Final argument: Those ‘pesky sisters’

Tue, 08/14/2007 - 3:51pm
By: Letters to the ...

I agree our readers have got to be tired of reading about the topic of Mary’s children. One more round and I’ll call a truce. Agreed? Please indulge me.

Thanks again to Mr. Hoffman and now Mr. Milukas for agreeing with me on the fact that the apostles named James were not Jesus’ brothers.

I’m afraid that in their zeal to refute Bible evidence they have only further strengthened the case for scriptural authority.

Gal. 1:19 states, “But I saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” He is not named here as an apostle.

If you would but slowly reread the ninth paragraph in my last essay, I stated that Jesus’ “brothers were, in fact, NOT exercising faith in him.” (John 7:3-5) This shows that spiritual brotherhood is ruled out. We now cannot identify them as apostles, right? The apostles HAD faith in him. So what other brothers can there be but fleshly and spiritual? Invisible?

Again the Bible shows a relationship between Jesus’ half-brothers and his mother Mary, which affirms they were her children and not more distant relatives. Usually they are associated with her.

Statements such as Jesus was Mary’s “firstborn” (Luke 2:7), and that Joseph “had no intercourse with her UNTIL she gave birth to a son”(a mea culpa to Mr. Hoffman for inserting “after”; it was an honest mistake) also affirm the view that Joseph and Mary had other children. (Matt 1:25)

Even their neighbors in Nazareth recognize and identify Jesus as “the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon,” adding, “And his sisters are here with us, are they not?” (Mark 6:3) What about those pesky sisters? No one has taken a shot at them yet. Perhaps it is because they have no names to confuse the issue, but there they are nevertheless.

Jesus half-brothers evidently changed their attitude after Christ’s resurrection; they were present with their mother and the apostles when assembled for prayer after his ascension. (Acts 1:14) This implies that at the outpouring of Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they were present.

Jesus’ brother James, who was singled out as one of the prominent older men in Jerusalem, wrote the letter bearing his name (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal 1:19; James 1:1). Jesus’ brother Jude penned the book of the same name (Jude 1, 17). Paul writes that at least some of Jesus’ brothers were married (1 Cor. 9:5).

Let us now look at authority. I quoted Mr. Lightfoot not as an authority but to show that I am not alone in expressing this view and that I’m not just making this up.

The Bible IS the ultimate authority on spiritual matters. Jesus Christ constantly appealed to the Old Testament to support his teaching. Even the Devil himself recognized the authority of the Scriptures: at Matt. 4:6 he quotes Psalm 91:12. Paul emphasizes their value and necessity when he says: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work” — 2 Tim 3:16,17.

Another interesting fact is that Mr. Hoffman’s essays are littered with phrases like, “the translator could have been,” or “may have” done such and such, and of course my all-time favorite, “I know it seems like a stretch.” I have presented the facts as they are written. There are no would’a, should’a, could’a’s or stretches here.

“For the Word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword,” writes Paul (Heb. 4:12). It should be defended by Christians vigorously and without fear. Yet it is constantly attacked by those claiming to be followers of Christ. This document is our guide to reconciliation with our Creator. It was written by Him through inspired writers, secretaries, if you will, taking a letter, and I, for one, will defend it with my last breath.

Russell Murphy

Fayetteville, Ga.

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