Jesus’ mother and brothers come to him (Mk 3:31-3:31)

“Then his mother

And his brothers


They were

Standing outside.

They sent to him.

They called him.”


Καὶ ἔρχονται ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔξω στήκοντες ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν καλοῦντες αὐτόν.


Luke, chapter 8:19, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came (Καὶ ἔρχονται ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ), but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd.  They were standing outside (καὶ ἔξω στήκοντες).  They sent for him (ἀπέστειλαν πρὸς αὐτὸν).  They called Jesus (καλοῦντες αὐτόν).  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  Jesus had been close to John the Baptist and his early apostles Peter, Andrew, John, James and Matthew.  These brothers could be biological brothers, half-brothers from a first marriage of Joseph, or cousin relatives.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  The traditional belief of Christians, even through the Reformation period, had been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only divine son.  Thus, here the unnamed mother and the unnamed brothers of Jesus were outside wanting to speak to Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.

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