Who Were Jesus’ Brothers?
Those of us who have siblings are well aware of the toll they may have on our ability to remain calm under pressure. I recall thinking as a youngster that I would have sinned significantly less if I had not been given siblings. I was probably right. Of course, knowing me, I would’ve sinned regardless, but I had a strong belief in this idea for many years before I realized it. Our first thoughts aren’t often about Jesus’ brothers and sisters; they’re more typically on Jesus himself. As a result, we tend to think of Jesus as an only child throughout his early years, in a stable and a manger, which makes it easy to overlook that Mary and Joseph had numerous children after Jesus arrives.
This would indicate that they may have had a number of children before Joseph died, if not enough to fill an entire homeschool passenger van.
Are there any of them that we get the chance to meet in the Bible?
Did Jesus Have a Twin?
In a nutshell, no. After the birth of Jesus, the Bible makes it plain that Joseph and Mary did not have sexual relations until after the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:25). Despite this, the belief that Jesus has a twin brother continues to pervade churches today. The notion that Jesus had a twin called “Didymus Judas Thomas” is completely absurd, especially in light of the fact that Joseph and Mary did not engage in sexual intercourse until after the birth of Jesus. Jesus, on the other hand, did not grow up in a family without siblings and sisters.
Let’s have a look at some of the names of Jesus’ brothers and sisters that appear in the Bible.
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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Deborah was a biblical character.
Who was she? Was Moses a historical figure or a mythical one? The Bible tells the story of King Solomon. In the Bible, who was Lot’s wife and what was her name? The Biblical character Jezebel was a woman named Jezebel. Who Was the Prodigal Son, and What Was His Story?
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.
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 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? When was Jesus’ birth commemorated?
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).
What Happened to Jesus’ ‘Brothers’?
Sign up for Christianity Today and you’ll gain instant access to back issues of Christian History! A number of “brothers and sisters” are referenced in the Gospels, but only James and Jude are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament—James as the leader of the early church in Jerusalem, and Jude in the brief epistle that bears his name. See “Mary” for a potential meaning of “brothers and sisters.” According to the Gospel of John, Jesus’ family was first doubtful of his mission: “Even his brothers did not believe in him,” the Gospel reads.
According to Jewish historian Josephus, James led an austere life and was said to have spent so much time in prayer that his knees “were like those of a camel.” He was stoned to death, according to the historian Josephus.
It is unclear whether this James or another wrote the epistle that bears his name.
Jude’s letter to the church, in which he warns about impostors who have infiltrated the church, suggests that he, too, rose to the position of respected church leader, and perhaps traveled around the world witnessing such problems firsthand.
The other disciples
Following the Gospels, the disciples are only briefly mentioned in the New Testament. We have only legends to go on for more specifics, some of which are questionable. Andrew, Peter’s brother, is said to have preached in Asia Minor, Thrace, and Greece before being crucified on an X-shaped cross, according to a tenth-century story. He was recognized as the founder of the church in Constantinople, and he may have had a connection to the development of written language. Congratulations, you have reached the conclusion of this Article Preview.
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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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The Brothers of Jesus: Loving the Unbelieving Relative
“The Brothers of Jesus: Loving the Unbelieving Relative,” a publication from the Society of Jesus. The Ensign, March 1987, page 50 For many of us, we have a father or mother, a husband or wife, a brother or sister, a son or daughter who does not believe in the faith that we hold so dear. However, despite the fact that many sympathetic and useful lectures have been delivered on how to best manage this issue, I have never heard one that sought to explore how the Savior dealt with it in his own family.
- But even from the few instances that have been recorded, as well as from the end consequence of Jesus’ labors with his family, we may gain a great deal of insight.
- The names of the sisters have not been recorded, but the brothers were known by the names James (in Hebrew, Jacob), Joses (in Hebrew, Joseph, after his father), Simon, and Judas or Juda (in Hebrew, Juda) (also known as Jude).
- 13:55; see also Matthew 13:55).
- Although there is no biblical proof for this, it is widely believed.
- Immediately following the wedding at Cana (which, based on the roles played by Mary and Jesus at the feast, was almost certainly a close relative’s wedding), the entire family traveled with Jesus and his early followers to neighboring Capernaum, where they resided for a short period of time.
- “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee,” writes the gospel writer Luke, describing the Savior’s first missionary journey: “And there went out a reputation of him throughout all the surrounding region.
- When he made his accusations, the crowd grew so enraged that they attempted to throw him from the cliff.
- (See Luke 4:16–30 for further information.) In spite of their exposure to his words and acts, “neither his brethren believed in him,” according to the sad fact of the situation.
- He screamed, “A prophet is not without respect in his own nation, and among his own kin, and in his own house,” despite the fact that he had established himself as a prophet and healer whose reputation had become well known across the area because of the Nazarenes’ sarcastic attitude.
- On one occasion, his mother and brothers interrupted a gathering in which he was preaching the gospel, and we may have caught a glimpse of it.
“Then his mother and brothers came to him, but they were prevented from approaching him because of the press.” And he was informed by a source who stated, “Thy mother and brethren are waiting outside, yearning to meet thee.” And he responded by saying, “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (See also Luke 8:19–21.) Some people have interpreted Jesus’ remarks as being harsh.
Although his family did not fully comprehend it at the time, the Savior knew what they did not: that the bonds of faith and covenant are stronger than the bonds of blood, and that his role as eldest son in the family, which they respected, was insignificant when compared to his role as Savior and Redeemer.
Abinadi taught the following about the Christ who would come: “When his soul has been offered as a sacrifice for sin, he will behold his seed.” And now, what are your thoughts?
all those who have heeded their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a forgiveness of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed.” (See Mosiah 15:10–11 for more information.) At Calvary, the Savior’s sadness and anguish at the betrayal of his earthly brethren were portrayed in a far more profound way.
