Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Luke 8:19-21]-October 10, 2017

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

19 Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

This short snippet is a much larger scene in Mark’s gospel. The passage in Matthew 12 is virtually identical to the one in Luke. However, in Mark 3, Jesus is not only confronted by His family but also by the Pharisees. It’s a difficult passage to read because it contains the “unforgivable sin” passage. For the purpose of understanding this passage in Luke we must visit Mark’s telling of the story.

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:20-34)

After reading Mark’s version it appears that Luke cleaned the story up a bit to simplify the difficult parts. However, most scholars conclude that Mark’s version of the story is most likely to be a correct telling of the story. This is likely true for a few reasons.

  1. Mark was written before Luke
  2. Historical revisions tend to make difficult passages simpler rather than more difficult
  3. The version in Mark has more teaching than story telling. The “sayings” of Jesus are typically thought to be more original and better preserved than the stories told about Jesus. For example, the stories that tell of Jesus’ childhood where he terrorizes other kids his age with his God-like powers.

With that aside, the main point of this passage is about the larger context of Luke’s narrative, which currently is about Jesus’ disciples understanding what it takes to be a disciple. Jesus has been teaching about action, about doing, about consistency. His family and His disciples are those who DOES God’s will, not just listens to it.

[Featured image titled: “Christ Blessing the Children“]

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