Luke 8:20

ESV And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.”
NIV Someone told him, 'Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.'
NASB And it was reported to Him, 'Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.'
CSB He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."
NLT Someone told Jesus, 'Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you.'
KJV And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.

What does Luke 8:20 mean?

Jesus is at home, possibly in Peter and Andrew's house in Capernaum. He has been teaching and ministering so much He hasn't had time to eat. His mother and brothers have heard and have come to "seize" Him. Their intent is likely to take Him back to Nazareth (Mark 3:20–21). We're not told why, but they may be getting pressure from neighbors or even religious leaders to get Him under control.

The house is filled with people. When Jesus teaches on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the crowds are so great He climbs into a boat just off the shore so He can teach (Mark 4:1–2). In one event, Jesus taught in a house so crammed with people that a paralytic's friends had to rip apart the roof to get the man to Jesus for healing (Mark 2:1–12). Jesus' mother and brothers are less zealous and simply send a message.

We know that Jesus loves and respects Mary. His address to her at the wedding at Cana is one of honor (John 2:4). As He is dying on the cross, one of His last acts is to make sure John cares for her (John 19:25–27). But He must do what His Father in heaven tells Him to do (John 5:36; 6:38; 12:49), even if that means making Mary wait.

This passage is problematic for Roman Catholics and others who insist Mary remained a virgin her whole life. They say that Jesus' "brothers" are either sons of Joseph's first wife or cousins. Absolutely nothing in the Bible suggests this; in fact, the Bible routinely refers to these persons clearly indicating they are Jesus' siblings (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; Acts 1:14; Galatians 1:19). The idea that these "brothers" are spiritual friends or fellow Jews is also not supported by text or context. There is no reason to assume Mary did not have more children after Jesus, just as there is no theological justification to insist she remained a virgin.

This event is also challenging to those who assume Jesus' mother, and other family, had advanced knowledge of His ministry since His birth. The truth is that Mary had to learn by experience and could not always anticipate Jesus' next steps.
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