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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: Jesus' Family
By Donna Carrico


The word "in-law" means related by marriage. Isn't that simple? Not really, in today's world with all our divorces and remarriage. We often have several sets of in-laws. At some points in our lives we would rather call them "out-laws"! None of us have probably escaped without hearing at least one mother-in-law joke.

We often forget that Jesus had in-laws. He had half brothers, James, Joses, Juda, and Simon. He also had some half sisters who were not named. I assume most of them were married. It was the custom that a man's life was full when he had a wife and children. Therefore Jesus would have had Brother-in-laws and Sister-in-laws.

They were offended by him. I can imagine them saying, "Raise the dead, heal the sick, and cast out devils?" "Who does he think he is anyway?" I am sure it was the talk of the town when he walked on water. The Bible tells us about Jesus' family.

Mat 13:55-58 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? (56) And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (57) And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. (58) And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Because of their lack of respect, acceptance, and absence of faith, they would not have the same reactions as we commonly have today. We often go to great lengths to please our in-laws. We think, "Oh, my. It is that time again. Are my towels hung straight? Can you see your reflection in my coffee table and windows?" It is not that our in-laws really say anything about those things to our faces. Is it just those hidden thoughts that any moment something we forgot to check will be exposed. We usually strive to please our in-laws by fixing their favorite foods on holidays. Even if we dislike them, publicly we are on our good behavior and usually do not express our true thoughts.

How Jesus' heart must have ached because of their rejection. Jesus' family barely accepted him as their half brother. Jesus had no wife to chit chat with the other women in the family, and the half brothers probably did not feel comfortable talking to him about family problems.

Our relationships often change with our in-laws. Praise God this happened in Jesus' family. We can find historical evidence in the writings of Eusebius (C. 263-339).

In Book 1:1 "Then there was JAMES who was known as the brother of the Lord. For he too was called Joseph's son, and Joseph Christ's father, though in fact the Virgin was his betrothed, and before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit, as the inspired Gospel narrative tells us. This James, as the, whom the early Christians surnamed the Righteous' because of his outstanding virtue, was the first (as the records tell us) to be elected to the episcopal throne of the Jerusalem church?"

In III.11: "After the martyrdom of JAMES and the capture of Jerusalem which instantly followed, there is a firm tradition that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord who were still alive assembled from all parts together with those who, humanly speaking, were kinsmen of the Lord--for most of them were still living.

Then they all discussed together whom they should choose as a fit person to succeed James, and voted unanimously that SIMEON, son of the Cleophas mentioned in the gospel narrative (John 19:25) was a fit person to occupy the throne of the Jerusalem church. He was, so it is said, a cousin of the Saviour, for Hegesippus tells us that Cleophas was Joseph's brother."(http://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/euseb_ch.html)

Therefore, since there was a cousin and other family members with their stories preserved in the writings of an early church father, Eusebius, we have no reason to doubt that Jesus also had in-laws.

When we have problems with our own in-laws, let us reflect on what our Lord and Savior endured with his own in-laws. There is hope that love can truly overcome a multitude of sins. Jesus never let their rejection keep Him from doing what He was called to do. Let us follow His supreme example.

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Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw05/15/08
I love this. So much to think on here. Love the way you illustrated today's relationship with our inlaws to that as it might have been in Scripture. Great admonishment and message for us as believers. Well done!
Colin Swann05/21/08
Thanks for your informative piece. My personal view is that Christian and Bible based writing should be important to Christians. A normal week in the weekly writing competion: the split between Christian and what could be called secular items is about 70% to 30% in favour of secular.

So thank you once again for your article.