Jesus at Nazareth
Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
The true family of Jesus
The family was very important in the world into which Jesus was born. You brought honour or shame on your family by your actions. The eldest son, for example, brought honour on his family and his home town by following on his father’s way of life and by caring for the dependent members of the family. It is easy to see why the people of his home town therefore turned against Jesus: not only had he left home himself to begin a mission of preaching and healing but he had persuaded other eldest sons to become his disciples. No wonder his family thought he was mad (Mk.3:21).
After the death and resurrection of Jesus it is likely that his family tried to reclaim him and take over leadership roles among his followers and that is one reason Mark’s gospel is so hard on the family:
"Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, 'Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you'. And he replied, 'Who are my mother and my brothers?' And looking at those who sat around him, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.'"
The members of the physical family of Jesus are seen as outsiders while the insiders in the circle around Jesus are his new family of disciples. But elsewhere in Mark’s gospel the disciples themselves can be shown up as outsiders when they fail to understand the need to take up the cross on the road of discipleship (Mk.8:31-38).
Luke’s gospel tones down the harsh words of Mark against the family and in the beautiful portrait of Mary in the infancy narratives of his gospel Luke shows her as the true disciple of her son. John's gospel goes even further. In the changing of water into wine at Cana this gospel emphasises that it is not the physical relationship of the mother to Jesus that brings about the miracle but her utter confidence in him while at the foot of the cross his mother becomes the mother of Jesus’ disciples.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries