Are John and James the brothers of Christ?


#1

Mat 13:54-57 “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this [man] this wisdom, and [these] mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this [man] all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”

Mar 6:1-4 “And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Luk 5:10 “And so [was] also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

Mar 1:16-19 “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the [son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.”

Mar 10:35-41 “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, **Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. ** But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard [it], they began to be much displeased with James and John.”.

Mat 20:20-24 “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping [him], and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, **Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. ** But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father. And when the ten heard [it], they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.”

Mat 27:56-58 “Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.”

Mar 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;


#2

[quote=rhymer2]Mat 13:54-57 “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this [man] this wisdom, and [these] mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this [man] all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”

Mar 6:1-4 “And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Luk 5:10 “And so [was] also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”

Mar 1:16-19 “Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the [son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.”

Mar 10:35-41 “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, **Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. ** But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard [it], they began to be much displeased with James and John.”.

Mat 20:20-24 “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping [him], and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, **Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. ** But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father. And when the ten heard [it], they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.”

Mat 27:56-58 “Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.”

Mar 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
[/quote]

Why do you ask that question when you have answered it by quoting from scripture that they are the sons of Zebedee.
Jesus had no blood brothers or sisters as Mary was ever virgin.


#3

thistle’s

Jesus had no blood brothers or sisters as Mary was ever virgin.

Can you prove that scripturally? These were the sons of Mary and Joseph.


#4

[quote=rhymer2]thistle’s

Can you prove that scripturally? These were the sons of Mary and Joseph.
[/quote]

Where does it say James and John were the sons of Mary and Joseph. Scripture, as you rightly quoted, states they are the sons of Zebedee or are you implying that Zebedee is a nickname for Mary or Joseph??


#5

This is truely a debate that will continue until we all know when we get to heaven.
The best arguement, in my view, that the Catholics have is that Jesus gave Mary to John while he was on the cross. If there were other siblings there would have been no reason for that to occur.


#6

[quote=SolaChristo]This is truely a debate that will continue until we all know when we get to heaven.
The best arguement, in my view, that the Catholics have is that Jesus gave Mary to John while he was on the cross. If there were other siblings there would have been no reason for that to occur.
[/quote]

I agree with that.
I’m still curious though to know why rhmer2 says they are the sons of Mary and Jospeph when even the scripture quote he gave says they are the sons of Zebedee!!


#7

If they were the sons of Zebedee and Mary, it would be in reference to a previous marriage. This would be impractical because a virgin must have given birth to Christ. Also, Mary asks the angel Gabrield, “how can this be since I have no relations with a man?”


#8

The gospels and other scriptures are not internallly consistent on a number of factual matters and simply can’t be reconciled, at least not in 21st century terms. In this case, whether Jesus, James and John were brothers, Matthew says one thing; Luke another.

Other examples:

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 is different from the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3 not only in that in Matthew the genealogy starts with Abraham and works down, while in Luke it starts with Joseph and works up. According to Matthew Jesus’ grandfather was Mattan; according to Luke he was Heli etc. A glance at these scriptures will quickly show you the disparities.

According to Matthew about two years after Jesus’ birth, the Magi visited the Holy Family in Bethlehem, then being warned in a dream, Joseph took Jesus and Mary to Egypt and stayed until Herod died. However, according to Luke, after he was born Jesus was taken to the Temple and after all the rites had been performed, Mary and Joseph took him to their home in **Nazareth **where Jesus grew up. And, Luke 2 says, they took Jesus to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover every year. Egypt isn’t mentioned in Luke at all.

I understand the doctrine of the Church to be that Mary was a virgin all her life, that Jesus was her only son, and that Jesus had no brothers. I don’t know enough to know what the Church says about when or how Joseph died or if he might have had children by another wife, or any of other possibilities.


#9

See Matthew 20:20-21

8

Then the mother 9 of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.21 He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”

Also Matthew 27:55-56

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, 33 who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.56 Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.


#10

In ancient times, the term “brother” could mean having at least one parent in common, as we mean in modern times, or cousin. Perhps the word “kinsmen” would be closest to what the ancients meant by “brothers” or “brethren”. Another theory holds that Jesus had half-brothers, who were Joseph’s sons by a previous marriage. One should look carefully at names like “Mary” in the Bible, which have been the source of no small confusion. Consider Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Mary from the story of Mary and Martha, and the like.


#11

I’ll tell you what it says in the Poem of the Man-God**, which we have been heatedly discussing in this forum lately, and which is a private revleation and you are not required to believe it.

Here is what I learned about the brothers of Christ in Valtorta’s book, which I am sure will not be against anything in the Bible, and the info is likely supported by other theologians who gleaned this info in other ways:

It is the Apostles Judas Thaddeus and James of Alphaeus who are the first cousins of Jesus. Their father, Alphaeus, is the brother of St. Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, and lives in their town. Alphaeus and his wife Mary had other sons and daughters, but their two youngest were Judas and James.

