If you believe that Mary was a perpetual virgin, please stop reading now because you will end up being offended. Following the birth of Jesus, Scripture indicates that Mary went on to have other children. I quote Mark 6:3 below:
“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.” (NASB)
My question is, what would it have been like to grow up with a perfect older brother? Some of you may have had to endure being compared to older siblings. Being the first born in my family, I have not had this experience.
I can imagine what it was like to always be compared to Jesus. Jesus was the kid who hung out in the Temple when he was a pre-teen to discuss Scripture with the best of the Rabbis. He would never give an offense and Jesus would be the one that all the old ladies in the congregation would pat on the head and pinch his cheeks and proclaim him a “good boy.”
How difficult would it have been to endure punishment (deserved or otherwise) knowing that your brother never had to be punished? Even if your parents didn’t ask the question, it certainly would be going through your mind, “why can’t you be more like Jesus?” Even on your best behavior, to be compared to perfection would be humiliating.
Think about it. It would have been no use for the brothers to try to blame anything on Jesus. They might have gotten away with blaming the broken lamp on the dog, but never on Jesus.
Another problem would be that Jesus would never lie. If Mary asked him, “did you see who took the cookies from the pantry?” He would have to answer truthfully. No-one could get away with anything when Jesus was around.
As a result, it is not hard to imagine that resentment would naturally begin to form in the siblings toward Jesus. In the gospels, the few glimpses we have of Jesus’ brothers indicate that they did not understand who he was or believe in him (see John 7:5).
Yet in the end, we see two of Jesus’ brothers writing letters which are included in our New Testament. They came to belief at some point and became leaders in First Century church.
This begs the question. If this whole Jesus is the Messiah thing was a scam, why would the brothers buy in to it when they obviously did not while he was alive. Why after his death would they risk martyrdom if they knew him to be a quack or a con-man?
In my mind the fact that his brothers did acknowledge him to be God in the flesh is strong proof that Jesus’ claim to be divine is true. Every person will at some point will be forced to make a decision regarding Jesus. If he is who he claimed to be (as his brothers came to believe) then you reject him to your peril.