Jesus’ Brothers

Jesus' Brothers and Sisters

Jesus Brothers
John 2:8-11 Master of the Feast

John 2:12 Jesus’ Brothers

John 2:13 Passover
JOHN 2:12  12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

Who went to Capernaum with Jesus, His disciples and Mary?
Jesus’ “brothers” (John 2:12).

Jesus had brothers?
Yes, and sisters too.

How many brothers and sisters did Jesus have?
Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters: 55 Is this not the son of the tektonos? Is not His mother called Mary? 56 And His brothers James and Joses and Simon and Judas and His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:55-56)

Could “brothers” refer to those who believed in Jesus?
John 7 mentions that Jesus’ brother did not believe in Him, so those who believed in Jesus were “His disciples,” already mentioned in John 2:12.

Could “brothers” refer to Jesus’ more distant relatives?
αδελφοὶ (adelphoi), the Greek word translated “brothers” above sometimes can be used to refer to more distant relatives - “brethren” in the wider sense - but such usage doesn't fit the narrow nuclear family context above: the sequence of “father, mother, brothers and sisters” fits, while “father, mother, relatives and sisters” doesn’t.

Could Jesus’ “brothers” be His half brothers from Joseph’s marriage(s) prior to his marriage to Mary?
Since Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ biological father, all of Jesus' brothers and sisters mentioned above were His biological half brothers and half sisters. But there is no evidence to suggest that Joseph had been married before he married Mary. Indeed, if Joseph had any children from any previous marriage(s), they would have accompanied Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem of Judea to register for the census ordered by Augustus Caesar.

What does this mean for Mary’s alleged virginity throughout her life?
It is a myth concocted by people who want to deify her and try to twist the meaning the “brothers” in Matthew 13:55-56. But there is another passage in Matthew that they cannot get around: “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25). The expression, to “know” is used in the Bible to indicate sexual intercourse, as is evident from the context of the passage above. Saying that Joseph did not have sex with Mary “until” she had brought forth her firstborn son means that Joseph did have sex with her thereafter.

What is “tektonos” in Matthew 13:55 above?
τεκτονος (tektonos) is the original Greek word and means “builder.”

Does that mean “carpenter”?
It doesn't. While builders built with wood in northern Europe, where the Bible was first translated into English, builders in Israel at the time of Jesus built with rocks. They did occasionally work with wood to make doors and other fixtures, but most of their time was spent quarrying and building with rocks. The people quoted in Matthew 13:55 above are not calling Jesus the son of a carpenter but the son of a builder who built with rocks (photo).

Where is “Capernaum” (John 2:12)?
See Capernaum.