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jenny

Did Jesus have any siblings?

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How do we know Jesus didn't have any other siblings? I was reading the Bible and I read the chapter Jesus' Mother and Brothers, Mark 3:31-35, it says "Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, 'Your mothers and brothers are outside looking for you.' 'Who are my mother and brothers?' He asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.'" First of all the chapter is called Jesus' mother and brothers, why would they call it that when they could say Jesus' mother and disciples? Or is it called that because Jesus says everyone there is his brothers and mothers, and it's named after them. Also, Jesus tells them that everyone who does God's will is his brother or sister after they call those people his brothers. So why would Jesus say that the others were his brothers and sisters when, if they called those people his brothers, but they weren't, they must believe that others can be his brothers without having the same blood. So if that's true, Jesus is teaching them a lesson they already know. Obviously by them saying that those men are his brothers, they must know that those are his actual brothers, if Jesus teaches them that the people who aren't his blood relatives can be his brothers, that means that they must not have believed that and thought that only they were his brothers because they were his brothers by blood. Sorry this is kind of confusing, it's hard to put these thoughts into words, hopefully you can understand this. I am fine with the teaching, and I believe it if the church does, it's just I want to know where we get the information supporting our belief that Mary didn't have other children, and I want to understand it as much as possible, so then I can come to truly believe it and not have any doubts. This chapter has definitely made me think about this belief, and I'd like to know what you guys think.

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Great question Jenny, I’ve bashed heads with a guy over this same part in the Bible. What I found out was that Mark writes this book with a Jewish accent if you will. In the Jewish language there is know word for cousin, Aunt, or Uncle so the term brother was used for all relatives. In verses 31-35 they they are talking about Jesus’ relatives then. He takes the chance to teach them that you don’t need to be related by blood to be his brother. This is why we can call each other brothers and sisters in Christ. Not that we share his blood but that we share his mission in doing the will of the father. 

As to Mary not having anymore Children. People question this a lot and will pull out Matthew 1: 25 “He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and named him Jesus.” But what a lot of people don't know is that in the Jewish right there is a special right for a virgin to be married yet still be a consecrated virgin as long as the husband agrees. In light of this right we can be sure that Mary chose this option as she was already a consecrated virgin and to go any other way would potentially violate her consecration. If I remember correctly what it means by having no relations until the child was born is that even though they did the virginal marriage Joseph lived with Mary more as brother and sister then as a married couple until Jesus was born.

hoped this helped if anything is still unclear let me know and I will do my best to clear it up!

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Great question! We never need to approach scripture as a "threat" to any part of our faith.

Here is an article that delves deeper into the points that Cole made in response: https://www.catholic.com/tract/brethren-of-the-lord

Specifically, it highlights the use of "brother" in Biblical Greek as a broader word that can refer to other male relatives.

Your question does lead to another one, though, which is worth thinking about: What does it mean that we are brothers and sisters to Jesus? How does it happen? Can we point to a time and place in our lives when that became real for us?

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