Luke 8:21

ESV But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
NIV He replied, 'My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.'
NASB But He answered and said to them, 'My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.'
CSB But he replied to them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear and do the word of God."
NLT Jesus replied, 'My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.'
KJV And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

What does Luke 8:21 mean?

Unlike Mark, Luke doesn't record any criticism of Jesus' family, but that's consistent as Mark regularly records Jesus' frustration with His own disciples. Some suggest Luke's soft tone is because the initial nativity section (Luke 1:39–45) established that Jesus' family knows who He is.

Also likely, Luke is simply focused on his task. The theme of Luke 8:4–18 is how people are responsible to listen carefully to Jesus' words, allow them to reach and train their hearts, and bring about good works. This small aside stresses how important that instruction is. Even Jesus' mother is not exempt. If she and His brothers do not listen to and accept His words, they are not His family. The audience members who do listen and obey are His true family.

Fortunately, we know the biological family's rejection is temporary. After Jesus ascends into heaven, Mary and Jesus' brothers are in the upper room with the disciples and, apparently, present when the Holy Spirit falls on them at Pentecost (Acts 1:13–14; 2:1–3). Jesus' brother Judas / Jude wrote the book of Jude, and His brother James authored the book in his name and seems to have been the pastor of the church in Jerusalem (Mark 6:3; Acts 15; Galatians 1:19: Jude 1:1).

The parable of the sower illustrates how, just as seed needs good soil to grow, God's Word cannot produce good fruit in a hardened or distracted heart (Luke 8:4–8). The other Gospels present Jesus' words as "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven…" (Matthew 12:50) or "…the will of God…" (Mark 3:35). To do God's will, we must first hear it, and hearing is an important theme in Luke 8. It's good to know God sows His Word many times for us (2 Peter 3:9).
What is the Gospel?
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