Q. Thank you for your site and countless time’s you have helped me.
My question is I was talking with an inmate at the local prison and he does not believe that Jesus had any brothers or sisters I told him about the time he was in the house and some one called out and said Jesus your mother and brothers are here. But the man I’m talking with said no it has a totally different meaning that I could not understand from him. Is there some thing that will be clear and simple for him?
A. The man must have a Catholic background. Many Catholics have been taught that Mary remained a virgin all of her life, and that verses like the one you quoted and those below actually refer to other kinds of relatives such as cousins, not to siblings. Others say they were Joseph’s children from a previous marriage. There’s no Scriptural support for any of this. It’s based solely on Catholic tradition.
Upon hearing Jesus teach the crowd said, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us?” (Matt. 13:55-56). There are several other passages that confirm Jesus had both brothers and sisters.
And in chapter 7 of his gospel, John wrote, “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.” (John 7:5)
There’s no reason to doubt that these verses refer to other offspring of Mary and Joseph.