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Question

The angels spoke to Mary and Joseph revealing who Jesus would be. Why then were his family unbelieving once His ministry started?

Answer

Thank you so much for your honest spiritual enquiry. What a great question!

It is possible that you are referring to John 7:1-5 where it says:

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Yes indeed, Jesus was without the honour He deserved in his home town, and even among His relatives, especially those he lived with.

And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honour except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house." (Mark 6:2-4)

There is a well known idiom which says ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ In other words, once people get close to you and get to know you and your faults and failings, then they will no longer respect you.

Jesus had no faults nor failings, however, He was still their big brother who been in the mundane and normal days of all their lives. Mary and Joseph had a very special love for Him and the miracle of water into wine at Cana might have been arresting but more miracles may have been needed to prove to them that this man was more than their brother, with whom they had eaten with everyday.

For sure, the large crowds who followed Jesus were notable, as was even the family’s inability to oftentimes get near Him because of all the public attention and He was obviously a sensation, but for now just a local one, and what was really needed was to see what the rulers in Jerusalem thought of Him and we all know how that went!

James and Jude, the half-brothers of Jesus later both became influential leaders in the church. It may even have been after the resurrection of Jesus that they were finally convinced as to who he really was.

He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:4-7)

'James the just', as he is known, after seeing his half-brother Jesus so terribly put to death, would appear to have an unrecorded but also very personal post resurrection meeting with Jesus and it may have been the impact of this final revelation to him personally was then substantially spread within the rest of the family, and so much so, that Jude, that other notable half-brother of Jesus is also mightily affected and found amongst the writers of the New Testament.

In summary, you could say that the three year ministry of Jesus eventually had a very deep effect on the thinking of the family members regarding claims of their half-brother. However, it was His death and resurrection and more especially their meeting of the resurrected Christ which changed the world for them forever. It is no different today for you, or for your family; it is a personal meeting with the resurrected Lord that will change your life forever.

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • Luke 2:42-47
  • Mark 3:21
  • Matthew 10:34-39

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

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*All Scripture references are taken From The New King James Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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