In Galilee crowds had started to follow Jesus everywhere. He had followers from as far away as Idumea in the south, Tyre and Sidon in the north and regions across the Jordan to the east. Jesus even had to start employing a small boat to preach to people lining the shore of the lake so as to be heard as there were so many crowds of people.
Later came the news that Jesus’ cousin John had been beheaded by Herod Agrippa (Herod Agrippa acceded to the throne after Herod). When this happened Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to grieve. This was another sign to Jesus to stay up in Galilee out of the way, and not go down to Judea until the time was right. The mixed blessing of popularity was that it would now be dangerous to go openly to Jerusalem.
So many people came to the house in Capernaum where Jesus stayed that the disciples often were not able to eat, you couldn’t get in or out of the house with all the people looking for healing, and after the paralytic being let down through the roof incident (Mark 2:1), the roof was leaking and there was no money to fix it. Jesus’ ministry was really starting to take off and it was getting really hectic.
It was, I believe, at this point that Joseph died in Nazareth. Due to this new situation, Jesus’ older brothers decided that a stop had to be put to this mission that was getting out of hand; they decided to bring Jesus home to Nazareth where he could go back to being a carpenter.
“Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”” (Mark 3:20-21)
Jesus’ brothers went with Mary to Capernaum to see Jesus and take him back home. They couldn’t get into the house so waited outside. Jesus’ reaction was to ask those sitting around him “Who are my mother and my brothers?” (Mark 3:21). Jesus says to those gathered around him that they, his followers, are his mother, brothers and sisters.
Matthew records that Jesus said, at the renewal of all things, …… “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:28-30)