Mark 3: 32-35
‘A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you. 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’
This is a curious passage. Jesus clearly had close bonds with his family yet in this instance, chose to almost disregard his mother along with the rest of His family, being intent on preaching. Instead, He chose to emphasise how everyone who closely follows God and does His will become His spiritual family. Jesus was God, walking the earth and needed people to understand that. Through highlighting spiritual qualities Jesus also highlighted His position as the son of God and not just your everyday human being. Of course, not all religions are in agreement here however generally speaking all religions do treat their members as family and as children of God, expecting them to carry out God’s will.
I wonder how Jesus’ natural family felt in the face of such rejection? They had no advanced warning about this line of teaching and had made a point of visiting Him. It tells us earlier in the passage that Jesus family were seriously concerned about Him as He had just appointed the 12 disciples and given them special powers, which would sound very disturbing – how could your child give others authority to cast out demons? The whole family had experienced a very strange journey starting from Jesus’ childhood and really believed that on this occasion He had lost His mind! They may have found this latest claim upsetting or even offensive yet, as God, Jesus must have treated everybody as equals. I think that is something most of us would have difficulty with. We have family and close friends whom we love above others, natural and God given as He promoted family values, but Jesus had to be fair and not discriminate between God’s children. This did not prevent Him from exercising His right to be angry with people, especially the Pharisees who interpreted Religion in a way that God had not intended and who considered themselves to be very righteous and above others.
The Bible tells us to honour our father and mother, so it may have seemed strange to those in attendance that Jesus did not request His followers to make room for his family and give them a special place to sit. His comments must have caused people to think about this particular teaching and at this point He had a huge following and was clearly a charismatic leader. I think it is possible that Jesus deliberately chose this approach to maximize the power of His message on the impressionable masses.
Action: We need to learn to listen to God’s commands in our lives and follow them so that we can all be part of the one family that God originally planned!
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