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After studying the sunday part of this week's sabbath school lesson_ NEGLECTING PARENTS?, I began to wonder if Mary had other children or was Christ an only child? Cos I don't think a mother would have gone home for 3 whole days without her only child. What do you think?

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Matthew 12:46-50 "While he yet talked to the people, behold, [his] mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

"The brothers and sisters of Jesus were taught the multitudinous traditions and ceremonies of the rabbis, but Christ himself could not be induced to interest Himself in these matters." (Fundamentals of Education by E.G. White, p.438)
Let me understand you John. Does dat mean these were his 'biological' siblings? I mean Joseph and Mary's other children?
hi! I have been doing some research on this regard.

Its really not clearly stated that Jesus did or did not have any biological siblings, but there statements like in Matthew 12: 46-50, Mark 6:3 and in Galatians 1:18-19 where they talk about Jesus having siblings.

Nevertheless, this does not prove that they were is "biological siblings", but if you read Matthew 1: 25 which says "And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus". The word "till" or in some translations "untill" states that she could have had other children after giving birth to Jesus.
That's a key verse, Lyndon.
Hi Queen, this is something that intrigues me... firstly, forgive me for being pedantic but they were not "Joseph and Mary's other children" because Jesus was not Joseph's son.

Now a couple more quotes from SoP:

"His brothers, as the sons of Joseph were called, sided with the rabbis. They insisted that the traditions must be heeded, as if they were the requirements of God. They even regarded the precepts of men more highly than the word of God, and they were greatly annoyed at the clear penetration of Jesus in distinguishing between the false and the true. His strict obedience to the law of God they condemned as stubbornness." (The Desire of Ages, p.86)

Then later she writes,

"All this displeased His brothers. Being older than Jesus, they felt that He should be under their dictation. They charged Him with thinking Himself superior to them, and reproved Him for setting Himself above their teachers and the priests and rulers of the people. Often they threatened and tried to intimidate Him; but He passed on, making the Scriptures His guide." (The Desire of Ages, p.87)

From the above we understand that these must have been Joseph's sons from a previous marriage. In regard to Jesus' sisters, I have not been able to find any other reference to them. So, unless I am missing something, we are not told if they were Mary's daughters or just Joseph's.

Lyndon, there's another reason that any other children that Mary may have had must have been after she gave birth to Jesus... she was a virgin prior to Jesus conception :-)
Definitely Mary had other children.

Matthew 13:55, 56
" Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?. Aren't all his sister's with us?...

The bible doesn't give us a hint whether Joseph had kids before he got married to Mary. If before he knew Mary, he had kids (assuming) why then is it not mentioned anywhere in the bible?

  • Jesus' brothers at the feast of Tabernacles John 7:1-10
  • Jesus' brothers join in prayer Acts 1:14
  • Jesus' brother James at Jerusalem Galatians 1:19
Sammy I think its quite logical. Lets follow the sequence:
1. Jesus had other siblings - Matthew 12:46-50, 13:55,56
2. He had older brothers (and sisters) - John 7:3-10, The Desire of Ages, p.87
3. Mary Conceived Him as a virgin - Matthew 1:18, 25

I think we can safely conclude that His other borothers/sisters are the sons/daughters of Joseph from a previous marriage, except for John the beloved and James who mostly likely are other sons of Mary.
Ok for diversity of thoughts let's assume we are speaking to someone who knows not The Desire of Ages in this case a non-Adventist.

If Joseph had other kids from a previous marriage, wouldn't you think the story would have been like "In those days there was a widower named Joseph..?"
What was the Jewish custom then in refering to brothers and sisters?
The terms "brother" and "sister" has a broad base in the Jewish custom. A 2nd, 3rd, or 4th cousin and so on is conviniently reffered to as brother/sister. Just as they refer to a nephew/niece as son/daughter.
The idea of Jesus having "older" siblings did not 'originate' with The Desire of Ages. The Roman Catholic for instance believed that Mary never had any other child. In other words, she remained a "virgin" forever (meaning her marriage with Joseph was never 'consumated'), thats taking it too far for me, it has moved Mary from being a vessel to a deity of sort.
I think the idea of Jesus other siblings not being children of Mary stemmed from passages like Matthew 27:56, where Mary was categorically reffered to as the mother of James and Joses (Joseph); and John the beloved in John 19:26,27.
So who is the mother of the other siblings metioned in Matthew 13:55,56?
Could it be an oversight on the part of the author (Matthew) not to have metioned them as children of Mary in that passage?
Lastly, the tone in John 7:3-5 suggests these brothers considered themselves as having the moral rights to order Him (or at least advice Him authoritatively) - this sounds like big brothers.
The Jewish custom of having extended family relations being refered to as if they are direct off-springs of a person is similar to what is practised in most part of nigeria, in such areas there are no words in the local dialet for cousin, nephew, niece etc.You only use words like brother, sister, elder or younger brother or sister, father and mother. The Bible did not portray Joseph as haven been previously married and it also says that the mother of our Lord will be a virgin. so we can safely say that the communal life style being practised at that time could be responsible for the apparent neglect of Jesus i.e. A child does not belong to only his/her biological parents but to the whole community
Yes, I was also thinking towards the same line as Joseph and Olusola. These could have been distant relatives; cos the bible was not clear whether Joseph had another wife. And these 'brothers' being refered to here, obviously are older than Jesus was.
One of the great things about having the Spirit of Prophecy is that it answers certain questions for us...

"His brothers, as the sons of Joseph were called,..." (The Desire of Ages, p.86).

So, I don't need to ignore SoP and then waste time with diversity of opinion. Even if the person that you are talking to is not SDA, why would you want to come to a different conclusion from that of SoP?


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