Today we get to read about Jesus’ true family!
Jesus had siblings! Brothers specifically in this case, but the odds of all of his siblings being male as opposed to the odds of the patriarchal society not mentioning sisters suggests he likely had sisters but they weren’t mentioned. One big family! The same family that just in the last story were calling him crazy, something my family does all the time. Apparently, it doesn’t mean they don’t love me.
You know what this also means? Mary wasn’t a virgin forever. This is assuming, of course, that she was a virgin mother to Jesus, to begin with! The idea of a messianic figure being the result of a virgin birth is extremely prevalent in the myths before and surrounding the time of Jesus, and it is not at all unlikely that such things would have been attached to Jesus as his story spread.
My doubt is this, what would be the point of insisting on his virgin birth? Medically, it’s impossible. Historically it has been necessary because sin was believed to have passed on from father to son, and thus in order to show that Jesus did not possess even Original Sin and thus remained free from all sin, he must not have been born of a human father. This has been such a strong desire, that scholars have claimed that the brothers mentioned in this verse are actually cousins, without any evidence that this is true, simply the desire for Mary to have “remained” a virgin.
However, if Jesus does not need to be free of sin because there is no substitution or transaction. And if, in fact, Jesus would need to have performed sins in order to best understand what it means to be human. It is not necessary that Jesus is born of a virgin.
Moving on to the primary purpose of this tale, we have quite a revolutionary concept. Blood does not make the family, but a shared purpose. As we have discussed, family was a very big deal in Jesus’ time, so for him to say this would have been quite foreign.
What I take away from this, however, is something quite different. If Jesus is the “son of God”, and all who follow the will of God are his brothers and sisters, then we are all “children of God” and Jesus is trying to tell us that we are all, in God’s eyes, as equal to God as Jesus is. This is a message that is part of traditional Christianity, but it is said to be the case because Jesus died for us or as a substitution for us. I see no need for such a distinction. God looks at us all equally as his beloved children. Jesus was simply unique in his ability to see God’s love for its unconditional nature. This phrase emphasizes this equality. This will not be the first time such equality is brought up, but we can deal with that when we come to it!
What do you think?
Grace and Peace to you all.