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).
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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How many siblings did Jesus have?
QuestionAnswer Two verses in the Bible provide us with information on Jesus’ brothers and sisters. “When he returned to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were astounded.” Matthew 13:54–57 states that the people were amazed. What they wanted to know was, “Where did this man receive this intelligence and these incredible powers?” ‘Isn’t this the son of the carpenter? What if his mother’s name is Mary, and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas aren’t named the same as him?
- ‘So, where did this man obtain all of these things?’ I wondered.
- ‘The brother of James,’ according to Jude 1:1, is the epistle’s author and subject.
- It is likely that both James and Jude (Judas) were among the group of siblings who were initially humiliated by their elder brother’s bold notoriety and then came to take Him home to their parents (Matthew 12:46).
- However, after seeing Jesus’ resurrection, His siblings became devout followers of the Lord.
- Another school of thought holds that the allusions to Jesus’ siblings merely relate to the fact that Joseph had children of his own prior to his marriage to Mary.
- Both theories, on the other hand, lack scriptural foundation, and there is no logical reason to assume that the siblings identified by name in Scripture were not the biological children of both Mary and Joseph.
- Questions about Matthew (return to top of page) How many brothers and sisters did Jesus have?
How Many Brothers and Sisters Did Jesus Have?
When it came to Joseph and Mary’s household in Nazareth, who was there? Are we to believe that Jesus was an only child in the family, or if there were brothers and sisters, what was their status in regard to Him? His siblings and sisters are frequently mentioned by the gospel authors. What were the names of Jesus’ siblings? This is a matter that has been debated since the beginning of time, and many lengthy writings have been published on the subject. Due to theological reasons related to the perpetual virginity of the Lord’s mother, denominational difficulties, and the canonicity of non-apostolic epistles, it has been difficult to have an objective discussion on the subject.
Assuming that we will ignore them for the time being, and that we will refrain from making any wild assumptions, let us endeavor to put the topic in its more significant aspects fairly before us.
Bible Verses about Jesus’ Brother and Sisters
Let us begin by summarizing what we know about the brothers and sisters of the Lord from the Scriptures of the New Testament. Their names are found in Matthew 12:46-50, 13:55-56, Mark 3:31, 6:3, and Luke 8:19, as well as John 2:12, 7:3, Acts 1:14, and 1 Corinthians 9:5, and Paul refers to a James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19). There appear to have been four brothers who are listed in Matthew 13:55: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, according to the evidence (seeMark 6:3). The sisters are mentioned in Matthew and Mark, although neither the number nor the names of the sisters are recorded.
- They were reportedly married and living in Nazareth at the time of Christ’s death.
- They are first described as traveling to Capernaum with His mother and Himself (John 2:12).
- Most claim that they were converted to Christianity as a result of His resurrection, since they appear in the company of the Apostles (Acts 1:14).
- The following is an adaptation of The Life of Our Lord on the Earth by Samuel James Andrews.
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 Brothers and Sisters?
The marriage of God and Mary that resulted in the birth of Jesus was the outcome of a supernatural union. At the time of Jesus’ conception, she was still a virgin. Some believe that Mary was a virgin during her whole life, and that this is correct. According to this interpretation, Jesus would have been an only child. The Scriptures, on the other hand, reveal that Jesus had siblings and sisters of his own. Matthew’s Statements Earliest and foremost, the first chapter of Matthew provides the first evidence that Mary was not a virgin after the birth of Jesus.
- He had never had sexual intercourse with her and was well aware that the child was not his biological child.
- And he didn’t know her until she gave birth to a son, whom he called Jesus, according to what we’re told later (Matthew 1:25).
- As a result, this verse presents a compelling case against any notion of Mary’s permanent virginity.
- While he was still speaking to the throngs of people,.
- His assertions caused the people in His hometown of Nazareth to get enraged, we are informed on yet another occasion.
- “And aren’t his sisters here with us?” I inquire.
