At John 21: 4-5 we see a post-resurrection event when Jesus addresses the disciples as children:

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?

Elsewhere, we see Jesus referring to them as brothers:

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."(Matt 28:10)

I am curious to know the significance of two different types of attributes viz. 'brothers' and 'children' used by Jesus while referring to his disciples.

What do the teachings of Catholic Church say about their significance?


I am not a catholic but I believe the key is in the phrase:

"yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus".

Jesus knew that they did not know and addressed them accordingly. He then asked them to cast the net on the "right side" and only when that resulted in a huge catch of fish they realize it is the Lord (21:7).

Note that this was not the first time Jesus called them children. He did so even before his crucifixion.

Quoting from the NASB:

John 13:33 "Little children, I am with you a little while longer You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'

In the other instance, Jesus spoke to the women who met Him after the resurrection and wanted them to pass on His message to the disciples. In this context, it was required to call them His "brothers" to make it clear to them who He was referring to. This was a common way Jesus referred to His disciples and the women knew that.

Matthew 12:49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers!

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