Okay, let’s clear up another misconception. Jesus had siblings. He was the oldest child.
Luke 2:7 “7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
– The dictionary defines “firstborn” as being first in the order of birth or the eldest. As precise as the Bible is in detail, this was included for a reason. Jesus had siblings born after Him. It would not be necessary to specify Him as the first child if He was the only child as it is necessary to point out that He is the only begotten Son of God.
– (Just my sidenote) I believe it was necessary to be the first child for a couple reasons. First, He had to be born of a virgin. If He was a younger brother, then the mother would obviously not be a virgin. Secondly, all firstborn were to be sanctified to God. Exodus 13:1-2 “1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”
Matthew 13:53-37 “53And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”
– These questions are asked by people that grew up knowing Jesus. Here, they identify Jesus as being the son of the carpenter Joseph, His mother being Mary, identify four brothers and unnamed sisters (plural). (See Mark 6:3 for a similar verse)
Matthew 12:46-50 “46While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
– Jesus did not develop amnesia here when He asked who His mother and brothers were. He was making a point about His spiritual family. He understood what they were saying and knew His mother and siblings were just outside.
Galatians 1:19 “19But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.”
– This is written from the apostle Paul.
Jude 1 “1Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:”
– Jude/Judas/Juda is the brother of Jesus. However, he did not become a follower of Jesus until after His resurrection. I believe his humility is shown here as he identifies himself as the brother of James and as the servant of Jesus Christ.
John 2:11-12 “11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. 12After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.”
– Notice how there is a distinction between the brethren and disciples of Jesus? The Bible makes it very clear that they are two separate groups of people here.
John 7:3-5 “3His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5For neither did his brethren believe in him.”
– During the ministry of Jesus, His brothers (not just anyone that came to observe Him – his brothers) did not believe in Him. They tell Him to show His disciples works.
Acts 1:13-14 “ 13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
– Again, there is a distinction made between the disciples of Jesus and those who were His brothers by birth through Mary.
If we’re going to be honest, the Bible clearly shows Jesus had younger brothers and sisters. I believe they are not emphasized because we cannot get to Heaven by blood, relation or past abilities used for God. Neither Mary nor His siblings got an automatic pass to Heaven because they were related to Jesus or used by God. Jesus clearly stated that those that “do the will of His Father in Heaven” are those that will share inheritance in Heaven. God is no respecter of persons. We all have to come to God with repentance and humility and be prepared to be led in the direction He has destined for us.