- There are three possible solutions to the mystery of who Jesus’ brothers and sisters are.
- There are three possible outcomes to consider.
- As a result of a prior marriage, there were children born to Mary and Joseph after Jesus was born, resulting in His younger brothers and sisters (natural half-brothers and sisters)
- These were the offspring of Joseph from that previous marriage (step-brothers and sisters). This was the point of view of Epiphanius, a fourth-century supporter of Mary’s everlasting virginity who held this belief. It was also the point of view of the classical scholar Jerome at the time. The famous scholar Joseph Barber Lightfoot, among others, has defended this point of view in modern times, stating that they were cousins of Jesus rather than genuine brothers and sisters. They were the sons of Cleopas, who was purportedly Joseph’s brother or brother-in-law
- They were the sons of Cleopas
- And they were the sons of Joseph.
The manner in which they are labeled is one of the reasons why some people feel they were not the offspring of Joseph and Mary. According to Mark 6:3, Jesus is referred to as the “Son of Mary,” and he is distinguished from the other named brothers as well as the other female siblings. In the Upper Room, There Was a Dispute Among those present in the upper chamber were “Mary, Jesus’ mother, and. his brothers” (Acts 1:14). They were referred to as Hisbrothers rather than her sons in this context.
SummaryJesus had four brothers and at least two sisters, according to the gospels.
Though no one can be certain of the facts, it is reasonable to assume that the allusions to his younger brothers and sisters were made by him in the context of his genuine younger brothers and sisters.
Later on, however, they rose to prominence as church leaders, with two of them (James and Jude) penning letters that were eventually included in the New Testament as a result of their efforts.
However, there is no way to know for definite. What is known, however, is that the Bible does not rule out the possibility that Jesus had siblings and sisters who were born to Joseph and Mary, as some scholars believe.
Did Jesus Have Brothers and Sisters? by Don Stewart
Question 15: Do you believe in the existence of Jesus Christ? The marriage of God and Mary that resulted in the birth of Jesus was the outcome of a supernatural union. At the time of Jesus’ conception, she was still a virgin. Some believe that Mary lived her entire life as a virgin, despite the fact that she married twice. According to this interpretation, Jesus would have been an only child. The Scriptures, on the other hand, reveal that Jesus had siblings and sisters of his own.
1. The Testimony of Matthew: Mary Did Not Remain a Virgin
Earliest and foremost, the first chapter of Matthew provides the first evidence that Mary was not a virgin after the birth of Jesus. When Joseph learned that Mary was expecting a child, he made the decision to quietly divorce her from the rest of the family. He had never had sexual intercourse with her and was well aware that the child was not his biological child. However, in a dream, an angel appeared to Joseph and informed him that his wife’s pregnancy had been brought about by God, through the Holy Spirit.
And he gave Him the name Jesus.
As a result, this verse presents a compelling case against any notion of Mary’s permanent virginity.
Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters
Aside from that, Scripture bears witness to the fact that Joseph and Mary had additional children who were brothers and sisters to Jesus. We are told that Jesus’ brothers accompanied Him and His mother to Capernaum after this: “After this, He went down to Capernaum with His mother, His brothers, and His disciples, and they only stayed there for a few days,” the Bible says. The HCSB version of John 2:12 is a paraphrase. This occurred after they had attended a wedding at Cana of Galilee, where Jesus had been speaking.
The story goes that He was still speaking to the throng when His mother and brothers appeared outside, asking to speak with Him.
In fact, anybody who carries out the will of My heavenly Father is considered to be My brother, sister, and mother.” (12:46-50, HCSB) Matthew 12:46-50, HCSB In the Bible, it is stated unequivocally that Jesus had siblings and sisters.
2. The People at Nazareth Acknowledge Jesus’ Family
The people in His hometown of Nazareth became enraged when He claimed to be the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and we are told that His sisters were present when He made this claim: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” They were offended by him, to say the least.
