Jesus family tree
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Question: What is Jesus' family tree? Do physical descendants live TODAY?
Answer: Several New Testament scriptures confirm the fact that Jesus was NOT the only child born to the family of Joseph and Mary:
"When He (Jesus) had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, 'Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His BROTHERS James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His SISTERS, are they not all with us?' " (Matthew 13:54-56, NKJV)
Notice here that Joseph, the husband of Mary, is not listed. It is probably because he had already died. A parallel account of these verses is in Mark 6:3. There is also mention of Jesus' family tree in Matthew 12:47, etc.
Accounts are sketchy as to what happened to Jesus' brothers and sisters in his family tree after His resurrection. The Bible does give us, however, clues regarding what may have happened to his mother Mary:
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home." (John 19:25-27, NKJV).
The beloved disciple was the apostle John. Jesus and John were highly likely relatives, first cousins, since John's mother, named Mary who was the wife of Clopas, was also the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This begs another question as to where Mary spent the remainder of her life in the care of John.
In Raymond Capt's book, The Traditions of Glastonbury: The Biblical Missing Years of Christ - Answered, the tradition is that John put Mary in the care of an uncle of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich tin merchant who sailed to Britain shortly after the resurrection of Jesus, settling in Southwest England in a village called Glastonbury. This tradition holds that Mary lived there with a few other disciples for 15 years then died. Tradition also states her death occurred in 48 A.D.
Only information about two of Jesus’ physical brothers, James and Jude, is available. The New Testament mentions four men named James:
James, the son of Zebedee, and Salome (cf. Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40) elder brother of the Apostle John (therefore cousin of Jesus). This identifies Zebedee and Clopas as being the same individual.
- James is the name of the son of Alpheus who is one of the disciples of Christ. It is not at all clear whether this is the same James as the son of Zebedee.
James, the father of the Apostle Judas, (not Iscariot) who is referred to in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. Nothing else is known of him.
- 4. James is the name of the physical brother of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 15:7 that the first post-resurrection appearance of the risen Christ was to James who from that time forward gave the rest of his life to Christ. James was an early leader of the Jerusalem Church. The last Biblical mention of James is in Acts 21:18 where the Jerusalem elders exhorted Paul to take a Nazarite vow.
Jude, another brother of Jesus' family tree, also did not believe in him until after His resurrection. Jude is the author of the Epistle that bears his name. No more information exists about the two remaining brothers of Jesus, Joseph and Simon.
The book of Matthew states that he had at least two sisters in the family named Mary and Salome. Parallel accounts in Matthew 27 and Mark 15 link Mary and Salome:
"And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons. " (Matthew 27:55-56, NKJV)
"There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome . . ." (Mark 15:40, NKJV)
Mary, mother of James and Joses, is considered to have been the wife of Clopas (John 19:25). Was she the sister of Jesus? This is a possibility. Salome was the wife of Zebedee and mother of James and John.
Are there people living today who are in the family tree of Joseph and Mary, who would be blood relatives of Jesus? Given that Mary had at least SIX children other than our Savior that (likely) lived to adulthood, there is a high degree of probability at least a few people living today have a genetic link to him. Thank you for your question regard Jesus's family tree!
Written by: Tommy West