Did Jesus Have Siblings?

Jesus Had Brothers and Sisters

“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55).

The Bible teaches that Jesus did have brothers and sisters. Matthew 12:46-47 and Mark 3:31-32 tell of a time when Jesus was teaching the people and that Mary and His brothers stood outside the crowd, desiring to talk with Him.

The Jews had a difficult time accepting Jesus in Nazareth because He was one of them; He had grown up in their midst. In Matthew 13:55 they say: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas?”

They were partly correct. He was Mary’s son and He was the brother of the four men listed, but He was not the son of the carpenter. This event is also recorded in Mark 6:3.

The Meaning of “Brethren”

The Bible tells us in John 7:5 even Jesus’ brothers rejected Him at the beginning of His ministry:  “For neither did his brethren believe in him.” The word “brethren” here must refer to His physical brothers. it could not refer to His spiritual brothers because they did not believe in Him.

However, God’s Word later tells us His brothers did finally accept Jesus as their Savior. Acts 1:14 states that as the disciples waited in the upper room in Jerusalem, they were joined by Mary and Jesus’ brothers.”These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

One of Jesus’ brothers’ even became an apostle: “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19).


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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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