(Mark 6:3 New Revised Standard Version) They were well acquainted with His family. Four brothers and at least two sisters are mentioned by the audience. As a result, we discover that Jesus had sisters in addition to brothers in his family.
3. Jesus’ Brothers Did Not Initially Believe in Him
Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him when He was on the earth, according to the gospel of John. As a result of what He wrote, His brothers told Him, “Leave here and travel to Judea so that Your followers might witness the deeds that You are performing.” Nobody does anything in secret when he’s attempting to get public notoriety, and that includes the president. If you perform these things, you will be able to demonstrate Yourself to the rest of the world.” (Because not even His own brothers had faith in Him.) (Hosea 7:3-5, HCSB) His siblings did not believe in Him at that point in time.
4. His Brothers Believe in Him after His Resurrection
All of this altered as a result of His resurrection from the grave. It has been reported that Jesus appeared to His brother James in the wilderness. After then, He was seen by James, and then by the rest of the apostles, according to Paul. (1 Corinthians 15:7 New King James Version) When we arrive on the Day of Pentecost, we find His brethren eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Holy Spirit’s power. According to the Bible, they all gathered together in prayer on a consistent basis, alongside the ladies and Mary, Jesus’ mother, as well as with his brothers.
This is most likely an indication that Jesus appeared to them in some way.
5. James Becomes a Leader in the Church
James rose to the position of active leader in the church. In reality, he served as the spiritual leader of the church in Jerusalem. He presided over a council that was assembled in Jerusalem at the time of his death. This is what we read about in the Book of Acts: After that, there was no more dispute, and everyone listened intently as Barnabas and Paul related the amazing signs and wonders that God had performed through them among the Gentiles. When they were finished, James stood up and said, “Brothers, pay attention to what I’m saying.” (Acts 15:12,13 New International Version) Paul made reference to James in one of his letters: “Three years later, I traveled to Jerusalem to pay a visit to Peter, where I remained with him for fifteen days.” The only other apostle I saw was James, the Lord’s brother, who was the only other apostle I saw.
- Paul writes in Galatians 1:18–19CEV: James was referred to as a “pillar of the church” by Paul, who equated his power to that of the apostles Peter and John.
- The backbone of the church, it is said, is comprised of these gentlemen.
- This was done to demonstrate that we were willing to collaborate with Gentiles and that they were willing to collaborate with Jews.
- According to James, “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes that are spread abroad,” he wrote Greetings.
- To everyone who has been selected and loved by God the Father, and who has been protected by Jesus Christ.
‘For whomever performs the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother,’ says Jesus. (Matthew 12:50 New Revised Standard Version) As a result, their connection with Jesus, following His resurrection, was founded on their faith in Him rather than on their blood relationship.
6. There Are Three Views As to the Identity of Jesus’ Brothers and Sisters
In the first place, who were these real-life Jesus brothers and sisters? There are three different perspectives on their identities that have gained popularity. The following are the details.
View 1: They Were Younger Brothers and Sisters of Jesus
According to the first point of view, Mary and Joseph had children after Jesus was born to them. As a result, His younger siblings and sisters were the four brothers and two sisters that were described in the passage (natural half-brothers and sisters). This is, without a doubt, the most natural and straightforward approach to comprehending the entirety of the New Testament evidence. In the book of Luke, we learn the following regarding Jesus’ birth: “She gave birth to her first-born son.” There was no space in the inn for them, so she clothed him in baby clothes and lay him on a bed of hay to keep him comfortable.
While the term “firstborn” can refer to someone who is the most prominent, it can also refer to someone who is the first in time.
The fact that Mary and Joseph had children of their own after the birth of Jesus is compatible with all of the available evidence.
The Argument from Jesus’ Kingship
Additionally, it has been asserted that because of Jesus’ claim to David’s kingdom, He could not have had elder brothers and sisters. Jesus had to be the oldest son in order to be legally recognized as the lawful successor to the throne of David. This is a good way to convey the current situation.
