Matthew 13:55 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 13:55, NIV: Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?

Matthew 13:55, ESV: Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?

Matthew 13:55, KJV: Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Matthew 13:55, NASB: Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is His mother not called Mary, and His brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?

Matthew 13:55, NLT: Then they scoffed, 'He's just the carpenter's son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers--James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.

Matthew 13:55, CSB: Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?

What does Matthew 13:55 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has returned to His childhood hometown of Nazareth. He has taught in the synagogue and has likely performed some miracles, the very things which have caused huge crowds to follow Him around Galilee for some time. Here in Nazareth, though, the people are offended by Jesus (Matthew 13:57).

The questions being asked here are not worshipful or sincere. Rather, they're dismissive, even sarcastic. The tone of their response is along the lines of saying, "who does Jesus think He is? We know this guy. Where did He come up with all of this?" Their response to Jesus is to ignore what's happening by saying, "oh, I already know what I think about Him."

As in Mark's gospel, the townspeople point out that they saw Jesus growing up. Most likely, both Jesus and Joseph worked as craftsmen in that region (Mark 6:3). Historians suggest there might have been high demand for masons and carpenters in Nazareth when Jesus was growing up to rebuild a nearby city that had burned. Joseph's adopted son Jesus likely worked in the same profession before beginning His public ministry and moving away. It's possible that Joseph has died by this time, but the people still remember him.

In the same way, the people declare that they know Jesus' family. They know Him as the son Mary and brother to her other sons, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. Jesus is normally described as a half-brother to those four, since He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18) and the others were born in normal fashion to Joseph and Mary.

In short, the townspeople declare that since they already know who Jesus is—a carpenter's son and normal resident—there is no reason to think He could be anything else. Certainly, it's not possible He could be powerful or important. Whether it is this same visit or not, Luke describes a moment when the people of Nazareth attempt to kill Jesus, in part, for claiming to be the Messiah (Luke 4:16–29).

No matter how powerful His preaching or miracles might be, Jesus will never be accepted by those who insist they know better. Even today, believers and non-believers alike often cling to inaccurate ideas about Christ. In their minds, they "already know" Jesus, and have nothing to learn.