As a college professor, I’ve witnessed many tearful “good-byes” between parents and their children. Most parents worry when sending their child, even one who is nearing adulthood, into the unknown.
In today’s passage, we again meet Jesus’ mother Mary. As word about Jesus had spread across the region and His crowd of followers had grown, the response was not entirely favorable (Mark 3:2, 6). Religious authorities sent a delegation to discredit and defame Him. “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons” (v. 22).
Jesus did not shy away from these confrontations. Just as He had answered the Pharisees’ questions in Mark chapter 2, He boldly addressed these accusers by challenging their logic. “How can Satan drive out Satan?” (v. 23). His parable pointed out the absurdity of their claim.
Jesus’ mother and brothers heard of His growing influence and the escalating opposition. They were afraid and went to find Him and bring Him home. We don’t know the state of Mary’s heart. At least some of His family members thought Jesus was “out of His mind” (v. 21). Mary may have gone along because she was worried about her son. The brothers may have wanted to protect Jesus from danger, but they also may have feared that the controversy would affect their family.
When they arrived at the scene, the crowd prevented them from reaching Jesus. They had to send their message like a game of telephone. But when Jesus learned of their presence, His response was shockingly countercultural. “Who are my mother and my brothers?” In a society where the family was the basis of social and economic life, Jesus asserted that the greater connection was a common dedication to God.
>> Our earthly families are certainly a gift to us, but Jesus’ response encourages us to deepen our bonds within the family of God. What steps might you take to strengthen your connection with fellow believers?
Lord, help us build strong ties with the church. Help us love one another as You love us—accepting one another, holding each other accountable, and encouraging one another to grow in You and in Your Word.