What does Luke 8:20 mean?
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.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Luke 8:19–21 is a real-world example of the previous two lessons. The parable's sower spread good seed, but the harvest depends on the receptivity of the soil. The good news is spread like a lamp on a stand, but people must hear the message and see the light to respond. In a similar way, Jesus' mother and brothers do not listen (yet), so His followers become His new family. Jesus' family's concerns are also found in Matthew 12:46–50 and Mark 3:20–21, 31–35.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 8 includes portions of three sections of Jesus' Galilean Ministry. The women who support Jesus' ministry bridge the faithful outcasts of chapter 7 to the sower who spreads the news of God's kingdom (Luke 8:1–3). Luke 8:4–18 includes the parables of the sower and the lamp under the jar. These illustrate the importance of hearing Jesus' message with a mind to believe and obey. Luke 8:19–56 presents different faith reactions when Jesus' life, power, and authority elicit questions about His identity.
Chapter Context:
This passage continues Luke's pattern in the account of Jesus' Galilean ministry: alternating calls to discipleship with stories that describe the discipleship He expects. In Luke 6:17, Jesus transitioned from calling and training the Twelve to a more general call; in Luke 7, Jesus interacted specifically with those with less privilege in society. Chapter 8 reveals how people react when Jesus reveals who He is, mostly through miracles. In Luke 9:18–50, Jesus returns to intense discipleship of the Twelve to give them courage and faith, preparing them for the journey to Jerusalem and what they will witness there.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 4/16/2024 12:09:13 PM
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