Archives For Brother of Jesus

295024_10151240304491769_259193053_nTurns out, a whole lot of people didn’t realize Jesus had siblings.

They pop up in several places in the Gospels and they’re mentioned in the Epistles as well.

Luke in the Book of Acts makes clear that one of them was at the very center of the church. But they’re almost completely missing from today’s Church’s worship music.

(The cynic in me would argue that’s because Jesus is missing from today’s Church’s worship music too- because the songs are all, really, about us.)

I guess this could be a function of how much emphasis Christians place on Jesus’ divinity to the exclusion of his humanity. Maybe it’s simply easier to push Jesus’ other siblings to the side (just like we do with Joseph, those siblings’ father) than wrestle with the paradox the incarnation.

Indeed Catholic Dogma, which believes in the perpetual virginity of Mary, pushes them so far aside it pushes them right out of Jesus’ immediate family, insisting the word translated ‘brothers and sisters’ in most New Testaments really means ‘cousins.’ But it doesn’t. The New Testament has a word for ‘cousins’

Cousins.

James as in the ‘Letter of’ is the most famous of Jesus’ siblings. At some point after Easter, James went from bystander to disciple to leader in the Jerusalem Church. He was eventually condemned by the Sanhedrin, like Jesus, and was stoned to death.

We mentioned James at several points during our worship service this past weekend, and due the dearth of James-mentioning music, our worship leader, Andreas Barrett wrote a bluegrass song: Jesus and James (Brother of Mine).

I’m sorry I don’t have audio of it but thought you might appreciate the lyrics:

Jesus and James (Brother of Mine) ♦ Music and Words by Andreas Barrett

 

Looking back on the days when you and I were made,

Who’d have thought that things would turn out like they did?

We were two peas in a pod, but only one the son of God;

Who’d have thought that you were more than just a kid?

 

Brother, you could be a thorn in my side

But Jesus, I remember how we laughed until we cried.

 

Only caring for today, childhood carried us away

And we followed each adventure where it went.

Telling secrets just for two, but time is fleeting so it flew

And in a moment all our innocence was spent.

 

We would run and play just like the rest,

Never knowing growing up would put us to the test.

 

Brother, O brother of mine,

Sometimes you confuse me, but I’ll always toe the line.

I’ll tell the world my brother is divine, vine, vine—

Jesus, save a place for me, ‘cause I don’t mind.

 

When I ranted, you would turn; I had so much more to learn

In a world that soon would never be the same.

While you breathed, I lived a lie; now you’re breathless. 

So am I, ’cause nothing’s left to do but take the blame.

 

We would live and love just like our friends,

Growing older, sowing the beginning of the end.

 

I saw blood and water flow from your side;

Jesus, now you’ll never be denied.

 

Brother, O brother of mine,

Sometimes you confuse me, but I’ll always toe the line.

I’ll tell the world my brother is divine, vine, vine—

Jesus, save a place for me, ‘cause I don’t mind.

 

Brother, O brother of mine,

Sometimes you drive me crazy, but I’ll never draw the line.

You bled for me and now I’m gonna die, die, die—

I’ll see you, Jesus, on the other side.