Did Jesus have a brother?Posted: June 17, 2018
My take? Yes! Definitely, sounds like he had some sisters too!
This isn’t that hard. Mark 6:
6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
We’ve been talking about Mark, and how the evidence is compelling that it is probably the oldest record we have of a guy who lived and taught sometime around years now marked 1-30 AD named Jesus.
Mark says that guy had brothers and sisters.
The Greek word used is (I’m told) adelphos.
In Paul’s Letters, written sometime after this Jesus was executed, he mentions Jesus’ brother.
In a number of other early Christian sources, there are discussions of Jesus’ brothers.
Why is it a problem that Jesus had brothers, maybe sisters too?
Unless having brothers and sisters like a human of his time screws up what you think you’re supposed to believe about Jesus God status.
The Catholic and Orthodox churches are determined to insist that Mary was a perpetual virgin who never had sex.
That seems twisted and conjured up out of nowhere. When I hear that I’m like ok I think maybe you guys are a little weird about sex.
You can ponder and explore for yourself why the theologians cooked up that one. I’m sure there’s whole shelves in the Catholic libraries about it. It matters enough that you find scholars twisting themselves into pretzels about the meanings of different words for brother in 1st century Greek and Aramaic.
But hey, maybe they really were his cousins!
Well, if you are trying to get back to primary sources about a historical Jesus, and what that guy actually said, and what he was like, and possible brothers, or cousins so close they used the same word to describe them, that’s something.
Of the brothers, James comes up the most in early Christian history. What this James believed Jesus was up to is too big a question for us today.
What I can tell you about James’ views is that he and Paul did not see eye to eye.
Interesting to me, because it suggests you could be a Jesusist without being a Paulist.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions cites Romans 13.
Jesus, it’s easy to forget, was arrested and executed for causing trouble for the authorities.
Discussion question for brunch:
Which characters in the New Testament remind you most of the Attorney General and the President? Do you like those characters?
Have a joyful Sunday everyone! (We welcome your letters btw! I know we got some Bible scholars out there who can school me!)