He is preceded in death by Joseph bar Jacob, who raised him as his own son. He is survived by his mother, Mary; brothers James, Joses and Judas, and his sisters.
Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem of Judea. His family fled to Egypt when he was two, seeking political asylum.
They returned to Nazareth in Galilee after the death of Herod the Great. Jesus was apprenticed as a carpenter to Joseph, and worked in the family business until his thirties.
He was baptized in the Jordan River by the prophet John bar Zechariah, his cousin. He spent the next 3 years living as an itinerant rabbi, with a small school of 12 disciples. He received the patronage of Joanna, the wife of Chuza (Herod’s steward), Susanna and many others.
He devoted his life to serving the least, the last and the lost, wherever he found them. He proclaimed that the kingdom of God has drawn near, and bore witness to it through liberating people from the demonic, from disease and from the slow death of social exclusion. Despite our repeated warnings, his teaching, his work and especially those whom he chose to call friend inevitably drew the attention of the authorities.
The family wishes to make it clear that his arrest and immediate trial took place without due process. The charges of blasphemy and of being a threat to national security were not corroborated by a single witness. He was humiliated and brutalized in custody before his execution by the State.
He died as he lived: extending forgiveness to those responsible for his death.
He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends – the “sinners” – and by the poor.
The family wish to extend their gratitude to Joseph of Arimathea for covering the funeral expenses.
For more of Jesus’ story, take a look at my first book, “The Story of God, the Story of Us”.
For an introduction to my current series re-imagining the Gospel of Mark, click here.