In Volume One we see where Judas and James had already been enrolled in the school, and Aphaeus asserts it is time to put Jesus in that school, and Mary, with Joseph’s backing, says no, she is going to teach Jesus at home (she herself was educated in the Temple). In this scene, Aphaeus’ wife Mary asks Our Lady if she will also teach her sons James and Judas. Mary said, yes, if it was okay with Alphaeus, who is pesuaded and agrees. Judas and James are then “homeschooled” for many years in the laws of God at the feet of Mary along with Jesus.

This is one of my favorite passages in the book, thats why I remembered it.

So I too feel its those two who are his cousins of the Apostles. Which you probably know is the same word as brother in Aramaic. James later became Bishop of Jeruselam. I not sure where Judas Thaddeus went but we know him as the powerful prayer intercessor St. Jude. Wonderful St. Jude. Valtorta describes them and all the apostles in her book and its beautiful.

**Poem of the Man-God consists of five very thick volumes and are primarily visions reported by Maria Valtorta, who wrote them “as” she “saw” them. That is, she was brought by Jesus into the scenes of his life, one scene at a time, and the volumes are made up of scene after scene which Valtorta depicts in her beautiful descriptivce writing style, including descriptions of people and place and converstaions verbatim. There are a few further explanations of certain scenes by Jesus or Mary throughout the book which are dictated to Valtorta and she writes verbatim. She wrote them around the 1950s, she had a spriitual director, and she was a sick invalid in bed when she wrote them - verbatim, not erasing, in long hand in many notebooks and that is what the books are.

Ther are reputable, credible, reliable people on* both* sides, for and against Valtorta.


#12

[quote=rhymer2]thistle’s

Can you prove that scripturally? These were the sons of Mary and Joseph.
[/quote]

You cannot prove Jesus had siblings Scripturally either. Did you know the Bible was not first written in English? The King James Version was not the first Bible? Early Protestants hated the KJV and used the Geneva Bible, etc. The Pilgrams would have tossed you out on the grass if you ‘shewed’ up with a KJV! Every language has words not in other languages or in which words are used in various ways?

Did you know the Protestant "re/DE"formers believed Blessed Mary to be ever virgin? The first time this mythology of siblings of Jesus was ever mentioned that I have found was in the late 1800’s. The rapture and tribulation myth wasn’t invented untill the 1830’s. The Mormons, SDA’s, JW’s, CS’s, etc. were all invented in this same time and era of mythology.

I used to go into my former Baptist church and they all called each other brothers and sisters. Were we all siblings? NO. If you read in context and not one verse independent of another verse you will start to see more clearly. Did you know Bible chapter numbers were madeup by a Catholic? Did you know verse numbers were randomly added by typesetters? Read St. Mt 13 again.

Did you not read the errors in you own proof? The same guy that claimed Jesus was the Son of Joseph also missunderstood the concept of brethren of Jesus too. Do you believe Jesus is the son of God or the son of Joseph? According to your own proof Jesus is the son of Joseph and is therefore NOT the son of God. Read St. Mt 13 again only add a bit of CONTEXT.

As Paul Harvey would say,

Good day!


#13

[quote=rhymer2]Can you prove that scripturally? These were the sons of Mary and Joseph.
[/quote]

Prove it Bibically? Follow the bouncing ball:

Mat 13:55 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?

Okay, Jesus has a “brother” named James.

Gal 1:18,19 Then after three years I went to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

So, James, the “brother of the Lord,” is an apostle.

Luk 6:13-16 And when it was day, he gathered his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his prother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholoemew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alpheus, and Simoin who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

There are two apostles named James. One of them is referred to by St. Paul as the “brother of the Lord.” The above passage eliminates one of them, he is the “son of Alpheus,” not Joseph.

Mk, 13-19 And he went up into the hills and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and to have authority to cast out demons: Simon whom he surnamed Peter, James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simoin the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Here, both Jameses are named: James the son of Zebedee and James the son of Alpheus. So, if “James the Brother of the Lord” was an apostle, as St. Paul says, he can’t be the son of either Alpheus of Zebedee. There is no James the apostle who could also be James the sibling brother of Jesus.
And, since we know that Jesus spoke Aramaic, which had no word for cousin, nephew or other close relation other than father, mother and brother and we also know that the word “brother” was used, not only for relatives but close friends or associates:
Acts 1:14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Acts 1:15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty)…
Even subtracting the women, there were probably 80 “brethren” there. If they were all Jesus’ siblings, Mary was not perpetual virgin, but perpetually pregnant (I stole that line from John Martignoni). Even then, it is not possible that they were all “brethren (siblings) of the Lord.”

So, there’s your Scripturao evidence.


#14

I have a web site that shows that the “brothers of Jesus” were sons of men other than Joseph; ergo, not the child of Mary and Joseph.
geocities.com/bettyg51/BrothersJesus.htm

I like the idea that the story of Jesus getting lost when he was 12 does not mention other children. Wouldn’t it have said that Joseph, Mary **and their children ** went back to look for him?


