“Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you. He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’ “
Luke 8.19-21 — Jesus’ mother and brothers
There has to be something symbolic about this story, because it’s not likely about the face value of it. Family was a high cultural value. So the crowd symbolized His message and his kingdom. The story is about earthly obligations vs. spiritual ones, old wineskins vs. new, and Judaism vs. true godliness. Now we can make some sense out of it.
So, then, “your mother and brothers are standing outside wanting to see you” is a symbol of Judaism, just waiting for Jesus to advance their causes. Hmmm…
But Jesus replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Hear what Jesus is really saying: Neither religion, tradition, nor Judaism are what is required, but to hear the message of Jesus and live it. Jesus’ message is consistent: It’s not religion, piety, or traditions, but God in your life that matters most.