Historically, the epistles of James and Jude are considered to have been written by two of Jesus’ brothers – that is, James and Jude (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3).
According to the New Testament, Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3).
Jesus’ siblings would certainly have a unique view of Him. That view would not only include the experiences they had with Him growing up, James and Jude being young brothers to Him; it would also probably include what they learned of him from their mother Mary, and possibly Joseph before he died.
Mary knew that Jesus was from God in a way that no other human being could know. For her, accepting the virgin birth was not a matter of faith. She had sure and certain knowledge that she had had no relations with a man when that firstborn was conceived in her womb.
Even though Mary knew of Jesus’ special stature from His conception (Luke 1:26-38), it was reinforced in her meeting with the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:39-56), Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1-20), His circumcision (Luke 2:21-38), and on a particular Passover visit to Jerusalem when He was twelve years old (Luke 2:41-52).
By the time Jesus began His ministry, Mary knew He could do “impossible” things. Thus when the family ran out of wine at wedding feast in Cana, she turned the problem over to her son telling the servants with calm assurance, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:1-11). Such instruction could only have been born of experience.
As Jesus began to encounter resistance to His ministry, and even hostility, His family feared for Him and sought to bring Him home (Mark 3:20-35; see also shorter accounts of this incident in Matthew 12:46-50 and Luke 8:19-21). By this time, Jesus was teaching that spiritual bonds were greater than fleshly bonds, and His family surely felt the strain of this.
His brothers even got to the point where they lost all faith in Him (John 7:1-10). Presumably this would have included James and Jude.
When Jesus was crucified, His mother was there. In a final act of honoring his mother, he committed her into the care of His disciple John (John 19:25-27). This, of course, cemented the notion that spiritual ties were tighter than fleshly ones. Subsequent to Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, we see Mary and her other sons praying with the disciples as they waited on the Holy Spirit Jesus had promised them all (Acts 1:14)
What a family they must have been! Their perspective on Jesus would have been unique and profound. Their faith in Him was severely tested…and yet it stood. And grew.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.