The Promise to David
The promise made to King David was that his descendants would rule over Israel in perpetuity. This is mentioned in the First Chronicles. According to the Bible, “But the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘You have shed a great lot of blood and fought many wars.'” You are not permitted to construct a shrine in my honor since you have poured a huge lot of blood on the earth in front of me. Look, you’re going to have a boy who will grow up to be a calm guy. I will protect him from all of his adversaries from every direction.
- He will construct a shrine in my honor; he will be adopted as my son, and I will be adopted as his father.
- Through King David’s son Solomon, Matthew opens his gospel by tracing the lineage of Jesus Christ back to the beginning of time: This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David and the son of Abraham, as recorded in the Bible.
- David was the father of Solomon, and Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.
- Despite the fact that Mary was a descendant of David through David’s son Nathan, she was not a member of the royal line.
- Because the family of Joseph was the royal line, Jesus had to have been the eldest son of Joseph in terms of legal succession.
It is for this reason that Joseph was unable to have children from a prior marriage. The eldest son of that union would have been the legitimate successor to the kingdom if the situation had been reversed.
View 2: They Were Children of Joseph from a Previous Marriage
It has been speculated that the brothers and sisters who are listed were offspring of Joseph from a prior marriage, according to certain scholars (step-brothers and sisters). Consequently, Jesus would have been four years older than the boys and at least two years older than the sisters. One of the reasons why some people feel they were not the children of Joseph and Mary is because of the manner they are identified in a handful of different places.
Jesus Is the Son of Mary
In Mark 6:3, the Bible says Jesus is referred to as the ‘Son of Mary,’ and he is differentiated from the other brothers and sisters who are also mentioned. However, the reason that He is referred to as Mary’s Son may be owing to the fact that Joseph, Mary’s husband, was no longer living at the time of His birth. That the other brothers and sisters were offspring of Joseph from a prior marriage is not implied by the evidence in any way.
They Are Called Jesus’ Brothers
“Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers” were present in the upper room (Acts 1:14). Here they were called His brothers, not her sons. Again, this has led some to speculate that they were sons of Joseph from a previous marriage. This designation, on the other hand, could simply be a way of distinguishing them from the rest of Jesus’ disciples. The fact that they were not Mary’s children does not necessarily rule out the possibility that they were. Epiphanius, a fourth century defender of the perpetual virginity of Mary, held the view that these were Joseph’s children from a previous marriage.
Modern defenders of this view include the great scholar Joseph Barber Lightfoot.
If Joseph had sons older than Jesus, the eldest would be the legitimate heir.
View 3: They Were Cousins Of Jesus, Not Brothers And Sisters
There has also been the suggestion that the brothers and sisters that are listed were really relatives of Jesus, rather than His actual siblings and sisters, which has been challenged. They were the sons of Cleopas, who was purportedly a brother or brother-in-law of Joseph, according to the biblical narrative. As evidence for this claim, look no farther than the use of the term ‘brother’ in Hebrew and Aramaic. In the Old Testament, the term “brother” is used to refer to close relatives: After this conversation, Abram said to his nephew Lot, “Let us not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are brothers.” (Genesis 13:8 New International Version) Lot was actually Abraham’s nephew, according to legend.
(Genesis 14:16 New International Version) Jesus would be recognized as the firstborn Son of Joseph and the legitimate successor to the throne of David if this belief were to prevail.
While this is a theoretical possibility, there is nothing in Scripture to suggest that Jesus’ brothers and sisters were in fact His cousins, as some have suggested.
Which Solution Is Correct?
Despite the fact that all three answers have been proposed as viable, the conventional viewpoint is the only one that is consistent with the scriptural evidence. Consequently, we might assume that Jesus had biological siblings and sisters who were the biological children of Mary and Joseph.
Summary – Question 15Did Jesus Have Brothers and Sisters?
