Mark 3:20-35 Jesus’ True Family

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[b] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 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.”

Jesus’ True Family

Jesus’ family think that he is insane and at the beginning of this passage they head out to apprehend him.  The story of the family then breaks off only to conclude at the end of the chapter.  This kind of bracketing ties the one story with the story that is surrounds.  The synagogue leaders and the family want to apprehend Jesus.  They are both in opposition to his teaching.  The question is whether Jesus will stand up to two towering authorities of the time, the authority of the Jewish family tradition and the authority of the Jewish religious tradition.  His answer to the question of family is to redefine family without eliminating it.  His answer to the religious authorities is to show them that their logic is flawed.  Such extentsive dismantling of Satan’t kingdom could only be done by one stronger than Satan.  Perhaps this passage means that Jesus bound Satan and left him in the wilderness following the temptation.

The lesson for us is plain.  We need to adhere to Jesus and show loyalty in the face of opposition.  His authority transcends the religious traditions and Satan.  His authority transcends the bonds of blood relatives.  We, within the church, should be friendly with all people as much as it depends on us.  However, with those of the faith we should extend fellowship that resembles family.

At the time of writing this I have two students in my house playing Candy Land with my son.  One is Jonathan, a former 5th grade student of mine, and the other is Ryan, a former Moody student. My desire is that they would feel like sons or younger brothers tonight as we play board games together.

Prayer

Jesus, I lacked a consistent and loving Father and so help me to look at the Father in Heaven as a loving guide.  Help me to be a faithful father to my children, but help me to extend the fellowship of my own house to all who follow Jesus.  In today’s world families are poorly blended and children often are scheduled to death.  Help us to create something more worthy of the faith within the church.

Questions

  1. How are teh beginning and the end of the passage related?
  2. How are the two stories told here connected?
  3. How would the recipients of Mark have been encouraged by Mark’s writing?
  4. How is Jesus removed from authority in the lives of people today?
  5. How do you stand up for Jesus and form a family that welcomes others who defend the faith?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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