Since reading the book many years ago entitled Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage, I have been interested in learning about the earthly family of Jesus Christ.
Jesus of Nazareth had four brothers, or more correctly, half-brothers, and at least two half- sisters, so He came from a rather large family. In both Matthew and Mark of the New Testament, the brother named James is written first when listing the four brothers of Christ. By being written first, we can assume then that James was the oldest of the brothers of Jesus. That being said, then James, the brother of Jesus, knew Jesus Christ longest on this earth – other than His mother, Mary. More is known about James than any of the other brothers of Jesus.
What must have it been like to grow up with an older brother that was perfect in all ways? Jesus never sinned, therefor, He never did anything wrong. Children were no different in the days of Christ than they are today. I am almost certain that Jesus was ridiculed and made fun of by the other children – including His own brothers. We can only yearn for a glimpse into the home life of that family, but all we know is that James seems not to have accepted him as the Messiah until after his resurrection, according to the Gospel of John.
After Christ’s resurrection, He sought out His brother James, and James repented and became a devout believer in the Messiah and a powerful leader in the early church. In his letter to the Galatian saints, Paul refers to James, the Lord’s brother, as an apostle. Many scholars believe that it was James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote the epistle of James. It is interesting to note that in that epistle, James does not refer to himself as the brother of the Lord but as his servant, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I am certain that Jesus dealt with his siblings in their early childhood years as He always dealt with people – with love and kindness. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that the four brothers of Jesus became believers after His resurrection and followed after Him all the remaining days of their lives.
I believe that there is a lesson here for all of us.