Sunday, November 23, 2008

Was St. James Jesus' Brother....?

While learning about the faith, somewhere along the way, someone taught me that Jesus was not the only son of Mary.  In fact, they told me that the Apostle James was also the son of Mary and therefore Jesus' brother.  Someone brought this up after reading my post titled, My Journey of Understanding Mary.  Who came up with the idea that the Apostle James was Jesus' brother?  What do the Sacred Scriptures say regarding this?

"Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons."(Matt 27:56)

"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene."(John 19:25)

While the mother of St. James was named Mary, clearly it was not the same Mary as the Mother of God.  St. James was NOT the biological brother of Jesus.

While researching this post, one of the most interesting things that I happened upon was that most of the Early Protestant Reformers, also believed that Mary was ever virgin.  These references are cited at this website:

"Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary's virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that. "(Martin Luther)

"[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called 'first-born'; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation. " (John Calvin)

"I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity." (Huldreich Zwingli)

"The Blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as when she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin."(John Wesley)

I don't blame people for believing false doctrine.  It is not their fault.  It was not my fault that my teacher told me that Jesus had many biological brothers, including St. James.  It is probably not even the fault of the teacher, they are probably as much as a victim as I was.  I do believe, however, that it is our responsibility to help each other find the complete truth in the Gospel, especially those that may have fallen victim to improper instruction.

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