The verse clearly states by itself:

Mark 3:31 Then Jesus’ mother and his brothers came. Standing outside, they sent word to him, to summon him. 3:32 A crowd was sitting around him and they said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you.” 3:33 He answered them and said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 3:34 And looking at those who were sitting around him in a circle, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 3:35 For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Is it correct interpretation to say that Jesus did not entertain His family’s request?

closed as too broad by Peter Turner, David Stratton, svidgen, Dan, fredsbend Aug 26 '13 at 19:19

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    Which "Family" request, His Earthbound or His Eternal Family? – Rick Jul 30 '13 at 11:43
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    I could see this question conceivably being answered from the standpoint of Mary's perpetual sinlessness (e.g., a Catholic standpoint), but even then I think it's speculative. I don't think any traditions dogmatically answer your question. Maybe a question for BH.SE. – svidgen Aug 5 '13 at 21:44
  • Your guess is right because I came up with this question to debunk the claims which I saw in some quarters stating that: Jesus rejected Mary in this verse then why we should venerate her? – Seek forgiveness Aug 6 '13 at 6:56
  • This should be scoped to a doctrinal perspective. I think one that venerates Mary is the only one that would have something to say about this. You are Catholic, yes? So that should be fine. – fredsbend Aug 26 '13 at 19:19

I have come across some interpretations of Mar 3:31-35, where this verse is being quoted by some to portray a kind of rejection by Jesus of His family. To interpret this verse in such a manner is to depict ignorance in understanding of the real and true nature (and message) of Jesus, who is source of all love and taught us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. This interpretation is without any essence since Mary mother of Jesus is much nearer to Him.

This approach of His relatives emanated out of their concern to the safety and wellbeing of Jesus on account of His relentless and unorthodox teachings against the powers at the helm of religious affairs at that time. Jesus makes them known that He is not out of His mind but knows what He is doing by continuing His preaching in spite of their request to meet Him. Jesus never taught us nor did Himself practice rejection of any of His creations. We find at many places in Bible that He said that He has come to save the lost ones. He said that it is sick who needs a doctor not the who one is well. So in a nutshell when it is not in His nature nor His teachings to hurt or reject someone not even sinners nor His own enemies then how one can say that He rejected His own family? When He is the author of the commandment “ Honour your father and mother" how in a figment of imagination can we say that He did not honour His family members.

We can imagine this scene similar to Luke 5:17-19, where Jesus was once again surrounded by a large crowd of people (Mark 3:32) in a hall. He is in the midst of His sermon and with no access to people from outside. Because of the crowd His mother and brothers possibly found it difficult to approach and converse with Him. So they sent a word through others.

In the midst of this teaching when someone from the crowd suddenly tells Him that His mother and brothers are looking out for Him, what Jesus said was in the right perspective. Grabbing this opportunity and possibly stressing further on what He was already teaching them, Jesus proclaims that His relations are not confined to earthly relations in flesh with only a handful of humans but rather with whole of humanity. Jesus is also telling us that whoever hears, accepts and proclaims the Good News is a part of this family which is not bound by blood relations but are related spiritually to each other. We find a similar message being conveyed by Jesus in the following verse:

Luke. 2:48 When his parents saw him, they were overwhelmed. His mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 2:49 But he replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?

With these two instances Jesus is trying to convince to His close relatives that He is not to be confined to a small earthly family but has come to make all those who believe in Him as one big God’s family. Whoever does the will of Father are His mothers, brothers and sisters. It is not that His family did not do the will of the Father. Mary always did the will of the Father and that is how our Saviour came visiting us:

Luke 1:38 So Mary said, “Yes, I am a servant of the Lord; let this happen to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


this Scripture is not regarding who his Earthly Family is. it is telling every person, Sinner or otherwise, that he who does the will of God is a son or daughter of God, and therefore his brother's and sister's.

this Scripture doesn't really have anything to do with Entertaining the Request or not. it comes out as a parable, he is speaking to them outside of the box so to say, he ignores the request for the moment, turns to those whom he is speaking and says these too are my Family.

He is telling them all that they should come to Him, not He to Them. He is saying that He is waiting with open arms to Welcome them. if they think that he is dishonoring them by "refusing" the request, it is their own selfishness that tells them He is being disrespectful, He is waiting for them.

Knock, and it shall be opened. ask and you will recieve.

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    This looks like a good start, would you care to expand on it, maybe adding some references to support it? – wax eagle Jul 30 '13 at 16:20
  • I am at work and don't have a Bible here with me at work. but would definitely give some reference when I get back home. – Malachi Jul 30 '13 at 17:59

Here is the KJV translation followed by a commentary.

Mark 3:31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

You see here that Jesus considers the multitude that sat to be doing the will of God. How are they doing the will of God? They are waiting to learn Torah from the Master. It is God’s will that every man studies Torah. It is a rabbinical teaching that when two or more are gathered together to read Torah, God will be present.

Here Jesus makes a comparison between those who stand and those who sit. Those who sit are ready to study Torah, Jesus calls them brethren. (Perhaps Jesus is suggesting that there is another type of mother - the gathered disciples? Mother M. Angelica, Foundress of EWTN says “The Church is a Mother because she is a Bride who is forever bringing forth children of light …” And from RC Catechism 169: “Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation."55 Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.”)

The Aramaic colloquialism to sit, means to be ready to learn, to be open minded, to sit at the Master’s feet, we might say today. The colloquialism to stand means to challenge the speaker. (In the parable of the good Samaritan, the disciples sat, and the lawyer who challenged Jesus, stood up.) Here the Mother, and His brethren are standing, and calling. This shows that they are not ready to study under the Master. They are in fact challenging what He is doing - He should leave the disciples and come home with them. Jesus had said "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." Mark 6:4 (Mothers, of course, don’t learn from a twelve year old child, they rather boss them around - as Mary did Jesus the adult, at the wedding in Cana. Siblings also don’t obey one another. Only much later during Jesus’s ministry did James became a disciple.)

We who read this passage are being reminded (by the multitude) that though we may have found Jesus we are, perhaps, just like his family, seeking Him while standing outside the synagogue, not yet ready to enter into it, to do the will of God. We only call His name. The Master warns us: “Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; Begone ...' Mt 7:23 a

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