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Did Jesus have brothers and sisters?

The gospel of Matthew records people wondering about Jesus: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:55-56). And: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses (Joseph) and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3). Did Jesus really have siblings?

Yes, Jesus had brothers and sisters

The short answer is, yes, the Bible shows that Jesus had brothers and sisters. Actually these were his half-siblings since Jesus was born in the family of Joseph and Mary, but Joseph was not his biological father. Jesus was conceived from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20) and did not have a human biological father.

References in the Bible

John 2:12; John 7:1–10; and Acts 1:14 contain references to Jesus’ (half-)siblings. Paul refers to the brothers of the Lord in 1 Corinthians 9:5, probably meaning His actual brothers. Paul identifies James as the Lord’s brother in Galatians 1:19. His four brothers are mentioned by name, but His sisters are not named at all. So Jesus had actual blood siblings. There is no biblical reason to believe that these siblings are anything other than the actual children of Joseph and Mary.

The brothers of Jesus wrote Bible books

The New Testament letters of James and Jude are attributed to brothers of Jesus. James names himself in the salutation of the letter (James 1:1), but he does not identify himself as Jesus’ brother. Jude identifies himself as the brother of James (Jude 1:1). The only direct references to Jesus’ two other brothers Joseph (Greek: ‘Joses’) and Simon are in Matthew 13:53-55 and Mark 6:3. Jesus’ brothers and sisters are not mentioned until after the Lord began His ministry and are first mentioned as going with His mother and Himself to Capernaum (John 2:12).

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Read more Should we pray to Mary?

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Roel Velema

Roel Velema, 1949, came to Christ at the age of 19 through the ministry of the Navigators. Though retired, Roel worked as an actuarial analyst with several insurance companies in the Netherlands. Roel is a close student of the Bible and hosts his weblog at Roel is a chatter with GlobalRize. In the local church he serves in a team to the elderly people and as a translator of English. He and his wife have four children and seven grandchildren

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