The family of Jesus (Mk 6:3-6:3)

“‘Is not this the carpenter,

The son of Mary,

The brother of James,

Joses,

Judas,

And Simon?

Are not his sisters

Here with us?’

They took offense

At Jesus.”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ.

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:55-56, while Luke does not go into this problem.  Mark said that the local people asked, whether Jesus was a carpenter (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ῦ τέκτων), not a carpenter’s son as in Matthew?  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  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 is a difference in one brother’s name mentioned by Matthew and Mark.  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).  Once again there is the question of 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 words “brother” and “sister” were 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.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  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.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joses, 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

 

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Jesus’ mother and brothers come to him (Mk 3:31-3:31)

“Then his mother

And his brothers

Came.

They were

Standing outside.

They sent to him.

They called him.”

 

Καὶ ἔρχονται ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔξω στήκοντες ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν καλοῦντες αὐτόν.

 

Luke, chapter 8:19, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came (Καὶ ἔρχονται ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ), but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd.  They were standing outside (καὶ ἔξω στήκοντες).  They sent for him (ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν).  They called Jesus (καλοῦντες αὐτόν).  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  Jesus had been close to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.

Prologue

This Gospel of Matthew has a prologue with five parts that echo the book of Genesis.  First, there was the genealogy of Jesus via Joseph that began with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Then this genealogy went through the twin sons of Judah and the descendants of Perez.  Then it went from Ruth to King David.  Then there was the kings of Judah from Solomon to the gap and up to and including the Babylonian captivity.  Finally, there were the unknown names in this genealogy that led up to Joseph and his father.  Matthew then explained the genealogy of Jesus, since there were differences of this genealogy with that of the Gospel of Luke.

The second part of this prologue was the virgin birth of Jesus.  First of all, there was the conception of Jesus from Joseph’s point of view, not Mary’s.  Joseph wanted to divorce Mary for being pregnant until an angel in a dream told him that Jesus would be a special child that fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.  After waking up from his dream, there was the virgin birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

The third part of this prologue was the visit of the Magi.  They brought their questions to Herod the Judean Roman king, who was annoyed and frightened.  He found out that Bethlehem was described by the prophet Micah as the place where the Messiah would be born.  Herod summoned the Magi and sent them to Bethlehem.  The Magi followed the star and found Mary with the child at the so-called Epiphany.  However, they went home another route so that they did not go back to King Herod.

The fourth part was the flight into Egypt, as Joseph had another dream.  They went to Egypt to fulfill another prophecy that the Messiah would come out of Egypt.  Meanwhile, King Herod killed all the under two-year old boys in the Bethlehem area as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah.

Finally, the fifth part of the prologue was the return of Jesus to Nazareth when Joseph had a third dream.  He was told to return to Israel, or more specifically to Galilee in a place called Nazareth.  Thus, this prologue gave the unique perspective of Joseph.

The Marys (Mt 27:56-27:56)

“Among these women

Were

Mary Magdalene,

And Mary,

The mother

Of James

And Joseph,

And the mother

Of the sons of Zebedee.”

 

ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή, καὶ Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσὴφ μήτηρ, καὶ ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:40, except that he said that the mother of the sons of Zebedee was called Salome.  Luke, chapter 23:49, does not mention the names of the women.  John, chapter 19:24-27 had the women as Mary, Jesus’s mother, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  Matthew said that among these women were Mary Magdalene (ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή), Mary, the mother of James and Joseph (καὶ Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσὴφ μήτηρ), as well as the mother of the sons of Zebedee (καὶ ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου).  Certainly, there were lot of women called Mary, since it was the most popular name of Palestinian Jewish women at the time of Jesus.  There probably were 8 different women with the name of Mary in the 61 times that the name Mary was mentioned in the New Testament.  First was (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was not mentioned here.  Next there was (2) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who also is not mentioned here.  (3) Mary of Clopas was mentioned in John, but not here.  Then there is Mary Magdalene (4), who is mentioned here.  Finally, there are the more confusing Marys.  (5) Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph, who was mentioned here.  (6) Perhaps this mother of the Zebedees was also name Mary or Mary Salome.  Finally (7) Mary, the mother of John Mark was mentioned in Acts, chapter 12:12, while (8) Mary in Rome, was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 16:6.  There was also an English novel by Bruce Marshall (1899-1987) called The Other Mary in 1927, based on the New Testament.

The family of Jesus (Mt 13:55-13:56)

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?

Is not his mother

Called Mary?

Are not his brothers

James,

Joseph,

Simon,

And Judas?

Are not all his sisters with us?

Where then did he

Get all this?’”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας;

καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν; πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα;

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 6:3.  The local people asked, was he not this 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.  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  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)?  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus as mentioned earlier in chapter 12:46. 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 refers 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.  Here there are 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

Jesus’ mother and brothers (Mt 12:46-12:47)

“While Jesus was still speaking

To the people,

His mother

And his brothers

Were standing outside.

They wanted to speak to him.

Someone told him.

‘Look!

Your mother

And your brothers

Are standing outside

Wanting to speak with you.’”

 

Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι.

εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω ἑστήκασιν ζητοῦντές σοι λαλῆσαι.

 

Luke, chapter 8:19-20, and Mark, chapter 3:31-32, have something similar.  While Jesus was still speaking to the crowds of people (Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις), his mother and brothers were standing outside (ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω).  They wanted to speak to him (ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι).  Someone then told him (εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ) that his mother and brothers were outside (Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου ἔξω) wanting to talk to him (ἑστήκασιν ζητοῦντές σοι λαλῆσαι).  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Were they not allowed to come into where he was talking?  Who are these brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus has been close to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or relative cousins.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers 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.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and unnamed brothers of Jesus was outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how close a relative is not clear.

The arrest of John the Baptist (Mt 4:12-4:12)

“Now when Jesus heard

That John had been arrested,

He withdrew

To Galilee.”

 

Ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἰωάνης παρεδόθη ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν.

 

This is the same as Mark, chapter 1:14 and similar to Luke, chapter 4:14. Jesus heard (Ἀκούσας δὲ) that John the Baptist had been arrested (Ἰωάνης παρεδόθη), without any clear indication why. However, in chapter 14:1-12, Matthew took up this question in greater detail. Herod Antipas, the son of King Herod, was in charge of Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE. Although this text does not mention him by name, Herod Antipas was the one who arrested John. This might have been a warning sign to get away from the Jordan River area. However, Jesus went back to Galilee, just like Joseph had done years earlier. Galilee was about 80 miles north of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area.