Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Testament view on the life of Jesus

The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the main sources of information for the traditional Christian narrative of Jesus' life.

Genealogy and family

The Gospels give two accounts of Jesus' genealogy: one in the male line through his legal father Joseph of Nazareth (Matt 1:2–16 and one through his mother, Mary, while referencing his supposed father; Luke 3:23–38). Both accounts trace his line back to King David and from there to Abraham. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ between David and Joseph. Matthew starts with Solomon and proceeds through the kings of Judah to the last king, Jeconiah. After Jeconiah the line of kings terminated when Babylon conquered Judah. Thus, Matthew shows that Jesus is the legal heir to the throne of Israel. Luke's genealogy is longer than Matthew's; it goes back to Adam and provides more names between David and Jesus, thus giving us direct descendants from Adam to Jesus through Mary.

Joseph of Nazareth appears only in descriptions of Jesus' childhood. With Jesus commending Mary into the care of the beloved disciple during his crucifixion (John 19:25–27), it is likely that he had died by the time of Jesus' ministry. Both Matthew 13:55–56 and Mark 6:3 tell of Jesus' relatives. Mark 6:3 reports that those hearing Jesus asked, "Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, mentions at 1:19 that "I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother." The first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also describes James the Just as "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ" (translation of William Whiston), though this passage has been suggested as an interpolation (see Josephus on Jesus). Additionally, the Christian historian Eusebius (who wrote in the 4th century but quoted earlier sources that are now lost) refers to James the Just as Jesus' brother (see Desposyni). However, Epiphanius argued that they were "Joseph's children by his (unrecorded) first wife", while Jerome argued that they were "Jesus' cousins". The Greek word adelphos in these verses is often translated as brother in many Bible translations. However, the word can refer to any familial relation, and Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, along with certain other Christians, cite later revelations concerning the perpetual virginity of Mary, contend the correct translation of adelphos is kinsman or cousin.

Includes Mark Farner's remake of his own classic Grand Funk Railroad song, "Some Kind of Wonderful"


Obie Holmen said...

I think your summary of the evidence is quite accurate. I have viewed the issues of Jesus' family through the lens of historical fiction. With apologies for the blatant self promotion, my work entitled "A Wretched Man, a novel of Paul the apostle" follows the parallel lives of Paul and James, and their conflict over the issue of Gentile inclusion, as the main plotline. As fiction, the novel freely imagines the personalities and motivations of these early leaders, but all built on a solid framework of the available historical evidence. Interested persons may click on my name for more information.

Elohim-Reigns said...

Thanks for the comments. As long as the idea is promoting things of God as the source of motivation in creating your work, I would not call it self-promotion. Best wishes.

Elohim Reigns Supreme




Blog Archive

Desiring God Blog

Youth for Christ International