One area of disagreement between Catholics and Protestants is on the question of whether Mary had other children besides Jesus. Luke 2:7 calls Jesus Mary’s firstborn. This does not imply that she has children after Jesus because the term firstborn is a legal declaration that implies all the rights and priveleges of a firstborn son, wether an only child or not. However, Protestants point to such scriptures as Mark 6:3. “Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” Protestant Christians point out that Mary, based on scriptures such as this, did indeed have other children. Although I will show that Mary does have other children, and the Bible clearly teaches it, scriptures such as these do not prove the point.
First of all, the Greek word “adelphos” for brother is used in the New Testament to refere to any kinsman, not just brother. A second argument against using scriptures mentioning Jesus’ brothers is found in John 19:26-27.
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” If Mary had other sons then they certainly would be the one’s responsible for taking care of their mother. What an insult for Jesus to offer their mother to someone who isn’t even a blood relative.
Based on these arguments, the Catholics have a better claim to Mary’s perpetual virginity. However, I would like to share some scriptures that clearly prove that Mary has other children.
As pointed out above, Luke 2:7 says that Mary “…gave birth to her firstborn son.” If Jesus is the firstborn, who then are Mary’s children who follow the firstborn? In Romans 8:28-29 Paul tells us that “we know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
The Bible declares that Jesus is the firstborn and that we, his followers, are his many brothers. Jesus is the firstborn son of Mary and we then are Her many children.
In Colossians 1:15 Paul goes on to tell us that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” When Catholics call Mary “Mother” and when they refer to Her as the Mother of all people, they are simply echoing what the scriptures teach us. Jesus is our brother, Mary is His Mother. He is our firstborn brother and we share the same Mother as he. In fact, the book of Revelation declares that Christians are the offspring of Mary our Mother. (Revelation 12:17).
Did Mary have other children? Indeed she did and we are those children.