“Not even his brothers
οὐδὲ γὰρ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν.
John uniquely said that not even his brothers (οὐδὲ γὰρ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) believed in him (ἐπίστευον εἰς αὐτόν). Now we know the true state of things. His own brothers or relatives did not believe in Jesus. This was a common theme among the synoptics. A story about the relatives of Jesus can also be found in Mark and Matthew. Mark, chapter 6:3, said that the local people asked whether Jesus was a carpenter (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ῦ τέκτων). However, Mark explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας). Were not his brothers there James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος)? There was a difference in one brother’s name mentioned by Matthew. Could Joses be the same as Joseph with a simple letter mistake? Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς)? These relatives took offense or were scandalized by Jesus (καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ). In Matthew, chapter 13:55-56, the local people asked, was he not this the carpenter’s son (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός)? Matthew did not use the carpenter’s name, when in the prologue Joseph played a major role. However, Matthew explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary, who played a minor role in the prologue. Was not his mother called Mary (οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ)? Were not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας)? Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν)? Where then did he get all this knowledge and power (πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα)? There is the question about the brothers and sisters of Jesus. These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family. The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” and “sister” was often used to mean more than a biological brother. Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link. Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also. The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son. However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins. There were explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples. They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear. What do you call your relatives?