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Friday, June 4, 2010

6/4/10- Mark 3:20,21, 31-34 Jesus and the Relatives

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 around 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 around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."  (Mark 3:20,21, 31-34)

(Jesus-12 in the temple- "I must be in my Father's house.")

John Calvin abridged: Mark skips a lot of time when he passes from the miracles to when the relatives of Christ conspired to bind him as if he were mad. It is amazing that such wickedness should be found among Christ's relatives, who ought to have been the first to help him in advancing the kingdom of God.  John records (Jn. 7:3,4) that Christ's relatives wanted him to go to Jerusalem to spread his reputation.  But when Jesus was opposed on many sides by rulers and even the crowd- to prevent any injury or dishonor happening to the whole family, they decided to take him by force, apparently really believing he was derranged. Here we learn how blind the human mind is- forming perverse judgments about the glory of God when it is openly displayed. God's grace causes resentment among the worldly and the relatives gave into fear of the world. We also should learn from this that the light of faith does not proceed from flesh and blood, but from heavenly grace.  So we should not glory in our genealogy but in the regeneration of the Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17). Christ here lifts us all up to the same honorable rank- as if we who follow him were his nearest relatives.  Christ has been given not to a small number of individuals but to all of us.  When we are justified with Christ we are brought into closest union with Him.

Thoughts: Great leaders are unusual and stand out in a crowd.  Jesus was the most unique and thus unusual.  When Jesus was bold enough to not just fit into the common way, but to challenge the teaching of the status quo, some thought he had lost it.  For he was risking harm for himself- and possibly damaging the reputation of his relatives.  Those who love us and our relatives have the opportunity to encourage us in our faith (as Jesus' cousin John the Baptist did), or they have the opportunity to try to impede us.  Jesus shows here that He is more concerned about listening to his heavenly Father than his earthly family.  The amazing thing is that Jesus elevates all who believe to the same status as Mary and James- the great saints of old.  It is by God's grace that we are made a part of the family of God- the tie that binds us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your determination to do what is right.  Help me to learn from you.  Thank you too, that you welcome me as your family member.

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