The mother and brothers of Jesus (Lk 8:19-8:19)

“Then Jesus’ mother

And his brothers

Came to him.

But they could not reach him

Because of the crowd.”

 

Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.

 

Luke said that Jesus’ mother (ἡ μήτηρ) and his brothers (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ) came to him (Παρεγένετο δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν).  However, they could not reach him (καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο συντυχεῖν αὐτῷ) because of the crowd (διὰ τὸν ὄχλον).  Mark, chapter 3:31, and Matthew, chapter 12:46, have something similar.  Mark said that his mother and brothers came to see Jesus, but apparently, they could not reach him because of the crowd, so that they were standing outside.  Matthew said that while Jesus was still speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were standing outside.  They wanted to speak to him.  This brings up all kinds of questions.  Who were these unnamed brothers?  To what extent was Jesus estranged from his family?  According to Matthew, Jesus had been near 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 true biological brother.  However, the Greek language did have a specific 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.  In Mark, chapter 6:3, and Matthew, chapter 13:55–56, there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, but exactly how close a relative is not clear.  Do you know all your relatives?

John sends two disciples to Jesus (Lk 7:18-7:19)

“John summoned

Two of his disciples.

He sent them

To the Lord.

To ask.

‘Are you the one

Who is to come,

Or are we

To wait

For another?’”

 

καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος δύο τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ὁ Ἰωάνης

ἔπεμψεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον λέγων Σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ἢ ἄλλον προσδοκῶμεν;

 

Luke said that John the Baptist summoned two of his disciples (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος δύο τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ὁ Ἰωάνης).  He sent them to the Lord (ἔπεμψεν πρὸς τὸν Κύριον) to ask him if he was the one who was to come (λέγων Σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος)?  Or should they wait for another (ἢ ἄλλον προσδοκῶμεν)?  Matthew, chapter 11:3 has something similar.  John the Baptist sent a few of his disciples, rather than two as indicated by Luke.  Notice that this is the first time that Matthew called Jesus the Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ), while Luke called him the Lord (Κύριον).  Neither called him Jesus.  The question in both Luke and Matthew is exactly the same, indicating a possible Q source.  These disciples of John came to Jesus.  They had one big important question to ask him.  Was Jesus the expected Messiah or should they wait for someone else?  The disciples of John were true messianic Jews, waiting for the Messiah.  Did they not realize that Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist?  In fact, John had already met Jesus, had a conversation with him, and witnessed his baptism.  What more did he need?  In one sense this is strange since Luke already established that John and Jesus were cousins of some sort, so that they would have known each other, to say nothing about John’s baptism of Jesus.  Is Jesus the one that you have been waiting for?

The gospel preaching of John (Lk 3:18-3:18)

“Thus,

With many other exhortations,

John proclaimed

The good news gospel

To the people.”

 

Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν·

 

Only Luke has this explanation that John the Baptist with many other exhortations (Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν), other than those recounted here, proclaimed the good news to the people (εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν).  Was this the same good news or gospel (εὐηγγελίζετο) that Jesus would later preach?  Luke was the only one among the other gospel writers who linked John and Jesus as relatives in chapter 1:36.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Jesus’ mother, Mary, were relatives of some sort, thus making their children relatives or cousins also.  They could be compared in some ways to Aaron and Moses or the later Peter and Paul.  One was superior to the other, but the other played an indispensable role.  John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century CE.  He used baptism, some kind of dipping in water, as the central symbol or sacrament of his messianic movement.  Thus, he became known as the one who baptizes, the Baptizer, John the Baptist.  This John certainly had a relationship with Jesus, but the exact relationship between John and Jesus is also problematic.  They may have originally been co-workers.  However, they separated as Jesus went along a different route.  However, the shadow of John the Baptist appeared again and again in the biblical stories about Jesus and his apostles.  Some believe that Jesus may have been an early follower or disciple of John, but the textual indications are that John saw himself as clearly subservient to Jesus.  Some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John, such as the apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon, in John, chapter 1:40, and in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19:2-6.  There may have been also some contact between John the Baptist and the Qumran-Essene community, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  John might have been associated with them or part of their community for a while.  Thus, John the Baptist has been revered as a prophet and a Christian saint throughout the centuries.

Mary meets Elizabeth (Lk 1:40-1:40)

“Mary entered

The house

Of Zechariah.

She greeted

Elizabeth.”

 

καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον Ζαχαρίου καὶ ἠσπάσατο τὴν Ἐλεισάβετ.

 

Luke had this simple meeting between Mary and Elizabeth.  Luke said that Mary entered the house of Zechariah (καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον Ζαχαρίου).  Then she greeted or paid her respects to Elizabeth (καὶ ἠσπάσατο τὴν Ἐλεισάβετ), as anyone would.  Apparently, these cousins knew each other, but how is not clear.

The family of Jesus (Mk 6:3-6:3)

“‘Is not this the carpenter,

The son of Mary,

The brother of James,

Joses,

Judas,

And Simon?

Are not his sisters

Here with us?’

They took offense

At Jesus.”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ.

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:55-56, while Luke does not go into this problem.  Mark said that the local people asked, whether Jesus was a carpenter (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ῦ τέκτων), not a carpenter’s son as in Matthew?  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Mark explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας).  Were not his brothers there James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος)?  There is a difference in one brother’s name mentioned by Matthew and Mark.  Could Joses be the same as Joseph with a simple letter mistake?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς)?  These relatives took offense or were scandalized by Jesus (καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ).  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus.  These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the words “brother” and “sister” were often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refer to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear

 

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

“Then his mother

And his brothers

Came.

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.

The family of Jesus (Mt 13:55-13:56)

“Is not this the carpenter’s son?

Is not his mother

Called Mary?

Are not his brothers

James,

Joseph,

Simon,

And Judas?

Are not all his sisters with us?

Where then did he

Get all this?’”

 

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας;

καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν; πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα;

 

This story about the relatives of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 6:3.  The local people asked, was he not this carpenter’s son (οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός)?  Matthew did not use the carpenter’s name, when in the prologue Joseph played a major role.  A carpenter could also mean a builder or artisan.  However, Matthew explicitly mentioned the name of Jesus’ mother, Mary, who played a minor role in the prologue.  Was not his mother called Mary (οὐχ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ λέγεται Μαριὰμ)?  Were not his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας)?  Were not all his sisters there with them also (καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ οὐχὶ πᾶσαι πρὸς ἡμᾶς εἰσιν)?  Where then did he get all this  knowledge and power (πόθεν οὖν τούτῳ ταῦτα πάντα)?  Once again there is the question of the brothers and sisters of Jesus as mentioned earlier in chapter 12:46. These brothers and sisters could be biological brothers or sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters from a first marriage of Joseph, or kissing cousins or other close cousins of the family.  The Hebrew and Aramaic language did not have a distinctive word for cousins, so that the word “brother” and “sister” was often used to mean more than a biological brother.  Just as today, people sometimes refers to others as brothers or sisters, when there is no biological link.  Half-brothers often refer to themselves as brothers or sisters today also.  The traditional belief of Christians, even though the Reformation period, has been that Mary was a virgin, so that Jesus was her only son.  However, the Greek language did have a word for cousins.  Here there are explicit names for the brothers of Jesus, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, who may have been leaders in the early Christian community but were never mentioned as disciples.  They clearly were relatives of Jesus, exactly how is not clear