“And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.’ And he answered them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.’” – Mark 3:31-35
On Sunday, we saw the first part of the Markan sandwich. Crowds were constantly surrounding Jesus longing for more teaching, more healing, and more of his presence and power. Due to the ongoing demands of the crowd, Jesus and his disciples found it hard to even find time to eat. With great concern, Mary and her sons made the journey from Nazareth to Capernaum for they felt that Jesus was out of his mind – he was far too busy and he was making some grandiose claims about himself. Think of this portion of the narrative as the first slice of bread in a sandwich.
Forming the middle of the sandwich is the narrative portion of the scribes traveling from Jerusalem to Capernaum. They, too, think Jesus is out of his mind. Considering themselves as the authorities within the nation of Israel, they seek to disprove the good works of Jesus. However, in seeking to disprove him, they appear to be the ones who are out of their minds. These scribes go so far as to attribute the works of Jesus to Beelzebub saying that Jesus is driving out demons by the prince of demons. Not very logical, but it was the best they could do. Jesus speaks to the ludicrous accusations then asserts that he is the one with authority, the only one with the power and authority to bind Satan and his evil forces.
To complete the sandwich, Jesus’ mother and brothers have finally arrived at the house in which Jesus is teaching. Some of the people there let Jesus know that they have arrived. Instead of rushing out to greet his family and to thank them for their concern about him, Jesus asks an unexpected question: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” As he looked around at his disciples, Jesus called them his family – his mother and his brothers. Spiritual family was becoming more important to Jesus than the physical family.
Jesus is always looking to expand his spiritual family. We are invited in to share in the fellowship, to be his mother and his brothers. When we do the will of God, we enjoy that familial relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then, we are called to go out and live as one who is related to Jesus – to shine his light in the world, to love his children, and to take the Good News of the Gospel to those who have not heard. As he takes up residence within us through the Spirit, we know his love, experience his grace, and look forward to his second coming.
Reflect & Respond:
How could you experience more intimacy with the Lord and within the body of Christ? From that place of intimacy, could you be more faithful to live as a brother or a sister of Jesus? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the Living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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