Christ's Relationships
Matthew 12:46-50
While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood without, desiring to speak with him.…

These, so far as they are set forth in the text, are three, viz. he has a relationship to the world, to the family, and to the Church. Consider, then -


1. He is its Redeemer.

(1) To accomplish our redemption he assumed our nature. In our nature he assumed our sin. Not, however, by his incarnation, but by imputation. He redeemed us from suffering by suffering in our stead.

(2) He is the Redeemer of all men. To all men, therefore, the conditions of salvation are to be proclaimed. Those who accept the conditions experience the benefit.

(3) The redemption saves us from sin to righteousness. It saves us from death - spiritual - everlasting.

2. He is its Teacher.

(1) He came to release the Jew from the traditions of the elders. To bring out the spirit of the Law, which has the essence of the gospel in it (see 2 Corinthians 3:12-18). To illustrate life and immortality.

(2) He came to release the Gentile from ignorance, superstition, and vice. To reconcile him to God. To reconcile him to the Jew. For the children of the promise, whether Jew or Gentile, are the children of Abraham's faith (Galatians 3:29).

(3) Here we find him "speaking to the multitudes." His discourse was not to the Pharisees, but to the crowd. From the "wise and understanding" he turns away; that he may reveal the mysteries of wisdom "unto babes." Those multitudes were representative. To the vaster multitudes in all climes, in a million echoes, he still speaks loving words.


1. The family claim was asserted.

(1) "His mother and his brethren." There is difference of opinion as to the identity of these "brethren." Some think they were his cousins - children of Mary, his mother's sister, and of Cleophas, or Alphaeus. Some believe them to have been children of Joseph and Mary. There is no sufficient reason to doubt this; for the perpetual virginity of Mary is a figment.

(2) They" stood without, seeking to speak with him." Note: Mary made no effort to "command her Son," as the Mariolatrists speak. Yet there was an assertion of family claim in the desire for a private audience with Jesus.

(3) Had the family claim been properly asserted, it would doubtless receive a recognition. From his cross Jesus was solicitous for the temporal maintenance and protection of his mother (see John 19:25-27).

2. It was offensively asserted.

(1) "His mother and his brethren stood without," when they should have stood within, listening to the discourse. Those who are nearest the means of grace are often the most negligent of them. So the proverb, "The nearer the church the further from God."

(2) Yet they had the presumption to desire that Jesus should come out to them. This was, moreover, an unseemly interruption of a heavenly discourse. It was also an unwarrantable distraction to the hearers. Family influence is misplaced in interrupting the blessed work of God (see Luke 11:27, 28).

(3) Their purpose was to stop his preaching; for his brethren were unbelieving, and thought him beside himself (cf. Mark 3:21, 31; John 7:5). His mother was with them. Perhaps her motive may have been to caution him against offending the Pharisees.

3. The intrusion was reproved.

(1) "He answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?" And what follows suggests that upon this occasion, at least, they were not doing the will of his Father which is in heaven.

(2) He proceeded with his discourse. His earthly mother's claims must not compete with the will and work of his heavenly Father. The opposition we may meet with even from our relatives must not drive us from the work of God.

(3) The fault of Mary, together with its reproof, seriously discourage Mariolatry. (cf. Luke 2:49; Luke 11:28; John 2:4).


1. Christ's nearest relations are his true disciples.

(1) They are defined to be those who do the will of his Father which is in heaven (see John 7:17). Jesus himself came, not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him (John 6:38).

(2) His true disciples are preferred before his natural relatives. There is no saving relationship to Jesus according to the flesh. Spiritual relationship to him is saving.

(3) Those who do the will of the Father are nearest of kin to the Son. He is his Father's Heir. Those who are the children of his Father are his co-heirs (cf. Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7).

2. Endearments of natural relationship are heightened in them.

(1) "He is my brother." Jesus is more than a, Friend to his true disciple. He will cleave to him when he is forsaken of all others. He is that Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

(2) "And sister." He extends to his disciple that loving protection which a true brother extends to his sister. He delights in the happiness of the disciple as the brother delights in the happiness of his sister.

(3) "And mother." As a good son gives the support of a strong arm to his mother in her failing strength, so does Jesus strengthen his disciples in the seasons of their weakness.

(4) As the disciples who are worthy of Christ forsake for him all natural relationships, so does he forsake all natural relationships for them (cf. Matthew 4:22; Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26). Thus do they receive in him both the hundredfold and the eternal life (see Matthew 19:29).

3. Spiritual relationships are enduring.

(1) Not so the natural These are invaded by death. Saints in the resurrection are like the angels of God.

(2) The family named after Christ is at once in heaven and earth. We are already come to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn enrolled in heaven.

(3) Christ will not be ashamed of his poor relations. He will confess them before assembled worlds. - J.A.M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.

WEB: While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to him.

Christ's Kindred
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