Jesus was born a member of an immediate family. He had a mother and was raised by Joseph to become a carpenter. He had brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Jude—as well as sisters who are not named in the Bible.
Jesus lived as a real person with a real life, but he did not live a sinful life. Jesus was not the son of Joseph—even though those in Nazareth presumed he was. Jesus is, was, and has always been the Son of God.
Raising a family with the Son of God as the firstborn among brothers is not easy, particularly for sinful people. Jesus’s brothers must have been jealous of him at times. Bible teachers and Church tradition presume that Joseph, Mary’s husband, died during the “quiet” years of Jesus’s life—the years not recorded in the Bible. This may have been a grace to the family. It’s not easy to parent a child who runs off to the temple, impresses the teachers, doesn’t tell mom and “dad” where he is, then mouths off, “Surely you should have known I would be about my Father’s business.” For Joseph’s sin—which everyone has—or for his simple sanity, he needed a break from Jesus. We know, however, that Joseph was a “righteous” man because he heeded the angel who told him Mary’s pregnancy was from God and stood by her through the shame of appearing immoral.
With Nazareth presuming Jesus to be the illegitimate son of Joseph, gossip would have spread. Even the brothers would have been scorned. Especially when someone is good and does what is right, an immoral world presumes that everyone sins just as they do. So, they attribute the results of goodness to greater sins. Jesus and his whole family carried this stigma.
Yet, Jesus was a friend. He welcomed children, discipled brats, let John lay on his chest, gave sight to the blind, healed the lame, encouraged those oppressed by the elite, comforted honest Pharisees, and even counseled Pilate before his crucifixion.
On the cross, Jesus declared John his mother’s adoptive son, looking after friends, family, and his mother, as a son and brother, right up to the end.
Matthew 13:55-56; 19:13-15, John 3:1-21; 7:5-10; 19:8-12, 26-27