7640 - Mothers and Brothers

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Frequently, the family of Jesus is overlooked.

Today, we will look into Luke 8:19-21. These verses talk about the family of Jesus.

Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."

He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."

In this short passage we may have the key to understanding why so little mention is made to the family of Jesus in the Bible.

What do we know about his family? We hear the hometown crowd — the people of Nazareth — speaking in amazement regarding Jesus during one of his visits to Nazareth. Listen to some of their words as found in Mark 6:2 & 3. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”

We observe here that Mary brought forth at least six other children. Four brothers are named and at least two girls are included in that word sisters which appears in plural form. Matthew 13 (v55-56) affirms this same information. So Jesus did not grow up in isolation. There were brothers and sisters with which he rubbed shoulders, and shared ideas.

During ministry there were many busy days in which Jesus was surrounded by people to the point that he and his disciples could not even get an opportunity to have a meal. We get a glimpse into the turmoil of thinking within his family during one of these busy days when we read in Mark 3:21: “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’.”

We can understand that there was consternation in the family. We do not know their motives. It could have been they were truly concerned. It could have been some family members were embarrassed at some of the negative notoriety.

We also know that his own brothers did not believe in him (John 7:5) while he was involved in active ministry. Apparently their unbelief was swept away by the crucifixion and resurrection, since we find his brothers included with other believers in prayer in Acts 1:14. This is about all we really know about the family of Jesus during his lifetime.

The passage for today says that the mother and brothers of Jesus came to see him, but they were not able to get near him. The statement which this incident brought from the lips of Jesus is revealing. Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice.”

Jesus entered this world on a mission. That mission was to reveal the invisible God to the human descendants of Adam. He was focused upon this task throughout his ministry. The words of Jesus as well as his many marvelous actions were meant to reveal the character and nature of the invisible Father to us in visible terms (John 1:18). Of course, this mission was to culminate in Jesus dying on the cross as the only acceptable, perfect sacrifice to atone for the sum total of the sins of humanity.

The death and resurrection of Jesus marks the focus of all history. Before this time people looked forward to the coming Savior. After that event, people look back to the Savior who died to reconcile all who believe, with the glorious, exalted, holy, Sovereign God. Praise Him, for through His grace we are permitted to be called His children.

Jesus said His family was composed of those who receive God’s Word and then obey all that’s commanded. It was this future family which occupied the vision of family in the soul of Jesus. We are told in Hebrews 2:11, “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

How richly He has blessed us!