Friday, June 13, 2014

Posted by Niki |
Matthew 13:55-56 says “Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

These were Jesus’ half-siblings because they did not share the same father. Since James is listed first in the siblings, we can assume he was 2nd in birth order. Christ was the first.

Imagine being in a family of at least 7 – count Mary, Joseph, Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas and then throw in an unknown number of sisters (notice that it’s plural from scripture). After the scenario I give you, it will make the scene of Mary and Joseph “losing” Jesus at the temple a little more relatable. Picture this scene:

At the beginning of the scripture In Luke 2:39 it says “And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” In verse 41 it says “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.”

Where were Mary and Joseph from? ANSWER: Nazareth (see verse 41 of Luke 2).
History time! Jewish men were required to attend three Jewish feasts annually.
Which feast are they attending in this scripture? ANSWER: Passover

The other two feasts were the feast of weeks and the feast of tabernacles. Deuteronomy 16:16 gives the instructions for the feasts. “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:”
  • Pesah (Passover –Feast of Unleavened Bread): celebrated the Exodus of the Jewish people out of Egypt, as well as the beginning of the new planting season in Israel. It usually happens the week before Easter.
  • Shavout (Feast of Weeks): an agricultural celebration. It falls exactly 7 weeks after Passover. This year it will be June 3rd-June 5th.
  • Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles): celebrates the wandering of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years when they only had God to rely on for food and protection. This also celebrates the last harvest festival before the early rains. It falls 5 days after Yom Kippur – usually in mid-Autumn. This year it will be October 8th-October 15th.
Traveling was not the most pleasant experience during this time. Go back to the family. We counted seven at minimum. Add this number to a few other neighborhood families, load your stuff up on a camel and stick the kids up front to set the pace. Yep. The kids set the pace because most of it was foot travel. Had the adults set the pace, the kids would constantly be dragging behind. NOW. If you google the current distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem you get a nice little map with current traffic and your ETA. It was a journey of 91 miles going the quickest way. In current traffic on a Sunday at 5:57pm, it takes 1 hour, 37 minutes. It takes right at 30 minutes to briskly walk 1 mile. If you use this calculation, it takes an entirely long time to make this trip.

Compare this trip to one your family might have made. Growing up, my family - not just me, Dillon, mom and dad but a total of 19 people – 7 of those were children - made the trek from the mountains of NC to the southern coast of SC. We took six cars and used walkie talkies before cell phones. I imagine this trip was about as close as what I can picture to Jesus’ family’s annual journey. Ours took 7-8 hours driving almost straight through. That always seemed like an ETERNITY.

From reading the Bible we can gather that James and Jesus were close in age. We already mentioned this, but I want to reinforce it. If you have a sibling that is close to you in age, you know what challenges and blessings come with this. Jesus and James more than likely had some serious sibling rivalry being the oldest two children, being close in age, and being boys. James being the younger brother probably looked up to his older brother and tried to live up to his standards. There are two verses that talk about Jesus and his growth during childhood:
  • Luke 2:40 “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”
  • Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
Were you ever in a sibling’s shadow? Reading Luke 2:52, one might feel incapable of living up to the standard of that older sibling. I’m sure this is how James felt most of his life.

 In Mark 3:31-35 we are given some insight into how Jesus felt about his family.
“There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

People came to Jesus and told him that his family was looking for him. He responds with “who is my mother? My brethren?” He looked out over the people he was with and said YOU are my family. He said that whosoever does the will of God are now brothers, sisters, and mothers. This would lead us to believe that his family wasn’t his biggest support system.

In addition to the scripture in Mark, the Bible says in John 7:5 that his own brethren didn’t even believe him. At the time these scriptures were written, the Jews were already looking to kill him due to his claims of being the Messiah. Again, we see his family take a far from supportive role in his life.
John 7:1-5 says “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.” There are several things to point out in these verses:
  • It was during the Feast of the Tabernacles (Sukkot). As earlier mentioned, it was one of the three feasts that men were required to attend.
  • His brothers/relatives seemed to tease him. Paraphrasing: Go on to Judea where all the people can see you do all these so called “miracles” that you say you do. People don’t do things in private and expect to gain popularity for them. You have to do it in public.
  • Jesus responds with “it’s not the right time for me to go.” Why? ANSWER: He would have been traveling with all the other two million Jews making their way to Jerusalem. If this particular group of people were looking to kill you, would you go out in the midst of them? He also tells them that they can go ahead anytime. No one is looking to kill you. At the time of this feast, Jesus traveled alone.


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