The New Testament claims that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was born to Mary, a virgin, as recorded in the Bible. The New Testament makes it plain that Jesus was not Joseph’s biological son, despite the fact that she was married to him at the time. However, because Joseph adopted Jesus, He was considered to be the legal son of Joseph, though not biologically. As a result, Jesus possessed all of the necessary qualifications to serve as the promised Messiah. According to the Scriptures, Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters in addition to his parents.
- Throughout the history of the church, there have been three widely accepted viewpoints.
- His actual younger brothers and sisters, as well as the offspring of Joseph and Mary, are the most obvious context in which to understand the references.
- There is something more that should be recognized and appreciated.
- Being the oldest son of Joseph would have provided Jesus with the necessary qualifications to fulfill his prophecy of coming as the anticipated Messiah.
- Another reason to believe that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were born to Joseph and Mary after Jesus was born is the fact that they were born after Jesus was born.
- As a result, Joseph was a widower at the time of his marriage to Mary.
- According to a different point of view, they were relatives of Jesus.
- The oldest Son of Joseph and Mary, and therefore legally in line for the kingdom, is permitted under this perspective, but there is no basis for concluding that this is what the gospel authors meant when they spoke of Jesus’ siblings and sisters.
- As a result, Jesus would have had the necessary qualifications to be recognized as the prophesied Messiah.
Did Jesus have “blood” brothers and sisters?
This concern arises because the gospels make frequent references to our Lord’s “brothers” and “sisters.” According to the English version of the Gospel of St. Mark provided by the New American Bible, the throng does indeed inquire: “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, as well as Judas and Simon?” “Aren’t his sisters our next-door neighbors?” (Matthew 6:3). A similar passage may be seen earlier in Mark 3:31 — “His mother and brothers came to see him.” The difficulty arises while attempting to comprehend the meaning of the wordbrother.
- Adelphos, on the other hand, does not just refer to blood brothers who were born to the same parents.
- Other types of connections, such as cousins, nephews, and uncles, were also described by the term.
- Another example is Laban, who was anadelphosto Jacob, but not as a brother, but as an uncle, according to the Torah.
- The same is true for the wordister in Greek, which has the same meaning.
- Actually, the misconception stems from the languages of Hebrew and Aramaic, which were the languages of most of the original Old Testament manuscripts as well as the language of Christ.
- When the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament was written in Greek, the wordadelphoswas employed to capture all of these connotations for male relations in the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively.
- On the whole, there is a misunderstanding in English because of the lack of specific terminology for relatives in both Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as because the Greek adelphos is used to refer to all of these relationships.
Mary of Cleophas had two sons, James and Joses, who were named after her (Mark 15:40).
Judas was the son of James (not one of the apostles), and he was a traitor (Luke 6:16).
The sons of Zebedee, James the greater and John, had a mother other than our Blessed Mother Mary, who was their grandmother (Matthew 20:20ff).
Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38).
Always, and only, does it allude to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but always to the “son of Mary.” This argument is reinforced once again during the crucifixion scene, when our Lord says to Mary, “Woman, there is your son,” and then to St.
” According to Jewish law, the oldest son was responsible for caring for his widowed mother, and if something occurred to the first born son, the burden would be passed on to the next oldest son.
Joseph had passed away by this point.
John, the Beloved Disciple.
Joseph was a widower who had other children before he met and married Mary.
Perhaps it is because of this belief that St.
Actually, this entire state of misunderstanding is nothing new.
“A unique, evil, and audacious assault on the religion of the entire globe,” according to St.
Jerome utilized Scripture as well as the writings of the fathers such as Saints Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr to oppose Helvidius in his work On the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin.
This belief is founded on Sacred Scripture and Tradition.
How to Respond When People Say Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters
From the early days following the Resurrection, the Church has held that Mary was a perpetual virgin and that Jesus did not have any biological brothers or sisters, as was traditionally thought. The carpenter, son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, is this not the carpenter, and are his sisters with us?” “Are his sisters among us?” —Matthew 6:3 Is it possible that Jesus had siblings and sisters? Some people believe that the Gospel of Mark appears to support their claim.
