Documentary claims Jesus had 'secret' siblings makes a claim that surprises virtually no one in the church -- the Bible speaks of Jesus' brothers and sisters. According to the article:
Author Dan Brown caused an uproar when he suggested in 'The Da Vinci Code' that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a family. However, a never seen before ancient portrait suggests that though Jesus may have had a family, it might not be the one Brown suggests.
The portrait, which was discovered deep in the wilderness of the Judean desert, in a remote part of the Holy Land in an ancient Greek Orthodox monastery of St Gerasimos, has a highly unusual portrait of the Holy Family, for along with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, it also shows the presence of a fourth member - a young man.
And what makes this young man's presence even more interesting, is the fact that though simply clad in a dark robe and carrying his belongings on a stick, there is a golden halo which envelops his head.
According to a controversial Channel 4 documentary, the man's name is James, and reason why he is included in the picture, is because he happens to be Jesus' blood brother.
James' inclusion in this picture is a clue to a real-life church conspiracy to cover up the fact that Jesus did have a hidden family - his siblings: James, Joses, Simon, Jude (sometimes referred to as Judas), Salome and young Mary, reports the Daily Mail.
Now, of course, the Gospel of Matthew 13:55-56 says:
Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this [man] all these things?
So, exactly how is this a surprise that there is a belief in the church that Jesus had siblings? It seems that the Bible teaches on its face that Mary and Joseph had other children, and these children are identified by name.* Thus, the fact that an ancient painting has been found that depicts a single additional child who is thought to be James (who is also identified as the brother of the Lord in the Bible outside of Matthew) hardly is surprising, is it?
But the article isn't done. You see, everything has to be a conspiracy when it concerns the life of Jesus. So goes the article (and apparently, the documentary):
The documentary also suggests that not only did Jesus' siblings apparently play a crucial role in the founding of Christianity, but that their teachings were so much of a threat to the official church that it ruthlessly tried to eradicate them from history by rewriting Christ's life story, fabricating his place of birth, falsely crediting him with creating the Lord's Prayer and even inventing the idea that his mother Mary remained a virgin throughout her life.
It also implies that James, the man in the portrait, was the one chosen by Jesus to lead the church after his death, and not St Paul, as is commonly believed.
Well, I don't think that anyone who knows the history of Christianity believes that Jesus chose Paul to lead the church -- he was chosen as a missionary to the Gentiles. I also don't believe that the church had to rewrite the story of Christ and change history to eradicate the influence of Jesus' brothers. This is all quite a bedtime story since it appears to be based more on fantasy than fact. Of course, if you are one who likes to follow up on conspiracies, well, then this documentary may be for you. But I encourage you to view it with the same skepticism you would put on the idea of an alien spacecraft crash-landing in Roswell and Chupacabras killing cattle in Mexico. After all, absent some type of amazing factual support that has escaped the Christian church for 1,900 years, this is about as believable.
* Keep in mind, that I am aware of the teachings within the Roman Catholic Church that the people described as "brethern" in Matthew 13 are actually counsins, and while I believe that they were siblings -- half-siblings, that is -- I am certainly not taking the position that the Roman Catholic Church teaching is demonstrably false in this post.