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Mark 3:31-35 Who is My Mother and my Brother

Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 2, 2012


Mark 3:31-35 NLTse Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him. They stood outside and sent word for him to come out and talk with them. (32) There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.” (33) Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” (34) Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. (35) Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

 

The one detail that stands out in these texts is the fact mother and brother is repeated five times. Why would God repeat these words so may times in such a short sequence. To make a point? If so what is the point? As always, to find the answer we need to look back at the previous texts. The most obvious solution is to look for the same or similar words in the same chapter. We find the word family used in two texts.

 

Mark 3:21-22 NLTse When his family heard what was happening, they tried to take him away. “He’s out of his mind,” they said. (22) But the teachers of religious law who had arrived from Jerusalem said, “He’s possessed by Satan, the prince of demons. That’s where he gets the power to cast out demons.”

 

Mark 3:24-26 NLTse “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. (25) Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. (26) And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive.

 

Why would Jesus’ family want to take Him away? Why would His family think He was out of His mind? What were they thinking? What led them to such an unusual action? Were they trying to protect Jesus? Did they understand His mission? Did they believe He is the Son of God?

 

We can see why Jesus used the example of a divided family. Was it in fact something Jesus was experiencing to some degree? We often hear sermons, or give personal testimonies based on our own experiences. Was this one example of Jesus’ personal testimony based on experience?

 

In this example we looked back to find why Jesus made His family wait outside while He explained who He considered His real family, the people who followed Him. Can we take a moment to consider another facet of the spiritual lesson Jesus is introducing? Is Jesus also leading to stories and lessons He is about to teach? He has just established the theme of His ministry. One of the most important subjects Jesus taught is His relationship with His Father and His mission to bridge the gap we created. Jesus just opened the door to show He is testifying from personal experience by using His family as an example people can easily understand.

 

Another interesting point to look at in this scene is the location.

 

Mark 3:20 NLTse One time Jesus entered a house, and the crowds began to gather again. Soon he and his disciples couldn’t even find time to eat.

 

Looking back we see a sequence in Mark’s book. Jesus begins His ministry in the wilderness then moves to another wilderness to be tempted. Walking along a lake shore He calls His first four disciples, who He takes to a synagogue where Jesus is confronted by a man possessed by a demon. What is a demon doing in a church? Simon and Andrew take Jesus to their home where Jesus heals Simon’s mother in law. She gets up to feed them. The entire town shows up at the home. Jesus heals many. Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. He heals a leper, sending him back to the priests with an offering as a testimony. Jesus preaches in a house so crowed four men carrying a paralyzed friend have to dug a hole through the roof to lower him in front of Jesus to be healed. This is where the Pharisees question Jesus’ ability to heal and forgive sin. Jesus calls His fifth disciples, Matthew. He invites Jesus to dinner with his friends. The Pharisees question why Jesus eats with sinners. At this point we can see the Pharisees show they feel threatened by Jesus and His ministry centered around preaching in homes.

 

Jesus returns to the synagogue where He heals a single man with a withered hand. Like before in the field when the Pharisees accused the disciples of working on the Sabbath, they now accuse Jesus of working on the Sabbath by healing. We see another pattern taking form as the Pharisees continue to confront Jesus with doctrine. They are trying to turn people away from Him by exhibiting the power of their doctrine. How many people turned their backs on Jesus because the draw of doctrine was too strong for them?

 

Which brings us to this story. Jesus once again is teaching, healing and casting out demons from a home. This is where the Pharisees accuse Jesus of working through Satan. Does the pattern sound familiar? When confronted by religious leaders we think are making a mistake, are we standing against them based on our beliefs and doctrines? We have to ask which spirit is leading us. Do we hear the voice of God, our pride, or the enemies deceptions.

 

Why did the Pharisees oppose Jesus? Do you think they prayed about what they were doing? Can you see how their tactics deteriorated from one level to the next?

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