We had not this passage in the other evangelists, nor can we tack it, as Dr. Hammond does, to that of Christ’s mother and brethren desiring to speak with him (for this evangelist also has related that in Luke 8:19), but it contains an interruption much like that, and, like that, occasion is taken from it for instruction.
1. The applause which an affectionate, honest, well-meaning woman gave to our Lord Jesus, upon hearing his excellent discourses. While the scribes and Pharisees despised and blasphemed them, this good woman (and probably she was a person of some quality) admired them, and the wisdom and power with which he spoke: As he spoke these things (Luke 11:27), with a convincing force and evidence, a certain woman of the company was so pleased to hear how he had confounded the Pharisees, and conquered them, and put them to shame, and cleared himself from their vile insinuations, that she could not forbear crying out, “Blessed is the womb that bore thee. What an admirable, what an excellent man is this! Surely never was there a greater or better born of a woman: happy the woman that has him for her son. I should have thought myself very happy to have been the mother of one that speaks as never man spoke, that has so much of the grace of heaven in him, and is so great a blessing to this earth.” This was well said, as it expressed her high esteem of Christ, and that for the sake of his doctrine; and it was not amiss that it reflected honour upon the virgin Mary his mother, for it agreed with what she herself had said (Luke 1:48), All generations shall call me blessed; some even of this generation, bad as it was. Note, To all that believe the word of Christ the person of Christ is precious, and he is an honour, 1 Pet. 2:7. Yet we must be careful, lest, as this good woman, we too much magnify the honour of his natural kindred, and so know him after the flesh, whereas we must now henceforth know him so no more.
2. The occasion which Christ took from this to pronounce them more happy who are his faithful and obedient followers than she was who bore and nursed him. He does not deny what this woman said, nor refuse her respect to him and his mother; but leads her from this to that which was of higher consideration, and which more concerned her: Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it, Luke 11:28. He thinks them so; and his saying that they are so makes them so, and should make us of his mind. This is intended partly as a check to her, for doting so much upon his bodily presence and his human nature, partly as an encouragement to her to hope that she might be as happy as his own mother, whose happiness she was ready to envy, if she would hear the word of God and keep it. Note, Though it is a great privilege to hear the word of God, yet those only are truly blessed, that is, blessed of the Lord, that hear it and keep it, that keep it in memory, and keep to it as their way and rule.