matter that was quite important to him.
- Anyone who does not refuse to oppose it, on the other hand, is despised by God.
- It all starts with want, the desire to possess or engage in behavior that we should not possess or engage in.
- As long as we don’t exercise self-control, our cravings will eventually manifest themselves in wicked behavior.
James’ living faith
James was killed in Jerusalem in A.D. 62, not long after he finished writing his epistle. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, James was accused by the high priest and sentenced to death by stoning in the first century AD (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, chap. 9, sec. 1). A fourth-century church historian, Eusebius, provides further information on James’ death. It is stated in this passage that the scribes and Pharisees took James to a public place, the top of one of the temple’s wings, and “demanded that he should renounce his faith in Christ before all the people.” But rather than deny Jesus, James “declared himself fully before the entire multitude, and confessed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, our Savior, and Lord” (Ecclesiastical History, 1995, pp.
He was attacked in the head by one of the others, who was also a fuller, who took the club with which he beat out garments and whacked him in the head.
Despite the fact that he was Jesus’ younger half brother, James struggled for years to believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
James had a life-changing event when he witnessed the death of someone he knew well and subsequently the resurrection of that person.
James came to the realization that Jesus had sacrificed His life for him at long last.
James spoke to us about faith, reminding us that genuine faith is exhibited by our actions, our attitudes, and our way of thinking.
His life and death served as a brilliant example of what it means to live—and die—by one’s faith in the genuine sense of the word.
Of course, that is not the end of the story, for James the Just will be raised to life at the resurrection of the just when Christ comes, and he will continue to follow His brother’s flawless example for the rest of eternity. I hope we can all do the same.