What does Matthew 12:48 mean?
ESV: But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
NIV: He replied to him, 'Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?'
NASB: But Jesus replied to the one who was telling Him and said, 'Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?'
CSB: He replied to the one who was speaking to him, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers? "
NLT: Jesus asked, 'Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?'
KJV: But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
NKJV: But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”
Verse Commentary:
We can combine details from Matthew and Mark's accounts of this story. Doing so sets a clearer scene. Jesus and His disciples are packed into a house with a huge crowd. Because of the large number of people, they have not been able to eat. Jesus' family—Mary and the other sons born to Mary and Joseph—have heard about this (Matthew 12:46). They have come to the house to take charge of Jesus because they believe Jesus is out of His mind (Mark 3:20–21).

Obviously, Mary and Jesus' brothers did not fully understand His role as Messiah, at this point. It's possible, in the case of His half-siblings, they likely don't believe He is the Promised One, at all. Eventually, some of these family members will come to faith in Him as the Christ. Scripture mentions them praying with the disciples after Jesus' death, resurrection, and return to heaven (Acts 1:14).

Jesus responds to the news that His family is outside wanting to speak to Him in a surprising way. He asks, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" He does not reject His attachment to or responsibility for His immediate family. Rather, He uses the moment to radically enlarge the idea of what it means to be a family. He will define family by attachment to His Father in heaven, and not only those related through birth.
Verse Context:
Matthew 12:46–50 finds Jesus teaching inside a house. He receives a message that His mother Mary and His brothers are waiting outside to talk to Him. In response, Jesus points to His disciples. He declares that anyone who does the will of His Father in heaven is His brother and sister and mother, establishing the idea that those who follow Christ and do God's will are meant to be connected like family.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 12 features confrontations between the Pharisees and Jesus over several issues. Among these are working on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, and the source of His power to cast out demons. Jesus counters each argument and rebukes the Pharisees sharply for their obstinate unbelief. He even notes that those who maliciously ascribe His miracles to demons are unforgivable. He warns them, and the rest of their current generation, about the judgment to come. Jesus calls the Pharisees a brood of vipers and rejects their demand for another miracle. All they'll be promised is the sign of Jonah. The Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Jesus also states that all who do His Father's will are His family.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 11 depicted Jesus preaching and teaching after sending out His chosen disciples in pairs in chapter 10. Chapter 12 immediately picks up with more confrontation with the Pharisees. Jesus responds to those criticisms and rebukes their evil hearts as the source of their evil words. In the following chapter, Matthew will shift His focus onto Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/26/2024 9:57:47 AM
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