#15

Mary is Ever Virgin

Exodus 13:2,12 - Jesus is sometimes referred to as the “first-born” son of Mary. But “first-born” is a common Jewish expression meaning the first child to open the womb. It has nothing to do the mother having future children.

Exodus 34:20 - under the Mosaic law, the “first-born” son had to be sanctified. “First-born” status does not require a “second” born.

Ezek. 44:2 - Ezekiel prophesies that no man shall pass through the gate by which the Lord entered the world. This is a prophecy of Mary’s perpetual virginity. Mary remained a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus.

Mark 6:3 - Jesus was always referred to as “the” son of Mary, not “a” son of Mary. Also “brothers” could have theoretically been Joseph’s children from a former marriage that was dissolved by death. However, it is most likely, perhaps most certainly, that Joseph was a virgin, just as were Jesus and Mary. As such, they embodied the true Holy Family, fully consecrated to God.

Luke 1:31,34 - the angel tells Mary that you “will” conceive (using the future tense). Mary responds by saying, “How shall this be?” Mary’s response demonstrates that she had taken a vow of lifelong virginity by having no intention to have relations with a man. If Mary did not take such a vow of lifelong virginity, her question would make no sense at all (for we can assume she knew how a child is conceived). She was a consecrated Temple virgin as was an acceptable custom of the times.

Luke 2:41-51 - in searching for Jesus and finding Him in the temple, there is never any mention of other siblings.

John 7:3-4; Mark 3:21 - we see that younger “brothers” were advising Jesus. But this would have been extremely disrespectful for devout Jews if these were Jesus’ biological brothers.

John 19:26-27 - it would have been unthinkable for Jesus to commit the care of his mother to a friend if he had brothers.

John 19:25 - the following verses prove that James and Joseph are Jesus’ cousins and not his brothers: Mary the wife of Clopas is the sister of the Virgin Mary.

Matt. 27:61, 28:1 - Matthew even refers to Mary the wife of Clopas as “the other Mary.”

Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:47 - Mary the wife of Clopas is the mother of James and Joseph.

Mark 6:3 - James and Joseph are called the “brothers” of Jesus. So James and Joseph are Jesus’ cousins.

Matt. 10:3 - James is also called the son of “Alpheus.” This does not disprove that James is the son of Clopas. The name Alpheus may be Aramaic for Clopas, or James took a Greek name like Saul (Paul), or Mary remarried a man named Alpheus.


#16

Well, it looks as though the original question has been most thoroughly, and most scripturally answered.

John and James are NOT the brothers of Jesus.

Next question?


#17

Jesus had no blood brothers or sisters

In the Gospel of St. Thomas, thought to be the very words of Christ himself, it reads in Aramaic that Jesus had a half brother - James; James being the son of Mary and Joseph. I don’t know whether that this is true but the same fact is also suggested in the Gospels by the Apostle St. Paul.


#18

The gospel of Thomas can be THOUGHT to be just about anything. One thing for sure, it is not a part of sacred scripture. Meaning, it cannot possibly BE the Word of God.

Here’s an example for you.

And Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”.

And the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

One should not judge a man until one has walked a mile in his moccasins.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Take this job and shove it.

Now, in the passage above, I have given the words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount, right? The second sentence is from the Old testament. The third is supposedly from a Native American prayer. The fourth is from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The fifth is from a ?popular country tune of the 1970s, I think Ronnie Milsap but I’m not sure.

Now, take the . There are passages and phrases in it which are also found in sacred scripture in the gospels, or in other Jewish sacred works. . .and there is ALSO in it prayers or other writing (i.e, gnostic literature), there is “popular” writing reflecting secular work of the time, and finally there is out-and-out totally inappropriate, mean-spirited, anti-Christian if you will writing.

So bringing up “the gospel of Thomas” as a reference and not only equating it with scripture, but actually elevating it ABOVE scripture, is like taking my “quoted” work and using the words “take this job and shove it” as promoting CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, because it is found in the same passage that contains an actual phrase of Jesus’s.

And Paul does NOT say that James is the half brother of the Lord. Paul’s statement was addressed in one of the earlier posts, probably you had not had a chance to read it yet.


#19

Jesus is called THE son of Mary, never A son of Mary
Nobody else is ever called a or the son of Mary or Joseph.

The semantic range of “brother” in that part of the world is (and was) too broad to conclude that Mary had other children just because some are called the “brothers” of the Lord. The term “brother” was used for extended family and even neighbors to express closeness, friendship, and kinship. In that part of the world, if you want to tell your cousin you are mad at him, you call him “cousin” to express the distance between you. Otherwise you call him “brother” to emphasize the kinship. It was this way then and today.


#20

I apologise for my not reading the earlier post. But if this Gospel is the word of Christ, and he meant it to be part of Christian scripture then aren’t you rejecting the word of God? But this document is not the product of the Gnostics - and i didn’t really see the relevance of the collection of lines from different sources.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.