Scriptural support abounds for determining Jesus’ kin

Tue, 08/14/2007 - 3:50pm
By: Letters to the ...

Both Trey Hoffman and Ethan Milukas use the same argument that the James mentioned in Mark 6:3 could not be Jesus’ blood brother, because the two apostles named James were referred to as the son of Zebedee and the son of Alphaeus.

This ignores the obvious possibility that the James in Mark 6:3 is another James (“This is the carpenter the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon, is it not? And his sisters are here with us, are they not?” So they began to stumble at him).

Other verses indicate that the James referred to here as Jesus’ brother is not one his apostles, but someone else.

John 7:5 indicates that during Jesus’ ministry on earth, his natural brothers were not followers of his (His brothers were, in fact, not exercising faith in him). This was obviously true at the time of his death as well, because one of his last acts was to charge the apostle John with the care of Mary.

If his fleshly brothers could have cared for their mother’s physical and spiritual needs, he would not have given this responsibility to John (John 19:26-27).

Apparently some time after Jesus’ resurrection and prior to Pentecost that same year, some of Jesus’ natural brothers became believers (“So, when they had entered, they went up into the upper chamber, where they were staying, Peter as well as John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James [the son] of Alphaeus and Simon the zealous one, and Judas [the son] of James. With one accord all these were persisting in prayer, together with some women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.” — Acts 1:1-14).

Note that the two apostles named James are listed separately from Jesus’ brothers. Speaking of the resurrected Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:7 mentions that Jesus “appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” It didn’t say James, and then to the rest of apostles. Again, [it is] indicating a James that was not an apostle. Obviously this personal appearance to James helped him and his brothers to became active believers. James is throughout the book of Acts as a prominent member of the Christian congregation in Jerusalem.

Galatians 1:19 refers to Paul visiting Jerusalem and staying with the apostle Peter. He states that he “saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” This indicates that the James referenced here was not an apostle. 1 Corinthians 9:5 also speaks of Jesus’ bothers as being separate from the apostles (“We have authority to lead about a sister as a wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Ciphers, do we not?”).

This same James that was not an apostle and not the son of Zebedee, nor Alphaeus, is obviously the writer of the Bible book of James. Note in the introduction he describes himself not as apostle (“James, a slave of God and of [the] Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered about” — James 1:1).

This is very similar to the introduction in the Bible book of Jude (“Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James ... “ — Jude 1:1). Jude (Judas) is also referenced in Mark 6:3 as a brother of James and one of Jesus’ blood brothers.

The scriptures clearly show that James “the brother of the Lord” is not one of the two apostles named James, that were not natural blood brothers. All the evidence supports that this James was a fleshly brother of Jesus, conceived by Mary and Joseph.

The scriptures indicate that Joseph did have sexual relations with his wife Mary after she gave birth to Jesus (“he had no intercourse with her until she gave birth to a son; and he called his name Jesus.” — Matthew 1:25).

Terry Emlock

Fayetteville, Ga.

login to post comments