Day 54 – What’s a Family?

Jesus defines his family in the Mark passage today, referring 3 times to the family in different ways.

In the first case, Jesus’ physical family responds to his healing ministry and the crowds following him:

When his family heard this, they went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind. Mark 3:21 (NCV)

Whoa! This is Mary we’re talking about…

In the second case, the New Century Version (NCV) uses the term “family” where other translations use “house,” meaning “household.” Jesus is arguing that his ability to cast out demons cannot arise from Satan (as the scribes suggest) because Satan would not be acting in his own best interest to allow Jesus to do so:

A kingdom that is divided cannot continue, and a family that is divided cannot continue. Mark 3:24-25 (NCV)

Jesus goes on to say that the unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the very thing the Scribes have done by suggesting Jesus is aligned with the Devil.

Finally, Mary and Jesus’ brothers (and possibly sisters) try once more to fetch him because they think he’s gone nuts. Upon hearing this, Jesus asks:

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” Then he looked at those sitting around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants.” Mark 3:33-35 (NCV)

Maybe Mark inserted the healing of the demoniac in the middle of his family’s attempt to save Jesus from himself in order to make a point about Jesus’ real family… and nation.

While the scribes committed the unpardonable sin of aligning Jesus with Satan, his own flesh and blood family committed another sin of questioning Jesus’ sanity.

In a sense, Jesus is moving on from physical Israel to spiritual Israel. The physical family and the physical nation have turned against Jesus in varying degrees. This is in keeping with a theme in the gospel of Mark, where he frequently stresses how the new has come to replace the old.

This physical nation and family have been replaced by the spiritual family – those who are on Jesus’ side and demonstrate their allegiance through obedience.

Who are members of Jesus’ true family? Those who believe in Him and obey him.

Leviticus 14:1-57, Psalm 26:1-5, Proverbs 10:6-7, Mark 3:20-35. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.


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