Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

The “Brothers” of Jesus…

Who are my mother and my brothers...?

The phrase, “the brother’s of Jesus”, has always been a constant avenue for many mainline protestants to defend their belief that Mary the Mother of God – the mother of Jesus who IS BOTH God and Man, could not possibly have remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus.

They point out that scripture says, ” And His mother and His brethren came; and standing outside they sent to Him and called Him. And a crowd was sitting about Him; and they said to Him, “Your mother and your brethren  are outside, asking for you.”  And [Jesus] replied, “Who are My mother and My brethren?”  And looking around on those who sat about Him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brethren! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.” ~Mark 3:31-35

It’s unfortunate that one specific element is missing from their argument, and that has to do with language.  Hebrew and Aramaic are NOT English.  Therefore, they often lack pronouns that are specific to relationship, such as cousin, aunt, and uncle.  Such is the case here and in a few other passages listed below.  Those who are noted as “brethren” or “brothers” are not necessarily siblings, but are often blood relations outside of the immediate family.

The Dictionary of the Bible states:

Brothers or Brethren: Properly, sons of the same mother and father. In the Bible, however, the term is sometimes applied to …  more distant relatives than half-brothers, such as nephews and uncles, cousins of various degrees of relationship (Gen. 14:14; Lev. 10:4; 1 Chron. 9:6). Even the members of the same tribe are sometimes called brothers (2 Kings 19:12; 1 Chron. 12:2), or the members of the same nation (Gen. 16:12; Ex. 2:11; Deut. 2:4, 8). The term is also applied to friends or associates of various kinds (Joshua 14:8; 1 Sam. 30:23; 2 Sam. 1:26; Amos 1:9; etc.). Finally, because of the descent of all men from Adam and Eve, any man can be called any other man’s brother (Gen. 9:5; Matt. 5:22; 7:3; Heb. 2:11).

It continues with as relation to the New Testament:

In the New Testament there are several references to “the brethren of the Lord” (Mark 3:31; John 2:12; 1 Cor. 9:5; etc.). In the light of the constant teaching of the Church that our Blessed Lady remained always a virgin and the fact that Christ had no human father, this expression cannot be meant to indicate that these persons were brothers of Christ in the sense that they had the same mother and father. In the face of all the examples cited above (and many others) it is clear that the term brother can have a wider meaning. Accordingly, these “brethren of the Lord” were either cousins or, possibly, even some more distant relatives of Our Lord.

Besides, do we not call each other Brothers and Sisters when referring to our connection in the Body of Christ?  Of course we do because we are ALL sons and daughters of God.

See what Love the Father has given us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are.
~1 Jn 3:1

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