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The Scriptorium

Jesus' Family

Mary, His brothers, and you and me. Luke 8.19-21

Luke 8 Part 1 (4)

Pray Psalm 105.6-11.
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the LORD our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance”…

Sing Psalm 105.6-11.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
You holy children of Abraham, You chosen ones of Jacob, stand!
He is our Lord, of wondrous worth; His judgments are in all the earth.

He will His covenant faithfully guard – His oath, the promise of His Word.
That which He to our fathers swore, He will perform forevermore!

Read Luke 8.1-21; meditate on verses 19-21.


1. Who was seeking to see Jesus?

2. Whom did Jesus identify as His relations?

One of the recurring scandals of Jesus’ ministry was that He was forever reaching out to the Gentiles, doing good, hobnobbing with them, and offering them forgiveness and the Kingdom of God. To the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, this just would not do.

But that’s because they failed to heed the Word of God given from the time of Abraham throughout the entirety of the Old Testament. God always intended to bring the Gentiles into the family of His people, to make them Israel who never were Israel. Anyone who heard the Good News of the Kingdom, repented of their sins, forsook all, and followed Jesus would be grafted into the family of God and considered part of the true Israel. Paul makes this very clear (cf. Rom. 4.13-18; 11.1-12).

The arrival of Jesus’ family, “seeking to speak with Him” (Matt. 12.46), gave Jesus an opportunity to illustrate this aspect of His teaching. Surrounded by a “crowd” (v. 19), which included folks “from every city” (v. 4) and likely some Gentiles, Jesus extended the privileges of relationship with Him beyond His mother and brothers to all “who hear the word of God and do it” (v. 21). He intended no disrespect to Mary and His siblings. Rather, He welcomed all who truly believe into a familial status like that of His kindred in the flesh, which is to say, into the family of His heavenly Father (cf. Jn. 1.12). That includes you and me.

Typical of Jesus, He did not explain what He meant by this. He simply launched this gesture out into the crowd and let those who had ears to hear think about it, ponder it, and marvel. As we should, too.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
I’m going to digress here for a moment and talk about good manners. However, in doing so, I do not mean to diminish Mary or the brothers; but really, their timing was off. Picture in your mind this crowd swarming around Jesus, Who has just told this amazing parable about Kingdom entrance, understanding, and work; and a challenge to take heed how you hear this teaching. It is a dramatic moment, full of heightened emotions and thoughts. And into this mix, Mom and the family want a word.

Of course, they had every right to do what they did, and request what they requested, but was it the right time? I don’t know. And because I don’t, I maybe shouldn’t be saying anything about it. But just as a casual observer I think we could learn something about the proper place and time for things. We must always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. As Solomon penned: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…” (Eccl. 3.1). The digression is over.

So, now let’s move forward into the beauty of Jesus’ gracious words to His hearers: “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it” (Lk. 8.21). Do you want to be a mother of Jesus?

Do the word of God. Do you want to be His brother? Do the word of God. Do you want to be His sister? Then do the word of God. It is very straightforward and plain to anyone who chooses to hear. Do we want to be in His family? Then we must hear the word of God and do it!

If we haven’t been in the family, we can be in the family. If we have strayed from family life, we can return home. It is never too late to repent and be in a familial relationship with Jesus. As Nehemiah prayed, “Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name” (Neh. 1.8, 9).

And the words that solidify our relationship, secure us in the family, and determine our present and future life? They are words prayed by our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, to His heavenly Father: “I pray for them, I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (Jn. 17.9, 10). All His.

Settled. Secure. In Jesus’ family.

For reflection
1. What does it mean to you to be in the family of Jesus?

2. How would you explain to an unbelieving friend how they could become part of that family?

3. Families take care of one another. Will you see other members of Jesus’ family today? How will you encourage them?

Great encouragement is given to those who prove themselves faithful hearers of the word, by being doers of the work. Christ owns them as his relations.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 8.19-21

Pray Psalm 105.26-45.
Thank the heavenly Father for sending Jesus to deliver us from our captivity to sin, to bring us into the precious and very great promises of the covenant, to enrich us with the gift of His Spirit and every good gift for ministry, and to carry out all the promises of His Word. Commit yourself to following Him and all His commandments today.

Sing Psalm 105.26-45.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
He brought His people from Egypt alive, and made their joy and song revive.
He made the nations’ land their own, and all the wealth that they had known.

To them He granted the promised land, the portion of His gracious hand.
Though they were few, and wandered far, He kept them close within His heart.

So let us all in our Savior confide, and in His holy Law abide.
Let us observe His glorious Word, and praise our sovereign, faithful Lord!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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