- The subject is brought up once more in Luke 8:19-21.
- “Your mother and brothers are gathered outside, waiting to meet you,” the mob exclaims loudly.
- “Can you tell me who my mother and brothers are?” he inquires.
- On his blog, biblical historian James Tabor provides the names of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon, as well as Mary and Salome, according to some sources.
- So where did Catholics obtain the concept that Mary never had sexual relations or had any other children of her own?
- What is your brother’s name?
- We Christians are all “brothers in Christ,” as the phrase goes.
- The same is true in the Scriptures as well.
Consider the following verse from Genesis 13:8: For this reason, Abram replied to Lot, “Let us not have any quarrels among ourselves or between your herders and mine, for we are brothers.” Despite the fact that Abraham and Lot are not biological siblings, the title “brother” is used to describe them since they are uncle and nephew.
- Without a doubt, Paul was not attempting to make the assertion that Mary had given birth to more than 500 children!
- What occurred to the Twelve following the Resurrection of Christ is known to us from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, as well as from historical documents.
- We know how they died, and we know where they are laid to rest.
- Nope, not a thing, zilch.
- As he lay dying, Jesus handed Mary over to John the Baptist.
- And then he turned to face John and said, “Behold your mother.” And it was at that point that the disciple welcomed her into his house (John 19:26-27).
- And wouldn’t they have taken on the task of caring for their mother by welcoming her into their own homes?
Another clue: The “brothers” of Jesus mentioned in John 2:1 and Acts 1:14 are never referred to as Mary’s offspring, despite the fact that Jesus himself is.
There is yet more reason, though, to conclude that Mary did not have any further children after Joseph and Mary.
Consider the promise made by Jesus, who said that he would send the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, to lead his Church and keep her safe from error.
However, we do have Christ’s promise that he would be with us forever, until the end of time.
Mary was thought to be a perpetual virgin from the very beginning of the Church’s belief in the Resurrection, and Jesus was believed to have no biological brothers or sisters from his birth.
Saint Joseph was an elderly widower with children, according to the Protoevangelium, and he had been selected by the angel Gabriel to be Mary’s spouse in order to care and protect Mary while also observing her vow of virginity.
Many people in the Orthodox Church now consider this to be true as well.
383 wrote: “You assert that Mary did not continue a virgin: I claim even more than Joseph himself, on account of Mary being a virgin, so that from a virgin marriage a virgin son was born.” And in the following century, Pope St.
Who Were the Brothers and Sisters of Jesus?
Now we’ll take a look at Jesus’ brothers and sisters and see what the Bible has to say about each of them.
In the Book of Exodus, we learn about the 10 plagues that God inflicted on the stubborn Egyptians in order to rescue the Hebrews from their oppressive rule. The plagues were terrible: water that turned to blood, locusts, gnats, and darkness, to mention a few examples of what was happening. The tenth plague, the last of the plagues, was the most terrible of them all. Because of this, God issued a fair warning: “I will send one more plague onto Pharaoh and upon Egypt.” After that, he will release you from his custody.
All firstborn in Egypt will perish, from Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl who is working at a handmill, as well as all of the firstborn of the animals, according to this prophecy.
(12:12, for example) And thus it came to pass that the firstborn in the country of Egypt was murdered – both humans and beasts alike, it seemed.
3:13; et cetera) A procedure that God devised would be used to accomplish this task, in which the firstborn son of every marriage would need to be “redeemed” (committed) to God; therefore the name of the ritual, The Redemption of the First Born Son.or Pidyon Haben as it is known to modern-day Jews, is derived.
Unless the firstborn child is born to a male, the ritual is not performed: “Consecrate to me every firstborn; whatsoever opens the womb among the Israelites, whether of human being or beast, belongs to me.” It is necessary for you to ransom every human firstborn of your sons.” (Exodus 13:2 and 13) As a result of Jesus’ dedication to God at the age of thirty days, we can be certain that he had no older sisters or brothers: “When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord”!
