The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 44

The Ministry Continues ~ Part 8

We continue our study of The Ministry Continues, beginning in Mattityahu 12:46-50.

Yeshua’s Mother and Brothers

46 He was still speaking to the crowd when His mother and brothers appeared outside, asking to talk with Him.

Brothers. At Mattityahu 13:55, we are given their names. The Roman Catholic tradition is that these “brothers” were more distant relatives; hence their doctrine that Miryam remained a virgin throughout her lifetime. Hebrew ach (“brother”) can have a broader range of meanings than Greek adelphos, and this broader sense could be read from the Synoptic Gospels, which probably had Hebrew or Aramaic backgrounds. But the mention in Sha’ul’s letters, written in Greek for Greek-speakers, of Yeshua’s brothers suggests that the word was meant to have a narrower Greek meaning. Protestants take the word to refer to children born to Miryam after Yeshua’s birth; they would be half-brothers since their physical father, but not Yeshua’s, would have been Yosef. [1]

Yeshua’s earthly stepfather, Josef, is not mentioned in any of the Gospels after the trip to Yerushalayim when Yeshua was 12 (Luke 2:41–51). His absence might indicate that he had died.

47 [Some manuscripts include verse 47: Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, asking to talk with you.”] 48 But to the one who had informed Him, He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to His talmidim, He said, “Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants, that person is my brother and sister and mother.”  ~ Mattityahu 12:46-50 (see also Luke 8:19-21 & Mark 3:31-35).

This is the first of several incidents in which some consider Yeshua’s treatment of His family disrespectful and cavalier, even though elsewhere He affirmed the fifth commandment to honor your father and mother and even disputed with the P’rushim about it (Matt. 15:4–6). Why did His family wish to see Him? We do not know for sure; we do know that His brothers had little understanding of His ministry (Yochanan 7:2–9) and that His mother, even though she had been given unique insight through the angel Gavri’el (Luke 1:26–56) and Shim‛on and Chanah (Luke 2:25–38), was at times puzzled by His actions (e.g., Lk 2:41–51), although upon being reminded by Him, she could summon up a measure of trust (Yochanan 2:3–5).

They may have wanted to bring Him food and supplies out of concern for His well-being, or, fearing the opposition, they may have wanted to stop or even seize Him (as His friends had wanted to, Mark 3:21). Under such circumstances, when busy ministering to a crowd and fielding opposition, Yeshua may have found it best to communicate that even though blood is thicker than water, spiritual family ties supersede physical ones. His remarks do not come from a lack of respect but from His desire to point to the Kingdom of God. Eventually, His relatives became members of His spiritual family. (Acts 1:14, Galatians 1:19). [2]

In our next post, we will pick back up in Luke 11:33-36. We will continue in Luke until we finish the topic of The Ministry Continues.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.

[2] Ibid.

1 thought on “The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 44

  1. Pingback: The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 44 — My Heart is for Israel | Talmidimblogging

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