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 The Bible » » The New Testament

Was Jesus a Good Momma’s Boy?
Author of this text:

Did Jesus have blood brothers and sisters? Yes he did. Mark, the oldest gospel spells this out in chapter 6, verse 3: "Is not this [i.e., Jesus] the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?"

The James mentioned here is supposedly the author of the New Testament book James. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible for one assigns this letter to „James, the Lord's brother."

In Mark, the earliest gospel, Jesus is literally the son of Mary by virtue of normal intercourse with his blood father, Joseph. You will notice that no mention is made in this gospel of a virgin birth. Instead, according to chapter 1, verse 10, Jesus was adopted by God when Jesus was in his late twenties:

"And when he [Jesus] came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, 'Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.'"

Did Jesus support the family as a good Jewish son was expected to do? Listen to Mark, chapter 10, verse 19. Jesus says to the man that asks him how he can have eternal life that, along with other things, he is to "honor his mother and father." Yet, in Mark 10:29-30, Jesus says:

"Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time … and in the age to come eternal life."

This anti-family attitude is even stronger ire Luke. In chapter 14, verse 26, Jesus says: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."

So the answer is „no"; Jesus did not support the family. What did the family of Jesus think about him?

Let Mark, chapter 3, verses 21-22, start us off:

".. his friends .. went out to seize him, for they said, 'He is beside himself....' He is possessed by Beelzebub, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons.'"

This is soon followed by verses 31-34: "And his mother and brothers came; and standing outside they sent in a message asking him to come out. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, 'Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside, asking for you.' And he replied: 'Who are my mother and brothers? Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.'"

The interpretation of these verses can be found in the highly reputable Abingdon Bible Commentary. It says:

Mark 3.31-35 and its parallels in Matthew 12:46-50 and Luke 8:19-21: Jesus next replies to relatives [the commentary says this includes his own blood family; so does The Jerusalem Bible, the imprimatur being the Roman Catholic Church]. The gist of the reply is in the words contained in verses 34-35. The charge of insanity brought against Jesus by his own loved ones showed that they had virtually thrust him for the time out of their lives. The home circle at Nazareth was no longer his for solace and love, but a new circle of brothers and sisters was being created to which he would now increasingly turn for consolation and friendship.

The conclusion is obvious: Jesus was a son that no Jewish momma could be proud of.  

Published in the 2002 September/October issue of the American Rationalist ©.

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« The New Testament   (Published: 26-07-2003 Last change: 21-09-2003)

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Bernard Katz
Contributing Editor of the American Rationalist. Autobiography

 Number of texts in service: 16  Show other texts of this author
 Newest author's article: Jesus Camp: A Children's Boot Camp for the Culture Wars
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