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Questions At Church

Some questions were raised at church yesterday (11/14/2010) and I want to clarify what the Bible says in those matters.

The questions are,

1) Why did Jesus’ mother and brothers go to see Jesus, which prompted him to tell the crowd that his followers were his actual family (mother and brothers)?

2) Did Mary and Joseph actually consumate their marriage, or did Mary remain a “Virgin"?

3) Did Mary and Jesus’ brothers believe that Jesus was the Messiah?


1) Why did Jesus’ mother and brothers go to see Jesus...?

The Bible says in Mark 3:20-34:

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.  21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”...

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.  32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

In verse 20 it says, “they went to take charge of him.”  Even in today’s culture, when a family member is mentally disturbed and no longer able to take care of his own affairs, his family gets a court order and they “take charge of him.”  Jesus’ family went to take charge of him because they thought Jesus was “out of his mind.”

Therefore, when they arrived at Capernaum from Nazareth to take charge of him, Jesus was in his own house teaching the crowds.  So many people were there his family could not get in (a plot divinely crafted, I think), so they sent word for him to come out.  He declined, saying he was already with his family, those who do the will of God.



I want to explain the Nazareth / Capernaum remark above. 

Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and by inference, there lived Joseph, Mary, Jesus and whatever other children they had.

Matthew 2:19-22

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt  20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel...  

23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Luke 2:42, 51

42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom...

51 Then he went down (returned) to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum at the beginning of his ministry.  I think it was because of the unbelief of the towns people in Nazareth.

Matthew 13:53-58

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.  54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.  55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?  56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”  57 And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Matthew 4:13

13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali

Capernaum became Jesus’ base of operation.


2) Did Mary and Joseph actually get married...?

The Bible says,

Matthew 1:18-25

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

This is extra-biblical information:

In that day and continuing on to today among the mid-eastern people, “virgins” were young girls around 14 years old.  They were not married to 14-year-old boys, but to adult men.  The men could have sex with their wives at any time, but it was common for them to wait until the girl grew up. 

In the Bible story above, Mary became Joseph’s wife but had not yet had sex with her.  When she was found to be pregnant, and Joseph knew it was not his child, he was about to divorce her.  An angel came to tell Joseph to keep Mary because the child was from God.  Joseph kept his wife, but did not have sex with her until she gave birth to Jesus.  That says clearly by implication that he had sex with her afterwards.  Otherwise the Bible would have said something like this: “But he had no union with her.” Period. Instead, it says, “But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.”

Afterwards, in Nazareth, (as we have already seen) the townspeople said,

Mathew 13:55-56

55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?  56 Aren’t all his sisters with us?

So we know that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas, and at least two sisters.


3) Did Mary and Jesus’ brothers believe that Jesus was the Messiah?

Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Jesus at first but they came to believe later.  My opinion is that Mary was also doubtful and thought Jesus was “out of his mind.”

Although those miraculous things with the angel happened at Jesus’ birth and Mary “pondered these things in her mind,” that was 18-30 years before the incident where they come to take him away (30+ years since Jesus’ birth and 18+ years since the temple incident).  Things happen and people change over they years; they start to doubt what they once knew for sure.

Matthew 13:57

57 But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

Not only in his hometown of Nazareth, but also in his own house.

John 7:1-5

1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.  2 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near,  3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do.  4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”  5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Jesus brothers were taunting him because they did not believe he was the Messiah, the Son of God.

Jesus told his disciples he is going to Galilee after he is resurrected from the dead.

Matthew 26:32

32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Mark 16:4-7

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.  7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Why did Jesus go to Galilee after he was risen?  All his disciples including his mother Mary were in Jerusalem.  I’m guessing that he went there to tell, show and prove to his brothers who he was.  Simply my own opinion.

Afterwards at least two if not all of his brothers became believers and leaders in the church. 

His brother James wrote the epistle of James,

James the apostle (not the brother) was executed early in church history, Acts 12:2.

James, Jesus brother, was a leader in the church, Galatians 1:19

James, Jesus brother, led the church council in Acts 15

Jude (Judas), the brother of James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the epistle of Jude. (Jude 1:1)

My conclusion is that at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, his mother and brothers did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, but they did believe at the end of his ministry.

I was careful to point out what the Bible said and what my Opinions were.  I could be wrong in my opinions, but I am not wrong in what the Bible says, because I showed it to you.

Judge for yourself.

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