MARK 3:20-35 (NIV – UK)
Jesus accused by his family and by teachers of the law
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 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 round 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 round him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’
JESUS’ BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Have you ever thought it possible to be regarded as a sibling of Jesus? What is wonderful is that this is precisely how Jesus regards those who follow him.
Families can be difficult, can’t they? Some families work well, some not so well. Jesus’ birth family doesn’t seem to be working so well here – they weren’t happy with what Jesus was doing, saying he was ‘out of his mind’ (v. 21). But what’s interesting here is how Jesus truly defines family. When Jesus is told that his birth family are there to see him (v. 32), Jesus’ response is striking: ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle round him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’ (v. 34-35).
Jesus defines his family as those who do God’s will – i.e. those who follow Jesus. Jesus invites us to share his relationship with his Father – to become children of God and, in effect, siblings of Jesus. We can read that in John 1:12: ‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ This is one of the most beautiful aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – we are invited into God’s family – and all of us who are in God’s family can also call one another brothers and sisters.
Question: Families can be difficult. Do you find it comforting to know that in Jesus you have millions of new brothers and sisters?