Did Jesus Have An Older Brother?

Q.  If Mary was a virgin when conceiving Jesus, and Jesus was not the oldest brother, then how do you account for the existence of his brothers and Mary still be virgin?  I know that Mary wasn’t perpetually Virgin like the Catholic church wants us to believe, but If I remember right, the text does say that James was Jesus’ older half-brother.  How can that be accounted for?

A.  I don’t know where you get the idea that James was the Lord’s older brother.  When the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would be giving birth to the son of God, she replied, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34).

There were two disciples named James, neither of whom was the Lord’s brother.  One was the son of Zebedee and brother of John.  The other was the son of Alphaeus. To avoid confusion they were called James the greater and James the lesser.  Some call them James the elder and James the younger, based the Latin translation of the New Testament.  Maybe this is the source of your confusion.

After the Lord’s birth, Mary and Joseph had other sons and daughters (Mark 6:3), and they did name one of their sons James.  He wrote the epistle by his name and was a leader in the early Church (Galatians 1:19).  But Jesus was the family’s first born son.

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