(Lk 2:22-23; cf.
When it comes to younger siblings, this is also ineffective. When Jesus was dying on the cross and “seeing his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, look, here is your son,'” he said to his mother. Then he turned to the disciple and said, ‘Look, here is your mother.’ As a result, the disciple accepted her into his house from that point on” (Jn 19:26-27). According to Jewish tradition, younger siblings are expected to care for their parents after their elder siblings have passed away.
What’s the deal with John?
Perhaps he was the “one whom Jesus loved,” as the saying goes (Jn 13:23).
Then there’s Mary, who was described as having given birth to “her firstborn son” (Lk 2:7).
As a way of giving freely, Jesus declares, “Everything that the Father has is mine.” “For this reason, I told you that he will take from what is mine and disclose it to you” (Jn 16:15). Because “the Father and I are one,” as the saying goes (Jn 10:30).
Siblings By Name
So, who exactly are those brothers and sisters who are listed by name as belonging to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark? It is the carpenter who is being referred to, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon. “Aren’t His sisters our neighbors here,” says Jesus in Mark 6:3. For Father William Saunders, “the mistake arises in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of most authentic Old Testament passages as well as the language of Christ.” Because there was no unique term for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother in these languages, they had to rely on the word brother or a “circumlocution,” such as “The son of Paul’s sister” (Acts 23:16), which clearly indicates that Paul’s nephew is being addressed.
“When the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament was written in Greek, the wordadelphoswas chosen to encompass all of these connotations,” Fr.
Consequently, we must consider the context in which the title is being utilized in each instance.” For instance, when Spanish-speaking individuals (or French-speaking people) talk about their parents, they use the word “my padres” (“mes parents” in French), which means “my parents.” When they refer to aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives, the word “mis padres”/”mes parents” is still used.
The Gospels provide further clarification on the aforementioned “siblings.” Mary of Clopas had two sons, James and Joses, who were related to each other (Mk 15:40).
James the Lesser was the younger brother of Alphaeus (Lk 6:15).
But why these four in particular?
They all unanimously declared Symeon, the son of Clopas, whom the Gospel also mentions, to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish,” Eusebius writes in his Church History when describing the process of selecting someone to replace James (the head of the Church in Jerusalem), who had been martyred.
Clopas was Joseph’s brother, according to Hegesippus, who writes this.” So… Uncle Clopas was a relative of Jesus!
And then there’s this.
Symeon, the son of the Lord’s uncle, Clopas, was the next bishop.
The Founders of the Protestant Reformation
Mary’s permanent virginity was upheld even by the three fathers of the Reformation – Martin Luther, Hulrych Zwingli, and John Calvin — all of whom were committed to the doctrine. “Christ.was the sole Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary carried no other children save Him,” according to Martin Luther. “Brothers” truly means ‘cousins’ in this context, because the Bible and the Jews usually refer to cousins as brothers.” (Sermons on John, chapters 1-4, 1537-39; Sermons on John, chapters 1-4, 1539) Quoted from Zwingli: “To deny that Mary was protected by God before, during, and after the birth of her Son would be to disbelieve God’s power.
God saw Mary as superior to all other creatures, even saints and angels, since it was her purity, innocence, and unwavering faith that mankind was called upon to emulate.
On the subject of Mary’s continuous virginity, there is an especially strong emphasis.” The following is taken from John Calvin: “He claims that she was Jesus’ mother’s sister, and in doing so, he employs the phraseology of the Hebrew language, which encompasses cousins and other relatives under the term ‘brothers’.” Despite the fact that many of the Early Church Fathers wrote and preached about Mary’s perpetual virginity, the great St.
Augustine is credited with having said it best: “It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator, who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created.” A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin carrying, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin giving birth, and a Virgin perpetuating are all examples of virginity.
“What is it about this that you are perplexed about, O man?” (Sermons 186, verse 1)