- She also had four more boys, but none of them appeared to be around to console her.
- Only his loving John was near her.
- And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26–27.) But that is not the end of the story.
- Paul relates that after the risen Christ had appeared to Peter, then to the other Apostles, and then to five hundred of the worthy brethren, Jesus appeared also to his brother James.
- 15:5–7.) The details of that reunion are not available to us, but the results are.
- The brothers not only repented, but they became committed servants of Christ—their eldest brother—and eventually powerful leaders in the early church.
- James quickly rose to a position of leadership.
Three years after his conversion, aboutA.D.38, Paul traveled to Jerusalem to meet with a few church leaders.
1:18–19.) At another time during a period of intense persecution, Herod killed James the brother of John and imprisoned Peter.
After describing his escape, Peter instructed them to “go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren.” (Acts 12:7–17.) A few years later, Paul and Barnabus attended a council at Jerusalem concerning Jewish requirements for gentile Christians.
(SeeActs 15:6–31.) Paul, in referring to that event, wrote of “James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars.” (Gal.
Whatever his exact position in the early church government, we treasure James’s general epistle to the church.
In a similar vein, another of the four brothers opens his epistle with “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.” (Jude 1:1.) We know little about Jude except what we learn from his epistle.
(SeeJude 1:5, 7, 14–15.) From his denunciation of certain kinds of apostasy, we also know that his letter was one of the later epistles in the New Testament.
All four brothers, family members who had once looked at Jesus as their elder brother only, were able to accept him as the Lord and the Son of God.
It is true that the Savior’s family was unique.
But in another sense, every converted person who deeply loves his or her unbelieving spouse or relative suffers as Jesus suffered over his faithless brothers.
We must never lose sight of the eternal realities—the worth of each soul, the inviolability of each soul’s agency, and the universality of the plan of salvation.
It is well to remember that those of whom it was once written “Neither did his brethren believe in him” ended by designating themselves servants “of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” So it may be for our Jameses and our Judes, our Sauls and our Almas, and all of their female counterparts.
In a personal, intimate way, Jesus himself suffered so that he is able to succor them that also suffer. (SeeHeb. 2:18;Alma 7:12.)
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.
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).
Who Was James, Jesus’ Brother?
Jesus was born into a large family. Jesus’ brothers are named in Matthew 13:55-56: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, as well as sisters (plural), indicating that He had at least six siblings in all. When Jesus’ brothers are stated, James is usually placed first, which in Jesus’ day most likely implied that he was the oldest of the four brothers. James, also known as Old Camel Knees and James the Just, was the leader of the church in Jerusalem until his brutal murder in AD 62. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/Anyaberkut
What Does the Bible Say about James?
Jesus’ brothers make fun of Him in John 7:1-4. “Because even his own brothers did not trust in him,” says verse 5, explaining the situation. This is at the conclusion of Jesus’ public career, perhaps around six months before his death on the cross. The miracles of Jesus include healing a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years (John 5:2-9), feeding 5,000 men with a boy’s lunch (John 6:5-14), and walking on water (John 6:15). (John 6:16-21). Although he has witnessed miracles for more than two years, James remains skeptical.
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
When Paul travels to Jerusalem less than 10 years later, he meets with two church elders: Peter and James, the brother of Jesus, who are both apostles. Galatians 1:18-19 narrates this occurrence in detail, and Paul refers to James as an apostle, one of a limited group of people who had experienced the risen Christ and whose teaching had authority. James is one of the apostles who witnessed the rising Christ and whose teaching had authority. When Paul comes to Jerusalem 14 years later to settle the question of which Jewish rules apply to Gentile Christians, James is still the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
- An acrimonious and intricate conflict threatens to split the young Church in half.
- He gives people the freedom to express themselves completely, including all of their worries and disagreements.
- The majority of orators of the time flatteried their audiences with flowery compliments, weaved in anecdotes and cultural allusions, and finally came around to hinting to whatever it was that they were trying to get over to their audience.
- God is rescuing both Jews and Gentiles, according to Peter, and he affirms that statement.
- James then makes his final decision, which is a compromise.
- There is no longer any discussion.
- The apostle Paul refers to James as a pillar of the church and a man of high renown in Galatians 2:10, when narrating the tale of the Jerusalem Council in that city.
Additionally, he recalls that when James and the other elders gave their approval for his Gentile mission, the only thing they requested was that he keep the poor’s needs in mind. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/chaiyapruek2520
Jesus’ Brother Was a Radical Advocate
It is a source of great emotion for James, who throughout the Epistle of James frequently calls for justice for the poor. 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.
- “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Hasn’t God selected those who are poor in this world to be wealthy in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised to those who love Him?” (See also James 2:5).
In the first lines of the Epistle of James, just as he did at the Jerusalem Council, James skips over the long-winded pleasantries and blessings and gets right to the heart of the matter. 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 vast majority of Biblical scholars agree that James the brother of Jesus should not be confused with James, the brother of John and the son of Zebedee, who is the son of Zebedee. According to Acts 12:2, James was assassinated just prior to the Jerusalem Council, which was chaired by James the brother of Jesus. It has been suggested that James the brother of Jesus and James the son of Alphaeus, a follower of Jesus’, may be the same person. These academics propose that James is a relative or stepbrother of Jesus in order to explain the discrepancy in their fathers’ surnames.
Although it is plausible, it is improbable given the fact that Jesus’ brothers did not think He was the Messiah. Their ridicule of Jesus in John 7:1-4 was the result of their disbelief, and it came after a series of events in which the 12 disciples were involved.
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.