Mark 3:20-21/31-35: Family matters.

“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.’ “

“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.’ ” NIV UK

Here is encouragement for those who who have family ‘’Standing outside’’ (31). You may feel that they don’t understand you anymore now that you have come to Christ; they don’t ‘get’ your Christian commitment. It may seem that you have greater affinity with members of the church family than with your own flesh and blood. They may think you’re mad (21). This is hard, but it’s a reality for many. However, just a few years later, Mary and the brothers of Jesus were no longer ‘’outside.’’ They were part of the prayer meeting which preceded Pentecost (Acts 1:14). They were now on the ‘inside.’ Things can change. Don’t lose heart. Keep on praying. Keep on believing.

There is a family likeness shared by the members of God’s family. All who are brothers and sisters in Christ will exhibit this to some degree – the desire to do God’s will (33-35). But it’s not just the wanting to do it. That’s a basic starting point. They actually do it. No one does this perfectly, but the members of God’s household make it their aim ‘’to please him’’ (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Matthew Henry makes the interesting suggestion that the portrait of Mary shown here, should prevent the unBiblical veneration of her that was to be shown in some parts of the church a number of years after her death. Mary was a great woman; but she was also a sinful woman, who needed the operation of grace in her life. So do we all.