There is so much skipped over as we consider Mark’s gospel on Sunday mornings, I thought it helpful to focus on some verses from Mark. So there will be some Tim Bits created from the holes I’ve made!
The verse hits me like a speed bump. It jars not only because it’s unexpected, but also unwanted. Read Mark 3:20,21 and see if it jolts you too. Jesus is teaching from a crowd-crammed house. Outside the house, the family of Jesus is waiting. They are planning an intervention. They want to take charge of Him and get help. Why? Jesus’ own family thought He was crazy!
Shocking isn’t it? Mark doesn’t name the family members but Jesus was the eldest of other siblings. Certainly they are in on this. Mary too? Apparently. She is named in verse 31, as one of those standing outside and calling to Him to stop. How can they think this about Jesus? They’ve heard the story of His birth, seen God’s power through His hands and have known His heart for years. But they attribute what He is and what He does as a problem - a problem that must end. So what was Jesus thinking? Did He wonder how they could think this about Him? How deep was the wound as He was derided by His family? Mark describes a family of insiders and outsiders, looking at each other across the divide of faith.
You have been there. Many of you have the pain of a family divided over Jesus. Parents, who want their children to believe, watch them discard faith as optional. Children, who pray for a confession of faith from elderly parents, hope there is still time. Decades of prayer have ascended for your spouse. In many homes, Christianity is too sensitive a nerve to touch, but the pain remains. What are we to do?
First, I find comfort in the fact that Jesus feels the pain of a faith divided family. It is not simply that He is aware, but He carried the burden Himself. You can pray to Jesus about this. He understands. Second, Jesus points to a larger community of faith. In 3:33,34, He enlarges our understanding of family. All who do God’s will are related to us. Jesus takes a spiritual family and places it upon our personal family. So, while I am related to some with no current faith - I am never without a family of faith. Third, Mark doesn’t write the whole story. We know from other Scripture that His mother Mary came to embrace God’s plan through her Son. We also know that two of Jesus’ brothers did come to faith. James became a leader of the Jerusalem church and he, along with Jude, both write New Testament epistles. So while Mark describes a time of unbelief within Jesus’ family - the story was not done. Some of those who thought Jesus was crazy, eventually called Him their Lord. It took time for His family. It may take prayer and patience for yours as well.