19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.
20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
1901 ASV Translation:
19 And there came to him his mother and brethren, and they could not come at him for the crowd.
20 And it was told him, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
21 But he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these that hear the word of God, and do it.
I. The Coming of Jesus' "Mother and Brethren".
A. First in our consideration is the question of why Luke would stick this little three-verse segment into his record at all, let alone at this place. What does this record mean?
1. To look at the question in view of the overall chapter and its point is our first pursuit.
a. The overall impact of the chapter has to do with the relationship of 8:1 to 9:1-2. It seems to be inescapable that 8:1 tells us of Jesus' activity and 9:1-2 tells us that He intended that His disciples get involved in that same activity. This strongly suggests that the intervening material is preparatory: getting the Twelve ready for their introduction to His work.
b. Then there is an extended text dealing specifically with imparting to the disciples an understanding of the "mysteries of the Kingdom of God". If effective, these parables would lay a foundation in the disciples' Love/Faith system for participating in the proclamation of that Kingdom.
c. After that we have the text before us in this study.
d. That is followed by a record of a storm at sea that centers upon Jesus' question: "Where is your faith?".
e. Then comes an extended record of the exorcism of "Legion" that concludes with Jesus "commissioning" the delivered one to "shew how great things God hath done unto thee" and that one doing just as he was "commissioned" (this seems to be a kind of harbinger for the 9:1-2 "commissioning" of the Twelve).
f. This, in turn, is followed by a doubled up record (a record in a record) wherein both records focus upon "thy faith hath made thee whole" and "fear not: believe...".
g. This flow seems to lead inexorably to the conclusion that Jesus' "preparation" of His disciples is intended to focus upon two basic matters: one, the actual nature of the Kingdom that is to be proclaimed; and, two, the requisite attitude of those who are to participate in that Kingdom.
h. The implication regarding the record of the coming of Mary and the brothers, then, is that they represent what the disciples are to NOT embrace.
2. If this record means, "Do not stumble here", we should find the issue developed also in other places.
a. Luke 12:53 is one such text. Jesus declared that "I am come to give ... division [on the earth]". In that context, He declared that "daughters" will be "against" mothers and mothers-in-law.
b. Luke 14:26 is another such text. Jesus pointedly said that "If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." The "cannot" in the Greek language is of the strongest possible form.
c. And finally there is Luke 18:29-30: "...Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."
3. We conclude, then, that there is a significant potential for blockage to the process of becoming a disciple in "family" and, thus, it needs to be properly identified. Jesus declares that His "family" is not those of the same blood; rather, it is of those who are of the same commitment to both hear and do the words of God (8:21).
a. By this means, Jesus maintains the value of "family" while rejecting that value when it is perverted into an excuse for unbelief and disobedience.
b. "Family" is what the entire Kingdom of God is about. From the "new birth" into the "Father's" family to the construction of the New Jerusalem, there is a potent commitment to "family" properly identified.
B. Second in our consideration are the terms Luke/Jesus used to describe this potential problem.